What Can Materials Engineers Do?


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this presentation was prepared for the first annual Cal Poly Materials Engineering Industry Day, with the intention of inspiring Materials Engineering students about the wide variety of careers and opportunities available to them as Materials Engineers.

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  • I graduated from this department, graduate degreeFunny coming back and hearing this question25 years with no closed doorsWhat can’t you do? There are no limits!
  • This is all there is! water, materials, foodAND all of our energy comes from the ground, and it only gets more expensive and damaging to retrieve and convert itOnly recently have started to use energy from outside our planet: energy from the Sun (0.5%)Only recently have we realized how much of this stuff we waste, and how much could be re-used!BUT Materials + energy = root of progressThe world = cleaner, stronger, smarter, and more efficient because of our application and manipulation of materials…More important todayMust acceleratebut materials have a long historyThe world you live in is cleaner, safer, stronger, smarter, and more efficient because of our understanding and manipulation of materialsMaterials and energy are at the root of all progress throughout history, and they have been intimately connected and interdependentMaterials matter more today than at any point in our historyIn fact, our future depends upon accelerating materials progress; not just new ideas, but new applications, educating the public in the processAnd its really just starting, and up to you to see where this story goes…
  • Where you want to goNotice nature, agesNext age: efficiency, energy, reuse/recycleKnowing where you came from, whose shoulders you are standing on.. Where you want to goNotice :Influence of nature material discovery behind every new “age” (stone, bronze, iron, silicon)This is the next “age”: efficiency, energy, and reuse/recycleNotice material discovery behind every new “age” (copper, bronze, silicon, etc.)Notice nature has influenced us re (biomimicry, etc.)Notice how little has been done yet regarding our efficiency, energy, and reuse/recycle?
  • in this new age?they transcend industries, disciplines, production methods, and ideaslines have blurredIt’s a “fused” workplace! So there are no limits!I would need days to share with you the amazing things going on around the worldLonger presentation I will leave with Rich Savage, all of which I could honestly say are significant to the environment, our societies, and our governmentsI have tried to give you just a small sampling of what is going on by way of some interesting trendsPerformanceDesignEnergyHealthenvironment
  • Lets look at performance as an example: how have materials impacted performance recently
  • Engineer names Peter Jost claims factories as more productive than ever, yet are failing at an increasing rateClassic materials problem: fusion of fluid dynamics, metallurgy, physics, mechanical engineering, materials, Springdale, Ark.  July 10, 2012 – Citing a major breakthrough, NanoMech, Inc. and Cameron (NYSE: CAM) announce an agreement to utilize TriboTuff® lubricant in some of Cameron’s valves and flow equipment used extensively in the worldwide gas and oil supply chain. This innovation dramatically extends performance, durability and reliability of critical mechanical components. Friction is one of the major reasons for failure of vital engineering components and systems used in aerospace, military, and industrial applications.  The annual cost of friction and wear-related energy and material losses is estimated to be over $700 billion — 5% to 7% of the United States’ $14 trillion gross national product.Cameron, the global leader in the valve and flow equipment industry provides advanced mechanical valves which are the control gates of much of the world’s hydrocarbon supply chain for both oil and gas. These valves are under tremendous pressure and extreme environmental conditions and are complex mechanical devices that deliver mission-critical functions where friction and wear challenges their reliability. NanoMech’s patent-pending macro-molecular nano-manufactured solution, TriboTuff, reduces friction to near zero for the first time in history, driving performance of machines and vehicles up, while significantly decreasing the amount of fossil fuel used. The nGlide® technology platform product, TriboTuff, is a great example of NanoMech’s patented nano-inspired combinatorial material science it has pioneered in TuffTek® coatings that is also revolutionizing the cutting tool manufacturing industry.
  • 50 years to get to this point!Responding to the overwhelming preference of airlines around the world, Boeing Commercial Airplanes' launched the 787 Dreamliner, a super-efficient airplane. An international team of top aerospace companies is building the airplane, led by Boeing at its Everett, Wash. facility near Seattle.The 787-8 Dreamliner will carry 210 - 250 passengers on routes of 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles (14,200 to 15,200 kilometers), while the 787-9 Dreamliner will carry 250 - 290 passengers on routes of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (14,800 to 15,750 kilometers).In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to mid-size airplanes, the 787 provides airlines with unmatched fuel efficiency, resulting in exceptional environmental performance. The airplane uses 20 percent less fuel than today's similarly sized airplanes. It will also travel at a similar speed as today's fastest wide bodies, Mach 0.85. Airlines will enjoy more cargo revenue capacity.Passengers will also see improvements on the 787 Dreamliner, from an interior environment with higher humidity to increased comfort and convenience.The key to the exceptional performance of the 787 Dreamliner is a suite of new technologies developed and applied on the airplane.Composite materials make up 50 percent of the primary structure of the 787 including the fuselage and wing.Modern systems architecture is at the heart of the 787's design. It is simpler than today's airplanes and offers increased functionality and efficiency. For example, the team has incorporated airplane health-monitoring systems that allow the airplane to self-monitor and report systems maintenance requirements to ground-based computer systems.New engines from General Electric and Rolls-Royce are used on the 787. Advances in engine technology are the biggest contributor to overall fuel efficiency improvements. The new engines represent nearly a two-generation jump in technology for the middle of the market.The design and build process of the 787 has added further efficiency improvements. New technologies and processes have been developed to help Boeing and its supplier partners achieve the efficiency gains. For example, manufacturing a one-piece fuselage section has eliminated 1,500 aluminum sheets and 40,000 - 50,000 fasteners.The 787 program was launched in April 2004 with a record order from All-Nippon Airways. Fifty-eight customers from six continents of the world have placed orders for 835 airplanes valued over $180 billion, making it the most successful twin-aisle launch of a new commercial airplane in Boeing's history. The 787 program opened its final assembly plant in Everett in May 2007. First flight of the 787 Dreamliner occurred on December 15, 2009.More than 50 of the world's most capable top-tier supplier partners are working with Boeing to bring innovation and expertise to the 787 program. The suppliers have been involved since the early detailed design phase of the program and all are connected virtually at 135 sites around the world. First delivery of the 787 to ANA took place on Sept. 25, 2011.
  • Several coiled beams are nested within one another and move though the same space at the same time.
  • first job, structural designer, even though no backgroundFusion of materials and designInterdependent nature design and material choice enables you to play “designer”
  • Who bikes?Great example of how materials influence design, and vice versaMg is 2/3 as dense as aluminum, guess its stiffness?Specific modulus of engineering metals is about the same, same as balsa and spruce!TOP 7 BICYCLES MADE OUT OF ALTERNATIVE MATERIALSBRYAN NELSON | 09 OCTOBER, 2012 | ENVIRONMENT, GALLERIES There is perhaps no vehicle better for the environment and for your health than the bicycle. But not all bicycles are created equal. Some bikes are built using materials that are more eco-friendly or economical, while others offer superior performance.The majority of bicycles you’ll find on the market today are built from steel, titanium, aluminum or carbon fiber. But bicycle design is constantly evolving, and designers and engineers are always testing out alternative materials. While some of these materials offer little more than an aesthetic appeal, many others offer genuine cutting edge advancements over standard components.Chances are you’ll find something you like on this list whether you’re a hipster, engineer or environmentalist. Here are some of the top bikes made out of alternative materials:Photo Credit: RenovoWoodNothing looks quite so vintage as a polished wooden bicycle. Wood is probably most used as a frame material due to its aesthetic appeal, though it also has a number of performance advantages that shouldn’t be ignored.Take for instance this beautiful wooden-framed bicycle by Renovo (pictured above). According to the folks at Renovo, wood frames are lightweight and offer superior shock absorption. Wood’s fatigue life rivals carbon and is substantially longer than aluminum or steel, and it also won’t dent like metal frames can.Because wood is renewable, it is more eco-friendly too. And since it is a relatively cheap and abundant resource, it is ideal for bicycle construction in remote communities, such as in East Africa.For a more diverse look at how wood has been utilized as a material by bicycle designers, check outthis thorough roundup at Mother Nature Network.Photo Credit: SegalMagnesium AlloySegal bikes, a company out of the bike-friendly nation of The Netherlands, specializes in bicycles made from magnesium. Since magnesium has only about 64 percent of the density of aluminum, a chief advantage of this material is that it is ultra-lightweight. (About 35 percent lighter than aluminum and 75 percent lighter than steel).According to Segal, magnesium bikes are also superior at absorbing energy, making them a more comfortable ride. Eco-conscious cyclists can also rest assured that they are fully recyclable.You can customize your own magnesium-framed bike at Segal here.Photo Credit: Boo BicyclesBambooBamboo might be the trendiest alternative bike material for the eco-conscious consumer, and for good reason. Because bamboo is a fast-growing grass, it is as abundant as it is renewable.It also looks great, and performs even better. Bamboo’s durable, hollow shaft seems purposely designed by Mother Nature for bicycle construction. Some of the material’s principle advantages include improved vibration damping and high crash tolerance. It also offers a smooth and comfortable ride even over harsh terrain. The fact that a bamboo bike blends in with its natural surroundings on the trail just adds to its aesthetic appeal.There are a number of designers specializing in bamboo on the market today, but a notable one isBoo Bicycles. Their bikes are among those which have been raced at the highest level by professional cyclists.For a nice roundup of some of the other options available for bamboo bikes, check outTreeHugger’s list here.Photo Credit: EADS UK via bikeradar.comNylonCould a functional bicycle really be made out of nylon? Thanks to some Space Age technology, yes it can. Not only is this bicycle made from nylon, but it is actually as strong and sturdy as steel.Designed by development engineers Andy Hawkins and Chris Turner of the Aerospace Innovation Centre, the bike is constructed of successive, one-tenth-of-a-millimeter-thick layers of fused nylon powder. The manufacturing method was borrowed from a process also used in the construction of satellites.Though this prototype’s unusual design is not exactly ideal for the professional cyclist, a more practical version is supposedly in the works. Who knows, this might just be the future of high-performance bicycles.A video by the BBC featuring more about this bike’s construction can be seen here.Photo Credit: videonatelinha/YoutubePlasticPlastic is unfortunately one of the most ubiquitous materials around today, and since most plastics are not biodegradable, they don’t make for very eco-friendly construction materials. But what about recycling some of that plastic and using it to construct eco-friendly bicycles? That’s making the most out of a bad situation.One inventor in Brazil is doing exactly that, creating the Muzzicycle. Built entirely from plastic collected in some of Brazil’s largest landfills, Muzzicycles turn trash into transportation. At their website they even keep a running tally of how much plastic they are able to recycle annually. The bikes are also economical and can be bought over the internet for only about $140.You can view a CNN report about how the bikes are constructed here.Photo Credit: Giora Kariv/VimeoCardboardCardboard is probably the last material you would choose to construct a bicycle with. It might even seem like an impossible feat. But that’s just because you aren’t as inventive as engineer Izhar Gafni, designer of the world’s first completely practical cardboard bicycle.Gafni’s inspiration was the physics of origami. By folding cardboard over itself in the right way, he found that it could actually be made remarkably sturdy. Gadfi admits that his first prototypes “looked like delivery boxes on wheels.” But just take a look at the finished product: it’s not only functional, but pretty stylish too.They are “strong, durable and cheap,” according to Gafni. He estimates they could sell for as little as $60 each.Though the bikes aren’t ideal for the high performance cyclist, they are entirely suitable for the eco-conscious, casual commuter. Check out a short documentary about how Gafni constructs the bikes here. You may have to see it to believe it.Photo Credit: Onyx via bikemoments.comHempIs there anything that can’t be made out of hemp? The Onyx Hemp Bike by Onyx Compositesmakes use of cannabis in a way you might not have imagined possible before.To build the bike frames, hemp fiber is dunked in epoxy resin and wrapped around a Styrofoam core. The resultant frame ends up being 60 percent hemp and 15 percent bamboo, with the rest made from carbon and aluminum.According to Nicolas Meyer, the engineer behind the design, the formula creates a frame that is sturdier than bamboo or carbon fiber alone.
  • It's a materials race to produce a more lightweight carBy JIM MOTAVALLIThe New York Times | October 14,2012 Email Article   Print Article Thanks to tough new federal fuel-efficiency rules, automakers must meet a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025. More efficient engines and electric powertrains can’t carry the whole load, so carmakers and the federal government are pouring resources into “lightweighting” auto platforms to meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards.The Energy Department says that reducing a car’s weight by only 10 percent can improve fuel economy by 6 to 8 percent. Three technologies that show promise in lightening vehicles are high-strength steel, carbon fiber composites and aluminum. All of them are supported by $8 million in development awards that the department has doled out to the likes of General Motors, Ford and Caterpillar, as well as to two federal laboratories.Drivers worried about running into older, heavier sport utility vehicles on the road might be reassured that these new materials are exceptionally stiff and strong, and will have to pass muster, including crash tests, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.Alan Hall, a technology spokesman for Ford, said it was too early to tell which of the materials would become dominant in car making. Ford has used carbon fiber in certain niche applications, like an inner-engine hatch cover for the Ford GT supercar and a hood for the Shelby GT500KR. Earlier this year, the company announced that it was collaborating with Dow Automotive Systems to develop lower-cost carbon fiber composites for mass production. It estimated that 750-pound weight reductions were possible.Not surprisingly, the steel industry is looking to retain its pre-eminent position in the business.Ronald P. Krupitzer, vice president of automotive applications at a division of the American Iron and Steel Institute, said about 60 percent of the average car by weight “is steel in one form or another.” Since 2000, the industry has doubled the available grades of steel and increased strength levels by 50 to 100 percent. “The steel available for car companies now is up to five times stronger than the steel used 10 years ago,” he said. “A part that weighed 100 pounds is being replaced by one that’s 75 pounds, with no price increase.”Krupitzer acknowledged that steel did not yet offer the same weight savings as aluminum, another material in longtime use, but he said it was close and significantly cheaper. He pointed to a recent FutureSteelVehicle study, which found that high-strength steel had the potential to reduce mass by more than 35 percent compared with older steel cars. That contrasts with what Krupitzer said was an estimated 40 percent mass reduction for aluminum.While aluminum has been used for a century to build lightweight cars, Randall Scheps, director of ground transportation at Alcoa, acknowledged that it cost $600 to $800 more using aluminum to produce what automakers call a body in white — the car’s basic structure before moving parts like doors and engines are installed.Scheps also said it was difficult for automakers to give up accepted industry practices. “They’ve had 100 years of working with steel,” he said. “It’s a very comfortable material for them.” But he offered a long list of advantages that he said should persuade carmakers with an eye on the CAFE standards to switch to aluminum.“It performs as well as steel in accidents, and it absorbs twice the crash energy per pound of mild steel,” or older steel, Scheps said. “An aluminum crash rail folds up like an accordion, which is exactly what you want it to do.” He said aluminum also had advantages in corrosion, handling and braking.He pointed to cars like the 2013 Range Rover, whose all-aluminum body is up to 39 percent lighter than older models, the company has said. The new Cadillac ATS uses many aluminum components, including the engine, hood and wheels. Scheps said the higher cost of aluminum was offset by lighter cars that required smaller engines, suspension and braking components.That argument is also used in favor of carbon fiber, which is very light and strong but remains expensive. The BMW i3, a battery electric car designed for urban use, has an upper body structure of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic sitting on an aluminum chassis. It is scheduled to appear in late 2013. Although limited-edition supercars like the SRT Viper use carbon fiber, a BMW spokesman, Dave Buchko, said the i3 was “the first volume-produced vehicle that uses carbon fiber for the full body structure.”Greg Rucks, a transportation consultant to the Rocky Mountain Institute, a Colorado-based environmental research group, said that carbon fiber offered “unparalleled performance advantages,” but estimated that replacing a steel “body in white” with carbon fiber would cost $1,200 per unit. Another hurdle for carbon fiber is a slower production process.Despite all that, Rucks nonetheless sees a business case for using carbon fiber today, because it offers lower tooling costs and manufacturing processes, and significant fuel savings for the customer.For those weighing the energy costs of producing alternatives, Rucks said the fuel savings from switching to lightweight carbon fiber composites would “far outweigh the energy intensity of producing the fiber, even with today’s relatively immature processing technology.”It’s safe to say that carmakers will increase their use of all three materials — advanced steel, aluminum and carbon fiber — and creatively blend them into future cars. All offer big weight savings, and that’s critical in the countdown to 54.5 mpg in 2025.Growth in carbon fiber industry:Global Market for Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics to Reach $36 Billion in 2020Published on October 5, 2012 at 7:11 AMAs innovative new production technologies lower carbon fiber cost, the global market for carbon fiber reinforced plastics, or CFRPs, will more than double to $36 billion in 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 13% from $14.6 billion in 2012, according to a Lux Research report.Polyolefin-precursor carbon fiber, combined with alternative thermal treatment mechanisms, will reduce cost from a baseline of $21.2/kg today to $10.5/kg at pilot-line scale in 2017, driving greater adoption across newer industries such as pressure vessels, marine, consumer electronics, construction, tooling, and medical.“Aerospace and wind will duke it out for supremacy, while potentially high-volume automotive uses advance at a pedestrian pace,” said Ross Kozarsky, Lux Research Senior Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Stronger, Lighter, Faster…Cheaper? How Innovation Will Affect Carbon Fiber’s Cost and Market Impact.”To assess current CFRP manufacturing costs and examine the innovation potential of each step of the process, Lux Research analysts built a detailed model that examines material, capex, infrastructure, labor, and utility contributions, and their potential for cost reductions. Among their findings:•Cutting precursor costs is critical. The industry’s best shot at achieving the carbon fiber price reduction necessary for high-volume applications like automotive is the employment of polyolefin-precursor carbon fiber, combined with combined with plasma oxidation and carbonization.Fair winds for CFRP offshore. The trend in wind energy towards turbines blades over 40 m long will open up new opportunities for CFRP where other composites can’t compete – and will come sooner and faster in offshore wind than in onshore.Increasing partnerships between material developers and end users. The value of CFRPs lies in lightweighting, part consolidation, lower maintenance costs and reduced material usage. Consequently, partnerships are critical to ensure material developers integrate final parts into end user systems.The report, titled “Stronger, Lighter, Faster…Cheaper? How Innovation Will Affect Carbon Fiber’s Cost and Market Impact,” is part of the Lux Research Advanced Materials Intelligence service.
  • LAS VEGAS--Military personnel and defense contractors attending the year’s largest unmanned systems convention here awoke this morning to a bit of breaking robotics news unraveling thousands of miles away from their briefing rooms and exhibition booths. First lighting up Twitter and later acknowledged by the Army, the first flight of Northrop Grumman’s robotic Long-Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) took place this morning in New Jersey, marking the first flight of one of the DoD’s next generation military airships.And it’s no wonder the LEMV was the first of the Pentagon’s 21st-century airship to make its way skyward. It killed all the rest of them.RELATED ARTICLESBlue Devil Airship is Getting a Super-High-Speed Optical Laser Downlink Upgrade The Military's Airship Renaissance Deflates Over Lack of Access to HeliumEx-Officer Says Air Force's Failure to Deploy Airships Costs LivesTAGSTechnology, Clay Dillow, airships, aviation, isr,lemv, military, Northrop Grumman, robotic aircraftFor the army, who is overseeing the LEMV program alongside Northrop Grumman, the flight marks something of a coup (there is a whole cadre of senior Northrop Grumman personnel here, by the way, and they aren’t saying a word about this thus far). When the DoD first expressed an interest into getting back into airships for extended intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions over Afghanistan and Iraq more than a decade ago, all of the usual suspects (Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, etc.) began rebooting old airship designs and putting new ones on the drawing board. Some smaller companies jumped into the fray as well. A startup called Mav6 spent hundreds of millions building the Air Force’s Blue Devil spy blimp (and won a PopSci Best of What’s New in the process).Lockheed’s P-791 design lived and then died back in 2006, pushed out of favor by Northrop’s LEMV design. Mav6 ran into some hardware problems but was millions of dollars into development and most of the way inflated for flight tests when the Air Force pulled the financial rug out from under the company. Only the LEMV remained, and given the Pentagon’s treatment of its competitors’ designs, its future was very uncertain. Its own inaugural flight has been pushed a number of times, and it seemed just as troubled as Blue Devil and Lockheed’s cancelled P-791 (Lockheed has reconfigured it as a cargo hauler for commercial use).The video below suggests the Army hasn’t given up on LEMV yet (and perhaps that the Pentagon has picked a favorite--which is sure to rankle those defense contractors not named Northrop Grumman that spent years and millions developing airships that never got off the ground). And if it sticks by the LEMV, some think it could be in combat trials by next year, lingering over hostile territory and delivering uninterrupted streams of data to the ground for stretches of 21 days at a timeP-791: The Lockheed Martin P-791 is an experimental aerostatic/aerodynamic hybrid airship developed by Lockheed Martin corporation. The first flight of the P-791 was on 31 January 2006 at the company's flight test facility on the Palmdale Air Force Plant 42. It has a unique tri-hull shape, with disk-shaped cushions on the bottom for landing. As a hybrid airship, part of the weight of the craft and its payload are supported by aerostatic (buoyant) lift and the remainder is supported by aerodynamic lift.The combination of aerodynamic and aerostatic lift is an attempt to benefit from both the high speed of aerodynamic craft and the lifting capacity of aerostatic craft.The P-791 was originally part of the U.S. Army'sLEMV program, but lost to Northrop Grumman's design. The P-791 is now being modified to be a civil cargo aircraft with a lift capability of 20 tons (40,000 pounds).
  • The Most Technologically Advanced Warship Ever BuiltWhen the USS Zumwalt rolls out of dry dock at Bath Iron Works in Maine next year, the Navy’s newest warship will be 100 feet longer than the destroyers currently serving around the globe—and nearly twice as massive—yet it will have a radar signature 50 times smaller and will carry half the crew. Packed bow to stern with state-of-the-art radar, stealth, weapons, and propulsion systems, the USS Zumwalt, which will be operational in mid-2016, will be the most technologically sophisticated warship ever to hit the water.A complement to Arleigh Burke–class destroyers that currently protect the Navy’s prized aircraft carriers from aerial attacks, the Zumwalt-class destroyer is for laying waste to land. It can evade enemy detection; slip into the shallows along foreign coastlines; and deliver devastatingly accurate firepower hundreds of miles inland, supporting special operations ashore, clearing the way for amphibious troop landings, or knocking out air defenses. It’s a seaborne battering ram—a specialized piece of equipment for smashing in the enemy’s front door.In the 1990s, the U.S. military carried out successful amphibious assaults in Somalia and elsewhere. But as coastal defenses around the world grew more advanced—not least those of Iraq, which would have been a serious threat to U.S. troops had they invaded Kuwait by sea during Operation Desert Storm—the Navy decided to build the Zumwalt.Traditional destroyers create huge wakes and their hulls tend to light up radar dishes. By contrast, the angle of the Zumwalt’s hull reduces its radar signature 50-fold (on radar it looks like a fishing boat) and slices through the water like a 600-foot harpoon, creating little wake and making it more difficult to see from both above and below. Though it rides low, the Zumwalt can operate in just 30 feet of water, scanning for airborne and underwater threats with planar-array radar and advanced sonar.If geopolitical events call for securing nuclear facilities in an unraveling North Korea or Iran, theZumwalt is the Navy’s surest way to arrive unannounced.From the shallows, the Zumwalt can then wipe out enemy defenses up to 72 miles away. Sailors don’t cram shells into the dual 155-millimeter guns nor do they clear the casings. The guns are controlled—point, click, boom—by a computer in the command center; they fire GPS-guided shells, considered by the Navy to be more like rockets than artillery because of their ability to adjust trajectory in flight. The ship also carries a battery of SM-2 antiaircraft missiles, surface-targeting Tomahawks, missile-destroying ESSM interceptors, and vertically launched ASROC antisubmarine torpedoes, all distributed among 80 missile cells that line the Zumwalt’s hull. The location of the cells ensures that the missiles can’t all be disabled by a single enemy strike and serves as an extra layer of defense around the ship.The New Top GunWhen a bat-winged, tailless X-47B took off in early February from Edwards Air Force Base, soared into clear skies for 29 minutes, and returned to land smack on the runway centerline, it cleared a hurdle to the next stage of aerial warfare. Built for the Navy by Northrop Grumman, the pilotless strike aircraft is intended to be the first plane to land on an aircraft carrier without an experienced flier at the controls. And unlike other drones, it won’t even need a deskbound pilot to steer it remotely. All humans do is design a flight path and send the X-47B on its way. Then a computer takes over, guiding the plane as it takes off, makes a bombing run, and returns to the carrier. Red Baron, call your office. 
  • Fusion of energy and materialsThe root of all progress!You cant master energy use without mastering materials, and vice versa
  • New Technique for Rapid Production of Metal-Organic Frameworks Porous MaterialsPublished on October 12, 2012 at 7:09 AMChemists at Queen's University Belfast have devised a novel, environmentally friendly technique, which allows the rapid production of Metal-Organic Frameworks porous materials (MOFs).Professor Stuart JamesThese revolutionary nanomaterials have the potential to transform hazardous gas storage, natural gas vehicles and drug delivery and have the highest surface-area of any known substance.A sugar-lump sized piece of MOF material can have the same surface area as a football pitch.Until now MOF manufacturing techniques have been limited as they are costly, slow and require large quantities of solvents, which can be toxic and harmful to the environment.Now, Professor Stuart James in Queen's School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering has patented a novel technique for the synthesis of MOFs, allowing affordable, large-scale deployment of these ground-breaking materials for the first time.Professor James said: "Because of their extremely large surface-areas and the flexibility with which their properties can be varied, MOFs can be used as sponges, to soak up and store gases, or as filters to separate and capture specific gases and chemicals. For example, they can be used to greatly increase the storage capacity of gas tanks."Now, for the first time, our patented technology allows the synthesis of MOFs without using any solvents, even water, and on greatly reduced timescales, by making use of mechanochemistry."By simply grinding together two cheap precursors in a basic milling machine, the MOF material is produced in a matter of minutes, in a powder form, ready for applications without further treatment, and without generating solvent waste."Granting of the patent has enabled the formation of a new company called MOF Technologies from Queen's spin-out arm QUBIS. Seed funding has been provided by both QUBIS and NetScientific, which specializes in commercializing technologies developed within university laboratories.CEO of MOF Technologies, Tom Robinson added: "The potential for this technology is huge. Industry has known for some time about the incredible properties of MOFs and hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent on their development in research labs around the world. We can now manufacture these materials in a scalable and environmentally-friendly way, unlocking their potential to transform the transport, gas storage and medical industries in the years to come."One of the first areas expected to benefit from the technology is the production of natural gas vehicles (NGVs).Becoming increasingly popular due to a number of key advantages over conventional, gasoline-fueled vehicles (natural gas is currently half the price of petrol per mile travelled), NGVs still have issues around storage and refueling. Typically, natural gas is stored at very high pressures - up to 300 atmospheres – meaning heavy, cylindrical steel storage tanks are required. These must be filled at special refueling stations using large, expensive and power-hungry compressors.Explaining how MOFs can provide a solution to this issue, Professor James said: "By enabling higher storage capacities at much lower pressures, storage tanks don't need to be as strong, so they can be much lighter and may even be shaped to fit the free space available. The lower storage pressure also means that new, costly refueling infrastructure such as specialized filling stations is no longer required and opens up the possibility of refueling vehicles in the home, from domestic gas supplies. The same gas supplies that power our central heating and gas ovens."MOF Technologies is also hoping to exploit opportunities in global carbon capture, hazardous gas storage, natural gas processing and hydrocarbon separations.Frank Bryan, interim CEO of QUBIS added: "QUBIS was delighted to partner with NetScientific in the creation of our latest Queen's University spin-out. QUBIS exists to support acclaimed Queen's academics, like Professor James, in commercializing their cutting edge research and we are confident this will be the latest in a long line of successes.“Picture: *Powered by TranslatePores Without Walls for Clean EnergyOmar M. YaghiDirector, Center for Reticular ChemistryDepartment of Chemistry and BiochemistryUCLAFriday, Sept. 11, 200910:30 a.m., Green AuditoriumVTC to Boulder will be Room 1107Crystal structure of ZIF-100, a representative metal-organic framework (MOF); up to 121 CO2 molecules can be captured and stored in one cage. Some MOFs have surface areas of several football fields per gram material. The ability to stitch molecules into extended porous structures (reticular chemistry) is a new area of research that has enabled the design of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) having surface areas of several football fields per gram (10,000 m2/gm). This internal surface is critically important in applications leading to cleaner fuels and capture of carbon dioxide from power plants. I will present how my love for molecules has led to beautiful creations and applications of a new class of crystalline materials with a diversity and number that far exceed any other.
  • Windows everywhere can now generate power for the building upon which they are installed, or vehicle!
  • How to store solar energy: be able to collect light while in waterThis hybrid material utilizes polymeric carbon nitride to enable a photoelectrochemical reactionFrom sunlight to hydrogen Digg!     Del.icio.us     Reddit     Buzz Up!     Facebook     TwitterThe ideal solution for making storable solar energy would be to directly convert sunlight into hydrogen fuel. In order to achieve this, it is essential to development new kinds of semiconductor materials that are capable of collecting light when dipped into water. These semiconductors would then use the light energy to produce hydrogen - all of which is a formidable technological challenge. As part of the BMBF excellence cluster project Light2Hydrogen, Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB) scientists – along with their colleagues from partnering research institutes – have prepared and characterized a new type of hybrid material capable of doing just that. The photoelectrochemical reaction occurs on photocatalytic active carbon nitride films (called polymeric carbon nitride) which are deposited onto semiconducting substrates like chalcopyrite or silicon. For the first time, the scientists have demonstrated that polymeric carbon nitride films coated on p-type chalcopyrite and silicon, respectively, can be successfully applied as new photoelectrochemical composite photocathodes for light induced hydrogen production. (Chemistry & Sustainability Energy & Materials 5 (2012) 1227-32; DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201100691; Impact Factor: 6.827). Solar energy can be used to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. The resulting hydrogen is a fuel capable of being compressed or chemically converted, and subsequently, stored. To date, there are no well-engineered material systems which exist for hydrogen production that use artificial photosynthetic systems. Water-dipped semiconductors require the ability to absorb visible sun light for an efficient charge-carrier generation and transport to the semiconductor surface. Of course, the ideal candidate semiconductors are silicon or chal-copyrite, those used in photovoltaics. However, if dipped in water, silicon and chalcopyrite instantly start to corrode, rendering them ineffective. This is precisely the reason why scientists have been searching for other types of semiconductors or other appropriate photocatalytic materials like polymeric carbon nitride. Until now, this substance was only used in a powdery form. In the frame of the "Light2Hydrogen" project, scientists have at last succeeded in depositing films of polymeric carbon nitride onto chalcopyrite and silicon. The protocols for doing so are already well established at HZB, as they are used, for example in thin film solar cell research at the Centre. "The new composite material has been used at low pH values – in other words, under acidic conditions, for the application as a photoelectrode," explains PD Dr. Thomas Schedel-Niedrig, the scientist in charge of the project at HZB. The composite material turned out to be stable and capable of generating large quantities of hydrogen under illumination with visible light. "Through this hybrid connection of polymeric carbon nitride with either chalcopyrite or silicon, we implemented an additional electric field at the composite interface, which enhances performance." Needless to say, the scientists were not content enough with the initial results of their discovery. So they sought to understand the details of how polymeric carbon nitride binds to the chalcopyrite or silicon surface, and how to decrease the polymeric carbon nitride film thickness by metal atom incorporation in order to enhance the electric conductivity. With this knowledge, the scientist could optimize the photoelectrochemical. “We conducted relevant tests using water vapor at an experimental endstation at the Fritz-Haber-Institute using the X-rays from the synchrotron radiation source BESSY II”, says Schedel-Niedrig. "There, we were able to spectroscopically analyze the surface components under ambient conditions, i.e. “in-situ”, with a high-degree of accuracy in order to specifically modify them to suit our needs.” This is necessary to increase the hydrogen yield and to ensure that the chemical reaction takes place not only in sulphuric acid but also, later on in water. "If we want to do our part to help create new energy source concepts from our fundamental scientific research, we have to continue to develop the protocols in such a way that, later on, they can be ap-plied to an industrial application," explains the HZB scientist. The prospects are promising. In fact, HZB has just been accepted as a partner within the DFG Priority Programme “Renewable Fuels Produced Through Light-Driven Water Splitting: Clarification of the Elemental Processes Involved and Prospects for Implementation in Technological Concepts” (SPP 1613).  Together with colleagues of the Technical University Berlin and the Fritz-Haber-Institute of the Max Planck Society, the HZB scientists will be working on making sunlight a viable source of hydrogen fuel production using chalcopyrite  related photocathodes, and additionally,  for the oxygen evolution reaction using tantalum oxinitride-based photoanodes. Image caption — Solar hydrogen evolution by graphitic carbon nitride/p-type chalcopyrite thin film photo-cathode: It is shown that graphitic carbon nitride films coated on p-type CuGaSe2 thin films can be successfully applied as new photoelectrochemical composite photo-cathode for light induced hydrogen evolution.Another way to do hydrogen from sunlight:Scientists from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville have determined that an inexpensive semiconductor material can be "tweaked" to generate hydrogen from water using sunlight.Share This:429See Also:Matter & EnergyAlternative FuelsFuel CellsPetroleumOrganic ChemistryEnergy TechnologyNature of WaterReferenceChemical compoundMoleculeMetalTelluriumThe research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, was led by Professors Madhu Menon and R. Michael Sheetz at the University of Kentucky Center for Computational Sciences, and Professor Mahendra Sunkara and graduate student Chandrashekhar Pendyala at the University of Louisville Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research. Their findings were published Aug. 1 in the Physical Review B.The researchers say their findings are a triumph for computational sciences, one that could potentially have profound implications for the future of solar energy.Using state-of-the-art theoretical computations, the University of Kentucky-University of Louisville team demonstrated that an alloy formed by a 2 percent substitution of antimony (Sb) in gallium nitride (GaN) has the right electrical properties to enable solar light energy to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, a process known as photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting. When the alloy is immersed in water and exposed to sunlight, the chemical bond between the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water is broken. The hydrogen can then be collected."Previous research on PEC has focused on complex materials," Menon said. "We decided to go against the conventional wisdom and start with some easy-to-produce materials, even if they lacked the right arrangement of electrons to meet PEC criteria. Our goal was to see if a minimal 'tweaking' of the electronic arrangement in these materials would accomplish the desired results."Gallium nitride is a semiconductor that has been in widespread use to make bright-light LEDs since the 1990s. Antimony is a metalloid element that has been in increased demand in recent years for applications in microelectronics. The GaN-Sb alloy is the first simple, easy-to-produce material to be considered a candidate for PEC water splitting. The alloy functions as a catalyst in the PEC reaction, meaning that it is not consumed and may be reused indefinitely. University of Louisville and University of Kentucky researchers are currently working toward producing the alloy and testing its ability to convert solar energy to hydrogen.Hydrogen has long been touted as a likely key component in the transition to cleaner energy sources. It can be used in fuel cells to generate electricity, burned to produce heat, and utilized in internal-combustion engines to power vehicles. When combusted, hydrogen combines with oxygen to form water vapor as its only waste product. Hydrogen also has wide-ranging applications in science and industry.Because pure hydrogen gas is not found in free abundance on Earth, it must be manufactured by unlocking it from other compounds. Thus, hydrogen is not considered an energy source, but rather an "energy carrier." Currently, it takes a large amount of electricity to generate hydrogen by water splitting. As a consequence, most of the hydrogen manufactured today is derived from non-renewable sources such as coal and natural gas.Sunkara says the GaN-Sb alloy has the potential to convert solar energy into an economical, carbon-free source for hydrogen."Hydrogen production now involves a large amount of CO2emissions," Sunkara said. "Once this alloy material is widely available, it could conceivably be used to make zero-emissions fuel for powering homes and cars and to heat homes."Menon says the research should attract the interest of other scientists across a variety of disciplines."Photocatalysis is currently one of the hottest topics in science," Menon said. "We expect the present work to have a wide appeal in the community spanning chemistry, physics and engineering.“MIT artificial leaf!MIT researchers just officially unveiled a device that uses sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The device builds upon a breakthrough hydrogen producing technology developed in 2008, and they are calling it an “artificial leaf” because of it capacity to create chemical fuels directly from sunlight. The cell is also made from common materials like silicon, cobalt and nickel, which means that the “leaf” could potentially be mass-produced. If the technology proves itself it could create hydrogen fuel directly from the sun, which could be used for transportation, heating, and running fuel cells for electricity. Check out a video of the leaf’s bubbling action by reading on.Read more: MIT Unveils Artificial Leaf That Creates Hydrogen Fuel from Sunlight | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building MIT researchers just officially unveiled a device that uses sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The device builds upon a breakthrough hydrogen producing technology developed in 2008, and they are calling it an “artificial leaf” because of it capacity to create chemical fuels directly from sunlight. The cell is also made from common materials like silicon, cobalt and nickel, which means that the “leaf” could potentially be mass-produced. If the technology proves itself it could create hydrogen fuel directly from the sun, which could be used for transportation, heating, and running fuel cells for electricity. Check out a video of the leaf’s bubbling action by reading on.Read more: MIT Unveils Artificial Leaf That Creates Hydrogen Fuel from Sunlight | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building 
  • First bio-piezo material key to low cost devicesSelf assembly is important for nano materialsImagine charging your phone as you walk, thanks to a paper-thin generator embedded in the sole of your shoe. This futuristic scenario is now a little closer to reality. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a way to generate power using harmless viruses that convert mechanical energy into electricity.The scientists tested their approach by creating a generator that produces enough current to operate a small liquid-crystal display. It works by tapping a finger on a postage stamp-sized electrode coated with specially engineered viruses. The viruses convert the force of the tap into an electric charge.Their generator is the first to produce electricity by harnessing the piezoelectric properties of a biological material. Piezoelectricity is the accumulation of a charge in a solid in response to mechanical stress.The milestone could lead to tiny devices that harvest electrical energy from the vibrations of everyday tasks such as shutting a door or climbing stairs.It also points to a simpler way to make microelectronic devices. That’s because the viruses arrange themselves into an orderly film that enables the generator to work. Self-assembly is a much sought after goal in the finicky world of nanotechnology.The first part of the video shows how Berkeley Lab scientists harness the piezoelectric properties of a virus to convert the force of a finger tap into electricity. The second part shows the “viral-electric” generators in action, first by pressing only one of the generators, then by pressing two at the same time, which produces more current.The scientists describe their work in a May 13 advance online publication of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.“More research is needed, but our work is a promising first step toward the development of personal power generators, actuators for use in nano-devices, and other devices based on viral electronics,” says Seung-Wuk Lee, a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division and a UC Berkeley associate professor of bioengineering.He conducted the research with a team that includes Ramamoorthy Ramesh, a scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and a professor of materials sciences, engineering, and physics at UC Berkeley; and Byung Yang Lee of Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division.The M13 bacteriophage has a length of 880 nanometers and a diameter of 6.6 nanometers. It’s coated with approximately 2700 charged proteins that enable scientists to use the virus as a piezoelectric nanofiber. The piezoelectric effect was discovered in 1880 and has since been found in crystals, ceramics, bone, proteins, and DNA. It’s also been put to use. Electric cigarette lighters and scanning probe microscopes couldn’t work without it, to name a few applications.But the materials used to make piezoelectric devices are toxic and very difficult to work with, which limits the widespread use of the technology.Lee and colleagues wondered if a virus studied in labs worldwide offered a better way. The M13 bacteriophage only attacks bacteria and is benign to people. Being a virus, it replicates itself by the millions within hours, so there’s always a steady supply. It’s easy to genetically engineer. And large numbers of the rod-shaped viruses naturally orient themselves into well-ordered films, much the way that chopsticks align themselves in a box.These are the traits that scientists look for in a nano building block. But the Berkeley Lab researchers first had to determine if the M13 virus is piezoelectric. Lee turned to Ramesh, an expert in studying the electrical properties of thin films at the nanoscale. They applied an electrical field to a film of M13 viruses and watched what happened using a special microscope. Helical proteins that coat the viruses twisted and turned in response—a sure sign of the piezoelectric effect at work.The bottom 3-D atomic force microscopy image shows how the viruses align themselves side-by-side in a film. The top image maps the film's structure-dependent piezoelectric properties, with higher voltages a lighter color. Next, the scientists increased the virus’s piezoelectric strength. They used genetic engineering to add four negatively charged amino acid residues to one end of the helical proteins that coat the virus. These residues increase the charge difference between the proteins’ positive and negative ends, which boosts the voltage of the virus.The scientists further enhanced the system by stacking films composed of single layers of the virus on top of each other. They found that a stack about 20 layers thick exhibited the strongest piezoelectric effect.The only thing remaining to do was a demonstration test, so the scientists fabricated a virus-based piezoelectric energy generator. They created the conditions for genetically engineered viruses to spontaneously organize into a multilayered film that measures about one square centimeter. This film was then sandwiched between two gold-plated electrodes, which were connected by wires to a liquid-crystal display.When pressure is applied to the generator, it produces up to six nanoamperes of current and 400 millivolts of potential. That’s enough current to flash the number “1” on the display, and about a quarter the voltage of a triple A battery.“We’re now working on ways to improve on this proof-of-principle demonstration,” says Lee. “Because the tools of biotechnology enable large-scale production of genetically modified viruses, piezoelectric materials based on viruses could offer a simple route to novel microelectronics in the future.”
  • You guys are already doing stuff in this areaIts wide open! Drop your filter!
  • Shawn Douglas assembles DNA machines to carry cancer killing chemicals t0 the cancer cellsBrilliant 10: Shawn Douglas Programs DNA Nanorobots To Kill CancerThe clamshell-shaped machine made of DNA is the firstShawn Douglas grew up building R/C cars and planes, using skills he picked up from his repairman father. Two decades later, he’s still assembling machines—only they’re now a billionth the size, made from DNA, and designed to destroy cancer cells.Other labs have worked with DNA to build distinct shapes—a process colloquially known as DNA origami—but most have produced nonfunctional objects. At the University of California at San Francisco, Douglas folds his to have a mission. “He is the first to have realized the dream of a truly programmable container for delivering therapies to cells in a targeted way,” says Paul Rothemund, a biochemical engineer at Caltech.Shawn DouglasAge 31University of California at San FranciscoDouglas’s nanomachine looks like a clamshell, its halves clasped together by two sets of entwined double-stranded DNA and its interior filled with antibodies or drug molecules. When the DNA binds to proteins on target cells, such as cancer, the two double strands unzip and the clamshell swings open to unleash its cargo. Such targeted drug treatment would require lower doses of disease-killing chemicals—and thus produce fewer unpleasant side effects.Douglas hopes nanotechnology will attract new generations of tinkerers. “I want to get college students to come with new ideas and do all sorts of exciting stuff,” he says. Last year, he launched BioMod, a competition in which students build their own nanomachines. So far 25 teams have already signed up.Editors Note: Shawn Douglas did his pioneering work in DNA nanomachines while at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Additionally, BioMod, the competition Douglas started, is still managed by the Wyss Institute. He has since moved to University of California at San Francisco.Particle picture: This illustration depicts DNA molecules (light green), packaged into nanoparticles by using a polymer with two different segments. One segment (teal) carries a positive charge that binds it to the DNA, and the other (brown) forms a protective coating on the particle surface. By adjusting the solvent surrounding these molecules, the Johns Hopkins and Northwestern researchers were able to control the shape of the nanoparticles. The team’s animal tests showed that a nanoparticle’s shape could dramatically affect how effectively it delivers gene therapy to the cells. The cartoon images in the foreground, obtained though computational modeling, matched closely with the gray background images, which were collected through transmission electron microscopy. (Credits: Wei Qu, Northwestern University, simulation cartoons; Xuan Jiang, Johns Hopkins University, microscopic images)“These nanoparticles could become a safer and more effective delivery vehicle for gene therapy, targeting genetic diseases, cancer and other illnesses that can be treated with gene medicine,” said Hai-Quan Mao, an associate professor of materials science and engineering in Johns Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering.
  • Picture: The fibers produced in insect cells, by Gat's team in a lab, are seen at right.Uri Gat is no Peter Parker. Crime-chasing strands of silk fail to stream from his wrists when he thrusts them at tall buildings. But Gat, a biologist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is as close to a real Spider-Man as they come.Gat and his colleagues have produced spider web fibers in a lab -- without spiders.In a feat of genetic engineering that could one day result in tough new industrial materials and commercial products, Gat's team genetically engineered spider web silk. They did it by injecting the silk-making genes of a common garden spider into the cultured cells of a caterpillar.While much more work is needed to perfect the process, with proper funding the silk could be commercialized within 10 years, Gat told LiveScience.Stronger than steelSpiders, being territorial, are impossible to domesticate. So commercial silk is typically harvested from cocoons of the silk moth. This silk is only one-third as strong and about half as elastic as what spiders produce.Spider silk is the strongest natural fiber known. The most appealing type is the "dragline" that spiders use to move about and snag prey. Dragline silk -- what Peter Parker employs while swinging through the streets -- is six times stronger than steel and can be stretched to 50 percent of its length before it breaks.Reproducing dragline silk has been called the Holy Grail of materials science.In 2002, scientists at Nexia Biotechnologies produced spider silk proteins in cells from a mammal. The proteins were then spun into silky threads.The Nexia research was supported by the U.S. Army, which is interested in producing dragline silk for better armor, tethers and bulletproof vests. It could also improve surgical threads, microconductors, optical fibers and the clothes on your back, says Gat, whose team moved a step closer to the goal by creating self-assembling spider web fibers.Spontaneous silkDragline silk is made primarily of two proteins, called ADF-3 and ADF-4. These are produced in a gland in the spider's abdomen, using the same amino acids that your body uses to produce skin and hair. ADF-4 allows for the rapid production of fiber, and ADF-3 regulates this production. Each protein is made by a specific gene.Gat's team put these genes into a genetically engineered virus, then let the virus infect the cultured caterpillar cells. The cells produced silk proteins, and then spider fibers formed spontaneously in the petri dish.But there's a hitch. The lab fibers included only the ADF-4 protein.Still, the fibers were identical to real draglines in chemical resistance and diameter -- about one-tenth the width of a human hair. And important aspects of natural silk production are now better understood."The research enabled us to determine the close connection that exists between the sequence, structure and functions of the proteins," Gat said.The results are detailed in the Nov. 23 issue of Current Biology. Scientists at Oxford University and the Technical University of Munich contributed to the research.
  • Skin doesn’t just protect the body, it enables our sense of touchSkin needs to transmit sensations as well as protect the body!Soft fleshy electronics for grafts and prosthetics
  • Production breakthroughSLIPS: Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous SurfacesA slippery surface that can repel almost everything An unmet need for Slippery Surfaces...Combine water and oil repellencySustain physical stress and pressureSelf-healing materialsLow-costSLIPS Technology Basics Inspired by the Nepenthes pitcher plant...[Image credit: New Scientist; Bohn & Federie, PNAS 101, 14138-14143, 2004]...the SLIPS technology combines a lubricated film on a porous solid......to create low-cost surfaces that exhibit ultra-liquid repellency, self-healing, optical transparency, pressure stability and self-cleaning.SLIPS Repellent CoatingsPrevention applications include:Anti-icingAnti-coagulationAnti-graffitiAnti-biofouling An Unmet NeedA simple, inexpensive, and robust material that repels a variety of liquids and solids has immediate relevance to applications ranging from biomedical devices to architecture and fuel transport. Unwanted interactions between liquids and surfaces are currently a limiting factor nearly everywhere liquids are handled or encountered: they create drag in transport systems, trigger fouling in medical tubing, nucleate icing on power lines, promote growth of bacteria, and interfere with sensing devices. Most state-of-the-art liquid repellent surfaces are modeled after lotus leaves, which, due to their rough, waxy surface and contact angle characteristics, are known to exhibit superhydrophobicity and self-cleaning as water droplets remove contaminants from their surfaces when they roll-off. Despite over a decade of intense research, these surfaces are, however, still plagued with problems that restrict their practical applications: they show limited repellency to oils; they fail under pressure and upon any physical stress; they cannot self-heal; and they are expensive to produce.Wyss Institute SLIPS TechnologyOur SLIPS technology, inspired by the Nepenthes pitcher plant, provides unique capabilities that are unmatched by any other liquid-repellent surface technologies. SLIPS surfaces function under extreme high pressure conditions, instantly self-heal imperfections, provide optical transparency, and are ultra-repellent to pure and complex fluids such as blood, crude oil, and brine. They also repel solids such as ice and wax. These properties allow the slippery surfaces to be used in a wide variety of applications and environments. In addition, the slippery surfaces can be constructed from a broad range of simple, inexpensive materials without the need for specialized fabrication facilities. This makes them practical for use on a large scale, such as anti-grafitti walls, at a reasonable cost.SLIPS as repellent coatingsSLIPS can be optimized for extreme temperature and pressure conditions, rapid self-healing, biocompatibility, optical transparency, and chemical inertness. These properties enable us to envision many potential applications that take advantage of one or a combination of these features and that are beyond the reach of current repellent technologies. For example, the temperature and pressure stabilities of SLIPS make it ideal for energy-efficient, high temperature transport of economically important fluids such as crude oil and biofuels, for economical heating/cooling systems, or as ice-resistant coatings for devices/instruments operating in refrigerated, or even in polar environments. In addition, the optical transparency (in the visible and near-IR range) and self-cleaning properties of SLIPS allow it to be used for stain-resistant coatings on optical surfaces, such as solar cells, lenses, sensors, and night-vision devices. The biocompatibility of SLIPS and its ability to repel biological fluids allow its application in anti-biofouling coatings for medical devices and instruments, and even for marine vessels, while its pressure resistance is well-suited for deep-sea exploration. In a separate area of potential utility, the omniphobic nature of SLIPS provides a unique insect-repellent capacity – directly analogous to the pitcher plant – which would be useful for pest barriers, on which ants and other insects would literally slip off of the thresholds and foundations of protected structures.
  • My career choices have been largely driven by this one aspectTaken me through aerospace, automotive, and renewable energy “industries”
  • Next most pressing issue on the planet1% of earths water is drinkableFraunhofer IFAM introduces heat conducting composites for seawater desalinationThe Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (Bremen Germany) says the titanium pipes used in desalination plants could soon be replaced by pipes made of polymer composites.Author: StaffShare on facebookShare on twitterShare on emailShare on printMore Sharing Services6Posted on: 10/15/2012 Source: CompositesWorldThere are vast quantities of seawater available; drinking water, on the other hand, is in scarce supply. Desalination plants can convert seawater to drinking water. Yet these plants require pipelines made of a special kind of steel or titanium – expensive material that is growing increasingly difficult to procure. Heat conducting polymer composites may soon replace titanium altogether. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) in Bremen, Germany presented this heat conducting plastic at the Composites 2012 trade fair, Oct. 9-11, in Düsseldorf.Drinking water is a scarce commodity – a fact no longer limited to the desert regions of the world. During the hot summer months, drinking water is rare in Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Portugal, too. As a result, industrial plants that can desalinate seawater and convert it to drinking water are on the rise. Here‘s how the principle of desalination works: seawater is sprayed on pipes heated by pumping hot gas or hot water through them. Pure water evaporates from the seawater, leaving a salty sludge behind. This process subjects the material and its properties to a diverse array of demands: the material from which the pipes are made must conduct heat and be particularly robust in resisting corrosion and the formation of deposits – and these properties must be durable over a long period of time. And for the water to evaporate properly, the piping must also be easily coated with seawater. This is why manufacturers to date have used only titanium and highalloy forms of steel. Yet these materials are very costly. The demand for titanium is also constantly on the rise – as a result of the increase in lightweight construction, the aviation industry is also competing for this material. The results are delivery delays and further increases in price.Researchers at Fraunhofer IFAM are now developing an alternative to the titanium tubes: pipelines made of polymer composites. The special thing about this method: the polymer composites are a plastic, and yet they conduct heat. Another benefit: they can be produced in continuous lengths and are correspondingly more economical than their metal counterparts.“We introduced metal particles into the material or more precisely, we add up to 50 percent copper microfibers by volume. This does not change the processing properties of the composite, and it can still be processed as any other polymer would,“ notes Arne Haberkorn, a scientist at IFAM. The researchers have already developed the material itself; now they want to optimize its thermal conductivity. To accomplish this, they are installing the piping in a pilot seawater desalination plant: here, they are testing its thermal conductivity, checking to see how much of a microorganism-based coating forms on the pipes, and how heavily the material corrodes in its salty surroundings. They then optimize the composite properties based on the results. The researchers have set the evaporation process to run at a temperature of 70°C — so there is hot gas heated to 70°C pumped through the pipelines. This offers several advantages: fewer deposits congregate on the pipes, the material doesn‘t corrode as quickly, and the pressure differential between the inside and outside of the piping is not as dramatic. The usages for the material are not confined to seawater desalination, either. “We developed the pipes for desalination plants because they place the highest demands on the material. Designed with these constraints in mind, it will be no problem using it in the food or pharmaceuticals industries,“ Haberkorn points out.Contact: Arne Haberkorn, Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM), Wiener Str. 12, 28359 Bremen, Germany; Tel:  +49 421 2246 270.
  • Wood has been used in construction for thousands of years, but not typically in our modern citiesNew Design Competition Explores Wood as Green Material for Urban ConstructionTimber in the City Competition Challenges Young Architects to Design Mid-Rise, Mixed-Use ComplexBy Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture; Binational Softwood Lumber Council; Parsons The New School for DesignPublished: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 - 12:34 pmNEW YORK, Oct. 17, 2012 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Wood has been used as a building material for thousands of years, but when it comes to urban construction, American cities are predominantly steel and concrete. A new design competition, organized by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), the Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC), and Parsons The New School for Design seeks to change that mindset.(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121017/AQ95184)Timber in the City: Urban Habitats challenges architecture students and young professionals, working individually or in teams, to design a mid-rise, mixed-use complex for a site in the Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood of Red Hook, an industrial and residential area that is currently in flux, with a population of public housing residents and working artists and designers, and a number of new residential and commercial developments such as Ikea. With a focus on regenerating the urban manufacturing sector and addressing New York's housing needs, entrants are being tasked with incorporating affordable housing units; a bike sharing and repair shop; as well as a vocational, manufacturing and distribution center for the innovative use of wood technology."Timber is ideal for green building – it has a lower overall environmental and carbon footprint than other materials and is renewable," said Cees de Jager, executive director of BSLC. "Wood is well suited for a broad range of structural and aesthetic applications, is high performance, and, in many cases, is a more economical choice."Innovations in wood technologies are offering new opportunities for large-scale construction in this sustainable material. From long-span laminated beams to cross-laminated timber panels, wood has proven to be a safe and durable for urban settings. These systems are already being used in major cities around the world, from Europe to Australia and Canada. This includes such highly acclaimed projects as architect Andrew Waugh's Murray Grove in North London, the world's tallest residential building made of cross-laminated timber panels.Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/17/4919257/new-design-competition-explores.html#storylink=cpyKenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus), is a plant in the Malvaceae family. Kenaf is cultivated for its fiber in India, Bangladesh, United States of America, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, Viet Nam, Thailand, parts of Africa, and to a small extent in southeast Europe. Researchers from the University Teknologi MARA in Malaysia have created a new durable wood-plastic composite (WPC). Recent discoveries in the production of new materials have enabled researchers to develop new types of composite materials that perform better and are more durable. Ads by Google Failure Analysis Lab - Metallurgical & Chemical Testing A2LA Accredited - www.astonmet.com Wood-plastic composites (WPCs) are one of the fastest growing construction components in the wood composites industry. Their popularity is due to low maintenance, high durability, and resistance to termites and other insect attacks. However their widespread usage has been limited due to their high cost in production and in some instances low strength. The present study focused on assessing the suitability of kenaf core fraction (about 65%of the whole stem of the plant) in powder form as filler material. Kenaf powder, processed from its core fibre, has been shown to offer one potential solution to the increasing scarcity of traditional filler materials. Kenaf stems contain two distinct fibre types, bast and core. Dosing with maleic-anhydride-modified polypropylene (MAPP) in the right amount displayed not only to bridge the interface between the ground kenaf core (GKC) and plastic in the present WPCs, improving stress transfer and increasing their strength and stiffness, but also allow a higher filler loading. Reducing the amount of plastic and increasing the amount of GKC, without sacrificing strength, stiffness or durability, would result in greener WPC products. Researchers examined the possibility of replacing sawdust with GKC and measured the mechanical properties of the resulting composites. They also looked at the effect of increasing maleic-anhydride-modified polypropylene (MAPP) dosage. Material preparation included GKC drying followed by high intensity blending with polypropylene (PP), coupling agents (MAPP) pellets, and feeding this into a counter-rotating twin-screw extruder for compounding. Compounded blends were then fed to an injection-moulding machine to produce boards of dimensions 153mm x 153mm x 3mm. Specimens were cut from the boards for tensile and bending tests in five replicates. GKC formulation gave the highest average tensile strength, modulus of rupture and modulus of elasticity. WPCs of polypropylene (PP) and ground kenaf core (GKC) fibre, dosed with maleic-anhydride-modified polypropylene (MAPP) in the right amount, was found not only to bridge the interface between the GKC and plastic, improving stress transfer and increasing their strength and stiffness, but also allow a higher filler loading of 65%. Reducing the amount of plastic and increasing the amount of GKC, without sacrificing strength, stiffness or durability, would result in greener WPC products. The researchers recommend that additional testing and extended research is necessary to investigate the strength of WPC on mechanical properties of modulus of elasticity (MOE) and modulus of rupture (MOR) by carrying out impact test and compressive test which could reveal new discoveries about high filler loading WPCs.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-kenaf-powder-durable-wood-plastic-composite.html#jCp
  • New process turns solids into raw materials for the plastic industryWhat if we did use all the oil up for transportation? Where would we get our plastics?Applied Cleantech’s New Technology Converts Sewage Waste into Sustainable Raw MaterialsPublished on October 8, 2012 at 5:29 AMA pioneering, ground breaking innovation will enable turning municipal sewage sludge into raw materials, to be used by paper and plastic industries around the world.Raw material for plastic and paper industryThe innovative technology developed by Applied Cleantech, an Israeli company founded by Refael Aharon, will enable turning the solids in municipal sewage systems into raw materials for the plastic industry around the world. This revolutionary way of thought, along with scientific research, led over the past few years to this technology's development which enables sewage sludge to be used as a base for raw materials that are later sold back to the industry. The technology is applied by way of a compact, automatic and efficient facility that recycles solids from raw sewage and turns them into high-quality consumer products through a continuous process (SRS- Sewage Recycling System). At the end of the process, sewage solids are turned into high quality, clean and environmentally friendly raw materials, thus naming the purification facility to a manufacturer with extra "green" points.Aside from the raw materials created at the end of the process, the new plants assist in reducing regional sewage purification plant loads by about 35%. As a result, purification plants enjoy reduced energy consumption and reduced operational and maintenance costs in their water cleaning process in favor of reuse. In addition, sewage recycling provides three major benefits. First, reducing regular operational costs by approximately 30%, as well as gaining raised capacity. Second, manufacturing and selling high quality consumer goods by utilizing sewage materials, and third - reducing greenhouse gases, thus preventing environmental hazards. Applying this system will allow turning purification facilities into a true asset - a source of income and environmental contribution.The company's development was intended to provide a solution for issues in sewage care. Today, a certain percentage of the massive amount of waste produced by human beings (solid municipal waste) is cleared through garbage systems to landfills, and some is cleared through the sewage system through sewage purification facilities. The raw sewage that reaches the sewage purification facilities contains suspended solids, soluble solids, minerals, oils, and toxic compounds. Speaking in environmental terms, sludge is currently considered one of the major issues that need to be solved.
  • an average of eight plastic bottles per pairUses PET bottles, shredded and woven into fibersLevi's introduces new Waste < Less jean using recycled materials New Levi Strauss denim models launching in January contain, in their composition, an average of eight plastic bottles per pair. The whole collection will utilize over 3.5 million recycled bottles, according to the company.other companies include Eco-fi, Patagonia and REKIXX are only a few out of the increasing number of green clothing companies setting out to make a difference by incorporating recycled and recyclable materials into their merchandise.Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/fashion/levi-introduces-denim-made-plastic-bottles-article-1.1186457#ixzz29rOt0JYfNew Levi Strauss denim models launching in January contain, in their composition,. The whole collection will utilize over 3.5 million recycled bottles, according to the company. The famous denim brand has launched a new line of Waste<Less jeans, arriving in stores in the New Year, which use recycled PET plastic as a key component.Teams will collect waste from across the USA -- including brown and green drink bottles, clear water bottles and black food trays -- which will be shredded and woven into fibers to be used in the manufacture of the jeans.With a global launch in January in Levi's stores and online at levi.com, the jeans will retail for $69 to $128. The Spring 2013 men's line will be available globally, featuring Levi's 511 Skinny jeans, what the brand calls a new "modern-looking" Levi's 504 Straight Fit jean and the iconic Levi's denim trucker jacket. Women in the US and Europe will be able to purchase Levi's ‘Boyfriend' Skinny jeans.The brand's previous water-saving initiative, the Water<Less collection, saved over 360 million liters of water. Levi Strauss founded his celebrated denim company in 1873.Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/fashion/levi-introduces-denim-made-plastic-bottles-article-1.1186457#ixzz29rOyUBtM
  • New process can recapture the useful materials, while enabling the treatment of the toxic onesMore than 3 million tons of e-waste were generated in 2007 in the United States, with 13.6 percent collected for recycling and 86.4 percent going to landfills and incineratorsPurdue University researchers are developing tools to help industry efficiently recycle millions of flat-screen monitors and television sets expected to become obsolete soon. The monitors contain hazardous - as well as valuable - materials. In this picture, the lines and dots in a drive circuit contain indium, which sells for about $600 per kilogram. Credit: University image/Gamini Mendis (Phys.org)—Millions of flat-screen monitors and television sets will soon become obsolete, posing environmental hazards, and Purdue University researchers are developing tools to help industry efficiently recycle the products. Liquid crystal displays manufactured before 2009 use cold cathode fluorescent lamps, or CCFLs, to backlight the display. The CCFL displays contain mercury, making them hazardous to dispose of or incinerate. "Over the next few years, it is expected that hundreds of millions of CCFL-backlighted LCDs will retire each year," said Fu Zhao, an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering and Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering. "Without proper treatment, these used LCDs could lead to serious damage to the environment." Purdue researchers are working to aid industry in recycling the displays through a new project funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's People, Prosperity and the Planet - or P3 - program. "We will produce equipment and tools specifically designed to disassemble LCDs with acceptable labor cost while recovering high-value components and reducing environmental hazards," Zhao said. He is leading the project with Carol Handwerker, Reinhardt Schuhmann Jr. Professor of Materials Engineering. Electronic products contain hazardous chemicals such as heavy metals and brominated flame retardants. The materials can leach out of landfills into groundwater and streams or be converted into "super toxicants" including dioxin while being incinerated. More than 3 million tons of e-waste were generated in 2007 in the United States, with 13.6 percent collected for recycling and 86.4 percent going to landfills and incinerators. Environmental concerns have led 25 states to pass laws mandating e-waste recycling. "Because many states have laws prohibiting disposal of electronic wastes in landfills, used LCDs are likely to be incinerated in large-scale capital-intensive facilities or shipped to developing countries," Zhao said. "Neither scenario is good from a sustainability perspective. Incineration is expensive, and materials and energy are wasted. Exporting e-wastes to developing countries damages local environments, harms people's health and is against environmental justice."Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-environmental-impact-tools-aid-recycling.html#The colorful picture: This picture shows the various layers of a flat-screen monitor. Millions of the monitors and television sets will soon become obsolete, posing environmental hazards, and Purdue University researchers are developing tools to help industry efficiently recycle the products. Credit: Purdue University image/Gamini Mendis LCD hardware typically has a lifespan of 10 to 20 years. "However, due to rapid technology advances, LCD monitors and TVs are becoming obsolete much faster," Zhao said. "The life cycle for products is speeding up, in part because people want the latest products." Surveys of e-waste collectors and recyclers indicate that LCD monitors and TVs manufactured four to five years ago have started showing up in waste streams. The high cost of e-waste recycling in the United States and Europe has posed challenges in managing the high-tech trash, but new tools to efficiently disassemble LCD panels could make recycling profitable, he said. "Recycling hundreds of millions of LCDs will create new job opportunities," Zhao said. The new equipment and tools will be tested by e-waste recyclers, and field data will be collected. The tools will be used to more easily remove a monitor's housing and detach circuit boards and metal frames, then separate polarizing filters, glass, liquid crystals, and the mercury-containing backlight unit. "A unique feature is that these new tools allow quick access, separation, and recovery of high value parts and toxic sub-assemblies," Zhao said. An LCD monitor includes the front frame, back cover, metal frame, circuit boards, the liquid crystal subassembly with a driver circuit and the backlight unit. Electrode patterns are made of a layer of indium tin oxide, or ITO. The backlight unit includes a frame, fluorescent tubes, a prism, a "diffuser," a reflector, and a protective layer. The liquid crystal subassembly's drive circuit has a gold coating. "The gold price is currently higher than $50 per gram, and the drive circuit may contain 1-2 grams of gold," Zhao said. In the past several years, increasing demands from LCD and thin-film solar cell manufacturing have led to the price of indium running from less than $100 per kilogram in 2003 to more than $600 per kilogram in 2011. "Therefore, recovering the ITO-coated glass makes business sense," Zhao said. Because fluorescent tubes in the backlight unit contain mercury, the unit must be removed carefully and then sent for proper disposal. To access the backlight unit, the front frame has to be removed first. "Although screw drivers can be used to remove the front frame, this is not preferred due to potential risks of breaking the backlight unit, which results in mercury release," Zhao said. "To minimize the probability of breaking the tubes, a case-opening tool will first be developed." A different tool will be developed to remove the back cover from the metal frame. In 2010, LCD TVs using light emitting diodes as backlights gained popularity. The LED-backlighted LCDs contain no toxic substances and consume 20 percent to 30 percent less electricity than the CCFL technology. "Although the LED monitors don't contain mercury, they are still e-waste and will need to be recycled," Zhao said. "At the same time, the LED-backlighted monitors contain valuable materials that will be cost-effective to recover.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-environmental-impact-tools-aid-recycling.html#jCp
  • So what cant you do!How do you figure it out?Transition: And when you are doing something you love…
  • And when you are doing something you love… This is a natural next stepand an obligation!Just like I'm doing with you today
  • What cant you do?There are no limits, its up to youThe world is in your hands!Thank you!
  • The world you live in is cleaner, safer, stronger, smarter, and more efficient because of our understanding and manipulation of materialsMaterials and energy are at the root of all progress throughout history, and they have been intimately connected and interdependentMaterials matter more today than at any point in our historyIn fact, our future depends upon accelerating materials progress; not just new ideas, but new applications, educating the public in the processAnd its really just starting, and up to you to see where this story goes…
  • The hard outer shells of mollusks and gastropods are really remarkable structures. Taken separately, their constituent parts can be soft, brittle and yielding. Yet the protective casings of these creatures, once constructed, have a strength and lightness that belies these individual building blocks.This nacre layer is composed of many smaller layers of a carbonate mineral known as aragonite, arranged in stacked platelets. Fortuitously, the distance between these platelets approximates that of the wavelength of visible light, creating the wonderful, swirling iridescence of these shells.Each platelet acts as a brick held together by a mortar of elastic biopolymers, composed of proteins and polysaccharides. This regular, layered stacking of platelets is what imparts such toughness to the structure.
  • LBNL senior materials scientist and U.C. Berkeley professor Rob Ritchie has been researching the fracture behavior of a wide array of materials for the past 40 years, the last ten of them using the facilities at the ALS. From human bone to synthetic engineering materials such as shape-memory metals and composites, Ritchie has illuminated groundbreaking cracking patterns and the underlying mechanistic processes using the x-ray synchrotron micro-tomography at ALS Beamline 8.3.2.One of Ritchie’s latest materials research projects is contributing to the evolution of jet engine performance, and hence has industry players heavily interested and invested. Termed ceramic-matrix composites, the materials that Ritchie (at right in photo), specifically with his post-doc Hrishikesh Bale (at left in photo), are now studying can withstand temperatures that would melt current state-of-the-art engine material, alloy-based nickel.The heat-resistant properties of advanced ceramics materials has been known for a long time, but the materials’ poor resistance to fracture has always been the major drawback to their use as structural materials. But this new generation of ceramic composites is the emerging material of choice for next-generation gas turbines and hypersonic-flight applications due to their added strength and temperature resistance without catastrophic failure.Ritchie and his group are currently probing the depths of ceramics composites’ fracture and temperature resistance at beam line 8.3.2 as part of a collaborative research project with Teledyne, funded by NASA and the U.S. Air Force.  Ritchie’s team, which includes his post-doc Hrishi Bale and a team of ALS beamline scientists headed by Alastair MacDowell, have developed a unique facility that permits mechanical testing of these composites at very high temperatures with simultaneous real-time 3-D imaging of materials.The inherent brittleness of ceramics has been overcome in the new composite materials by creating hybrid microstructures. Because of the complexity of their design, they have the toughness to resist cracking at ultrahigh temperatures in extreme environments. The key to the materials’ safety is how the microstructure can contain and impede the growth of numerous small cracks that are created when loads are applied at high temperatures, i.e.,how much damage they can withstand under these extreme conditions.  The tomography facilities at the ALS allow Ritchie and his colleagues to study this process in 3-D with a spatial resolution below one micrometer, under load and at temperature.“The nickel-based superalloy materials that are currently used in our gas-turbine engines have reached the absolute limit of their temperature range,” says Ritchie.  “But if new engines can be designed to operate safely with these new ceramic composite materials, the potential payoff would be enormous and lead to  major breakthroughs in engine performance.”Ritchie thinks that we will see ceramic composite engines on the commercial market within the next ten years or so. "Ceramic composite engines could achieve a 10 to 20 percent or more weight reduction from current engines, with much increased efficiencies, which translates into considerably lower fuel consumption and reduced environmental pollution” says Ritchie.With the testing facility they’ve developed at the ALS tomography beamline, Ritchie says they’ve moved past an important milestone in the research process: how to study and mechanically test these ceramic matrix materials at such ultrahigh temperatures.“We’re getting measurements of the mechanical properties at temperatures that are literally unprecedented, coupled with wonderful 3D images and quantitative data of the damage under load, all results that can be accurately used to provide future predictions of the structural integrity and safe lifetimes of the exciting new materials,” says Ritchie.Next >
  • From PopSci: For years, particle physicists and computer scientists have been promising us vastly improved memory chips based on the spin of individual electrons, but concrete advances have been awfully elusive. Now a team at Ohio State has put together a working device to test spintronic memory, and used it successfully.RELATED ARTICLESMove Over, Silicon; Here Come Quantum Bismuth ChipsResearchers Witness and Image Atomic Spin for the First TimeTAGSTechnology, Paul Adams, computer memory, computers, electronics, electrons, memory, RAM, spintronicsThe team hooked a pair of leads to an array of magnets, and, by manipulating the spin of the electrons within the magnetic fields, were able to record and retrieve data.Spintronics promises to double the density of computer storage, as each electron will be able to store two bits of data instead of one. Energy usage will drop as well, since the electrons won't need to flow around to do their work. The result would be smaller devices with smaller batteries.io9 quotes Arthur J. Epstein, a researcher on the project: "If we had a lighter weight spintronic device which operates itself at a lower energy cost, and if we could make it on a flexible polymer display, soldiers and other users could just roll it up and carry it."History: Spintronics emerged from discoveries in the 1980s concerning spin-dependent electron transport phenomena in solid-state devices. This includes the observation of spin-polarized electron injection from a ferromagnetic metal to a normal metal by Johnson and Silsbee (1985),[3] and the discovery of giant magnetoresistance independently by Albert Fert et al.[4] and Peter Grünberg et al. (1988).[5] The origins of spintronics can be traced back even further to the ferromagnet/superconductor tunneling experiments pioneered by Meservey and Tedrow,[6] and initial experiments on magnetic tunnel junctions by Julliere in the 1970s.[7] The use of semiconductors for spintronics can be traced back at least as far as the theoretical proposal of a spin field-effect-transistor by Datta and Das in 1990.[8]In 2012, IBM scientists mapped the creation of persistent spin helices of synchronized electrons that persisted for more than a nanosecond. This is a 30-fold increase from the previously observed results and is longer than the duration of a modern processor clock cycle, which opens new paths to investigate for using electron spins for information processing.[9]Another advance on the road to spintronicsPublished: Monday, October 15, 2012 - 12:08 in Physics & ChemistryRelated images(click to enlarge)Image from Alex Gray, Stanford and SLACPhoto by Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley LabSpintronic technology, in which data is processed on the basis of electron "spin" rather than charge, promises to revolutionize the computing industry with smaller, faster and more energy efficient data storage and processing. Materials drawing a lot of attention for spintronic applications are dilute magnetic semiconductors -- normal semiconductors to which a small amount of magnetic atoms is added to make them ferromagnetic. Understanding the source of ferromagnetism in dilute magnetic semiconductors has been a major road-block impeding their further development and use in spintronics. Now a significant step to removing this road-block has been taken. A multi-institutional collaboration of researchers led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), using a new technique called HARPES, for Hard x-ray Angle-Resolved PhotoEmission Spectroscopy, has investigated the bulk electronic structure of the prototypical dilute magnetic semiconductor gallium manganese arsenide. Their findings show that the material's ferromagnetism arises from both of the two different mechanisms that have been proposed to explain it."This study represents the first application of HARPES to a forefront problem in materials science, uncovering the origin of the ferromagnetism in the so-called dilute magnetic semiconductors," says Charles Fadley, the physicist who led the development of HARPES. "Our results also suggest that the HARPES technique should be broadly applicable to many new classes of materials in the future."Fadley, who holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division and the University of California (UC) Davis where he is a Distinguished Professor of Physics, is the senior author of a paper describing this work in the journal Nature Materials. The paper is titled "Bulk electronic structure of the dilute magnetic semiconductor GaMnAs through hard X-ray angle-resolved photoemission." The lead and corresponding author is Alexander Gray, formerly with Fadley's research group and now with the Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.For the semiconductors used in today's computers, tablets and smart phones, etc., once a device is fabricated it is the electronic structures below the surface, in the bulk of the material or in buried layers, that determine its effectiveness. HARPES, which is based on the photoelectric effect described in 1905 by Albert Einstein, enables scientists to study bulk electronic effects with minimum interference from surface reactions or contamination. It also allows them to probe buried layers and interfaces that are ubiquitous in nanoscale devices, and are key to smaller logic elements in electronics, novel memory architectures in spintronics, and more efficient energy conversion in photovoltaic cells."The key to probing the bulk electronic structure is using hard x-rays, which are x-rays with sufficiently high photon energies to eject photoelectrons from deep beneath the surface of a solid material," says Gray, who worked with Fadley to develop the HARPES technique. "High-energy photons impart high kinetic energies to the ejected photoelectrons, enabling them to travel longer distances within the solid. The result is that more of the signal originating from the bulk will be detected by the analyzer."In this new study, Gray and Fadley and their collaborators, used HARPES to shed important new light on the electronic bulk structure of gallium manganese arsenide (GaMnAs). As a semiconductor, gallium arsenide is second only to silicon in widespread use and importance. If a few percent of the gallium atoms in this semiconductor are replaced with atoms of manganese the result is a dilute magnetic semiconductor. Such materials would be especially well-suited for further development into spintronic devices if the mechanisms behind their ferromagnetism were better understood."Right now the temperature at which gallium manganese arsenide operates as a dilute magnetic semiconductor is 170 Kelvin," Fadley says. "Understanding the actual mechanism by which the magnetic moments of individual manganese atoms are coupled so as to become ferromagnetic is critical to being able to design future materials that would operate at room temperature."The two prevailing theories behind the origin of ferromagnetism in GaMnAs and other dilute magnetic semiconductors are the "p-d exchange model" and the "double exchange model." According to the p-d exchange model, ferromagnetism is mediated by electrons residing in the valence bands of gallium arsenide whose influence extends through the material to other manganese atoms. The double exchange model holds that the magnetism-mediating electrons reside in a separate impurity band created by doping the gallium arsenide with manganese. These electrons in effect jump back and forth between two manganese atoms so as to lower their energy when their ferromagnetic magnets are parallel."Our bulk-sensitive HARPES measurements revealed that the manganese-induced impurity band is located mostly between the gallium arsenide valence-band maximum and the Fermi level, but the manganese states are also merged with the gallium arsenide valence bands," Gray says. "This is evidence that the two mechanisms co-exist and both act to give rise to ferromagnetism."Adds Fadley, "We now have a better fundamental understanding of electronic interactions in dilute magnetic semiconductors that can suggest future materials with different parent semiconductors and different magnetic dopants. HARPES should provide an important tool for characterizing these future materials."Gray and Fadley conducted this study using a high intensity undulator beamline at the SPring8 synchrotron radiation facility in Hyogo, Japan, which is operated by the Japanese National Institute for Materials Sciences. New HARPES studies are now underway at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS) using the Multi-Technique Spectrometer/Diffractometer endstation at the hard x-ray photoemission beamline (9.3.1).Co-authoring the Nature Materials paper with Gray and Fadley were Jan Minár, Shigenori Ueda, Peter Stone, Yoshiyuki Yamashita, Jun Fujii, Juergen Braun, Lukasz Plucinski, Claus Schneider, Giancarlo Panaccione, Hubert Ebert, Oscar Dubon and Keisuke Kobayashi.This research was primarily supported by the DOE Office of Science
  • Changing the dynamics of bulk materialsTue, 10/09/2012 - 8:16amGet today's R&D headlines and news - Sign up now!Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have developed a new bulk material whose physical properties can be dynamically changed by an external signal.The scientists came up with a method to fabricate mass-producible, graphene-based bulk materials from low-cost, polymer-derived carbon foams by selectively removing carbon atoms from a network composed of both unstructured carbon and graphite nanoplatelets."The new technique is inexpensive, scalable, and yields mechanically robust, centimeter-sized monolithic samples that are composed almost entirely of interconnected networks of single-layer graphene nanoplatelets" says Ted Baumann of Lawrence Livermore who developed the synthetic approach.These graphene bulk materials have an ultrahigh surface area and may thus be used for energy storage systems such as super-capacitors where energy is stored by polarization of the graphene electrode/electrolyte interface.Graphene bulk material also could be used as an electrically conductive network to support the active material in battery applications. Desalination using capacitive desalination is another emerging field.The advantage of using bulk materials versus composite materials (made from porous carbon particles and a binder) is their superior stability, which allows for longer lifetimes, higher conductivity (less losses during charging and discharging), and the ability to tune the pore structure."This is a potentially game changing concept in materials science," says Juergen Biener, lead LLNL author of the article in Advanced Materials. "Just imagine what you could do with a bulk material with properties you can change dynamically by an external variable. For example, you could switch a bulk material dynamically between a conductive and an insulating state."The specific surface area of this 3D nanographene bulk material is comparable to that of a free-standing graphene layer, but it has an open porosity that allows rapid mass transport through the material.Most graphene based bulk materials are made by self-assembly of graphene oxide, which is still very expensive and costs up to several hundred dollars per gram. At this price, it is not economical to use graphene based bulk materials for energy storage even though they have excellent properties for this application. Biener said. By contrast, the Livermore technique of making graphene based bulk materials is inherently inexpensive (only a few dollars per kilogram), scalable, and yields mechanically robust, centimeter-sized monolithic samples. "That is a major breakthrough toward applications," Biener says.The group has tested the new technique by making large pieces of the material, and tested actuator and the tunable resistor applications.
  • A team of professors from the University of Illinois may have come up with a self-healing system which quickly restores electrical conductivity to a broken circuit.When one little circuit, out of hundreds found within an integrated circuit chip, breaks or fails, the entire chip, perhaps the whole electronic device itself, is lost.But, as electronic technology continues to grow and evolve, much more information and circuitry is being packed onto already sophisticated IC chips.However, jamming more and more into these chips can also cause them to be unreliable, with failures that could stem from causes such as fluctuating temperature cycles as the device operates, or from mere fatigue.To enable the self-healing functions on circuit boards, the research team used a system for self-healing polymer materials they had previously developed, adapting this technique for conductive systems.Here’s how it works:  tiny microcapsules containing liquid metal, as small as 10 microns in diameter, are placed on top of a gold line that functions as a circuit. As a crack or break develops or grows, those microcapsules break open and then release the liquid metal which fills the gap in the circuit, restoring its electrical flow.
  • Fusion of energy and materialsThe root of all progress!You cant master energy use without mastering materials
  • Gas And Materials From Waste: An Interview With Rolf SteinRolf Stein, CEO of Advanced Plasma Power, talks to AZoM about an innovative method of syngas production, which also produces material for the construction industry. Interview conducted by Gary Thomas.GT: Could you please provide a brief introduction to the industry that Advanced Plasma Power works within and outline the key drivers?RS: The European Union has set a number of targets to address climate change, energy security and the critical status of our waste management process, all of which are growing problems as populations swell and competition for resources increases.  EU directives are seeking to address these challenges; the UK is required to generate 15% of its energy generation from renewable sources by 2020 and also reduce biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill to 35% of 1995 levels. The energy from waste industry is striving to help the UK meet these targets by diverting waste from landfill to generating renewable energy and heat.GT: Could you please give a brief overview of Advanced Plasma Power?RS: APP has developed a unique and patented advanced gasification process that uses waste to generate electricity and heat. APP has been operating its demonstration plant in Swindon since 2008.GT: Could you explain the process behind the Gasplasma technology?RS: APP has developed its Gasplasma® enhanced energy-from-waste technology, which is a proven, scalable and commercially viable means of generating renewable energy and heat. APP’s technology is the only existing process to combine two technologies in optimal conditions to maximize the efficiency of the gasification process ensuring there are no waste outputs and minimal emissions and environmental impact. All non recyclable materials are shredded and dried to create Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF), which is transformed into an unrefined synthesis gas (syngas) in the gasifier. The Plasma Converter then breaks down all organic long chain hydrocarbons producing a very clean, hydrogen-rich syngas – much cleaner than syngas produced by other technologies. This syngas is then used, for instance, in a power island to generate electricity.The main outputs of the process are: a syngas, which can be used to generate electricity in gas engines or gas turbines, heat for use in local domestic and industrial buildings (or processes) and Plasmarok®, a solid product for use in construction.GT: What are the applications of the resulting syngas?RS: The syngas can be used to generate electricity directly in gas engines, gas turbines and/or fuel cells or it can be converted into hydrogen or other gaseous or liquid fuels.Furthermore the syngas can be converted into bio-substitute natural gas (Bio-SNG) for injection into the national gas grid and distributed as a domestic and commercial heat/energy source.  It is estimated that renewable gas, of which Bio-SNG could be a major source, could satisfy as much as one fifth of the UK’s heat demand (National Grid Gone Green 2050 scenario). APP entered into an agreement with National Grid in April 2012 to build a demonstration plant delivering an end-to-end process for the production of bio-SNG from waste.GT: The solid material produced via this process is Plasmarok – could you please give an overview of this material and its applications?RS: All inorganic materials resulting from the process are made inert and vitrified into an environmentally benign product call Plasmarok®. The UK Environment Agency classifies it as a product not a waste, which can be sold for instance as an aggregate for construction, generating additional revenue streams.GT: Are the physical properties of Plasmarok comparable to other building materials?RS: Yes, the Plasmarok has to comply with the same physical and mechanical testing standards as materials produced from primary sources.GT: Is the process scalable?RS: The plant process is designed to be modular and scalable so it can be easily installed unobtrusively on the edge of towns and cities; the plant is intended to be local, providingwaste management and energy supply for local communities. The plant fits into a standard industrial warehouse as seen in most edge of town business parks and has very low emissions. This reduces the distances waste needs to be transported and maximises the potential for heat recovery and use.  The Gasplasma® process complies with the European  Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) as it relates to EU plants and employs emissions control technology that ensures that these emission limits are easily met, so it can be sited near population hubs without any impact on human health or the local environment.GT: Where are you current projects situated?RS: APP’s demonstration plant has been operating in Swindon since 2008 and the company has an active project pipeline, including a number of waste to energy projects in the UK, Europe and around the World.GT: Do you have any plans to expand operations in the near future?RS: We will expand as we move forward with our project pipeline.GT: Advanced Plasma Power is a carbon negative company – could you please explain the idea of ‘carbon negative’ and how this is achieved?RS: The carbon savings that are attainable from the APP Gasplasma process have been independently evaluated for APP by the consultant, Wardell Armstrong.  The process lifecycle analysis was undertaken under standard (EU-ETS and DEFRA) Carbon reporting methodologies.  Various scenarios were considered in quantifying the net Green House Gas (GHG) emission flux from the Gasplasma system.  The baseline scenario considered energy recovery by way of the utilisation of Combined Heat and Power, CHP plant at projected net energy efficiency (NEF) of 67.2 %.   The CHP mode of the plant is integral to the process as waste heat recovery boilers are designed into the process and provide all of the steam required by the process whilst also producing power from a steam turbine.In the case of this base-line scenario the Gasplasma process attained a very low CO2equivalent emission value, with an overall carbon negative footprint of -779 kg CO2 eq/ tonne MSW input, this equates to -433 kg CO2 eq/ MWh based on a Net CV factor of 9.62 GJ/T MSW Input3.  The level of -433 kg CO2 eq/ MWh can be compared to conventional generation related emissions which for grid consumed electrical power is +547 kg CO2 eq/ MWh3 – this figure is based on a rolling average as specified by DEFRA considering all UK generation sources both fossil and non-fossil derived as from Coal, Natural Gas, Fuel oil, Nuclear and Renewables. Therefore the APP Gasplasma process can be viewed as being a negative emission source in regard to a comparison to average electrical power generation from the UK national grid.GT: What are the further environmental benefits of using Advanced Plasma Power’s process?RS: The most notable benefits from the Gasplasma® process are the significant reductions in carbon emissions as compared with incineration or landfill. APP’s process is very efficient and it puts every output to use with very limited environmental impact. Furthermore the many applications ensure that the technology can be used in applications beyond waste to energy.The production of renewable fuels from waste will be important as will improvements in energy generation efficiency, which will allow a reduction in the cost of managing our waste and even make the mining of landfill sites for the recovery of material and fuels a reality. The sites would thereby be remediated and prevented from releasing further harmful emissions.Date Added: Oct 12, 2012
  • Researchers Find New Way To Make Materials Iridescent And Ultra Water ProofHave you ever looked at a peacock’s feathers, a butterfly’s wing or an oily puddle on the road and wondered why they have those shimmering, vibrant colors?Unlike the colors you see in spring grass, an animals’ fur or fading autumn leaves, these iridescent hues are not the result of pigmentation but rather of a naturally occurring phenomenon known as “structural color.” And while the royal azure of the male peacock’s feather may resemble the deep indigo of a ripe blueberry, the mechanisms that produce these colors are fundamentally different at the most basic level.According to a study published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania has found a new way to artificially recreate structural colors in a laboratory while also combining them with another highly useful physical property: the ability to strongly repel water known as “superhydrophobicity.”“A lot of research over the last 10 years has gone into trying to create structural colors like those found in nature, in things like butterfly wings and opals,” says Shu Yang, the team’s lead researcher. Yang is an associate professor at the university’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and a leading expert in the fields of biomaterials, polymers and nanostructured materials.Yang also says that a lot of research has been devoted in recent years to creating materials that exhibit superhydrophobicity, a characteristic which could have innumerable applications in both the industrial and domestic spheres. However, Yang’s research team has used a bit of outside-the-box thinking to become one of the few laboratories to successfully create a material that combines the properties of structural colors as well as those of superhydrophobicity.THE SCIENCE OF STRUCTURAL COLORS & SUPERHYDROPHOBICITYThe mechanisms that produce both structural colors and superhydrophobicity rely on the basic physical structure or geometry of a material rather than on its chemical properties.To understand how structural colors work and what makes them so unique, it helps to first remember how pigments – a more familiar form of coloration – work.At the molecular level, when light strikes a pigment, certain wavelengths of light are absorbed by the pigment’s electrons while other waves are simply reflected. Thus the colors that the human eye perceives are actually those wavelengths of light that weren’t absorbed by the pigment. When you look at a bowl of ripe blueberries or the petals of a violet, you’re essentially seeing the spectrum of light that was ‘rejected’ by a natural pigment called anthocyanin.In contrast to pigments, structural colors are the result of light interacting with tiny repeating patterns and structures on the surface of a material. As with pigments, these “microstructures” or “nanostructures” correspond with different wavelengths of light.Unlike pigments, however, these microstructures don’t create color by absorbing light of certain wavelengths. Instead, they interact and interfere with the path of the light rays, subjecting them to a variety of optical phenomena such as thin film interference, diffraction grating effects, multilayer interference, photonic crystal effects, and light scattering.In turn, these different types of optical phenomena cause light of particular wavelengths to be reflected through constructive and destructive interference which can intensify the color or give it that shimmery, iridescent quality.And since structural colors depend entirely on the arrangement of molecules on the nanoscale rather than on electronic absorption at the chemical level, a peacock feather or butterfly wing that is ground into a fine powder will not retain its color since the grinding process destroys these nanostructures.Like structural colors, a superhydrophobic surface – one that is extremely hard to make wet – also depends on the basic microstructure of the material. However, it relies on the roughness of a material at the nanoscale. Since water adheres best to flat surfaces where it can maximize contact area, “rough” surfaces make it difficult for water get “grip” and are thus water repellant.A LITTLE LAB MAGICIn attempts to create structurally colored surfaces that are also ultra water repellant, researchers have experimented with a variety of methods that involve different combinations of complex, intricate steps. These attempts have typically involved first creating the colored surface using 3D polymers. Once this basic foundation is laid which creates the structural color, they then use different techniques to attempt to “roughen” the surface and make it water repellant without damaging the delicate nanostructures that gives the surface its optical properties.Yang’s team, however, decided to take a creative new approach for creating both of the desired properties.First, they began with a technique known as holographic lithography which uses a laser to create a three-dimensional network of lattices on a synthetic material called photoresist. Those parts of the photoresist not exposed to the laser beam were then removed by washing the material in a solvent. This left “holes” in the unlasered areas which, in turn, gave the material the surface properties needed to produce its structural color.Then it was time to make the material super water repellant. Whereas most previous processes have used techniques known as nanoparticle assembling or plasma etching to create the desired roughness, Yang’s team was able was able to make the material’s surface rough by simply using a different solvent after the photoresist was removed.Yang explained that the secret was to use a poor solvent after the photoresist had been washed off. While good solvents try to maximize their contact with the material’s surface, poor solvents produce the exact opposite effect – a property that the researchers were able harness.“The good solvent causes the structure to swell,” explained Yang.“Once it has swollen, we put in the poor solvent. Because the polymer hates the poor solvent, it crunches in and shrivels, forming nanospheres within the 3D lattice.”The tiny nanospheres created by the poor solvent give the surface the roughness it needs to become superhydrophobic without disturbing the network of lattices that produce it’s structural color.“We found that the worse the solvent we used, the more rough we could make the structures,” Yang said.APPLICATIONSOne of the most urgent forces propelling the research and development of superhydrophobic materials is their potential to reduce energy consumption. Because all kinds of optical devices – from LCD’s to solar panels – rely on the efficient transmission of light through transparent surfaces, the ability to apply a water-repellent, self-cleaning coating to these surfaces could have a tremendous impact on the energy efficiency of countless electronic devicesYet while both researchers and industry leaders see a wide variety of practical applications for materials that exhibit both superhydrophobicity and structural color, Yang’s team has also embraced vision for this combination of properties that is at once aesthetic and pragmatic.“Specifically, we’re interested in putting this kind of material on the outside of buildings. The structural color we can produce is bright and highly decorative, and it won’t fade away like conventional pigmentation color dies. The introduction of nano-roughness will offer additional benefits, such as energy efficiency and environmental friendliness.”“It could be a high-end facade for the aesthetics alone, in addition to the appeal of its self-cleaning properties. We are also developing energy efficient building skins that will integrate such materials in optical sensors.”Yang’s research was supported by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation.redOrbit (http://s.tt/1qb0W)
  • New Design Competition Explores Wood as Green Material for Urban ConstructionTimber in the City Competition Challenges Young Architects to Design Mid-Rise, Mixed-Use ComplexBy Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture; Binational Softwood Lumber Council; Parsons The New School for DesignPublished: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 - 12:34 pmNEW YORK, Oct. 17, 2012 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Wood has been used as a building material for thousands of years, but when it comes to urban construction, American cities are predominantly steel and concrete. A new design competition, organized by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), the Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC), and Parsons The New School for Design seeks to change that mindset.(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121017/AQ95184)Timber in the City: Urban Habitats challenges architecture students and young professionals, working individually or in teams, to design a mid-rise, mixed-use complex for a site in the Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood of Red Hook, an industrial and residential area that is currently in flux, with a population of public housing residents and working artists and designers, and a number of new residential and commercial developments such as Ikea. With a focus on regenerating the urban manufacturing sector and addressing New York's housing needs, entrants are being tasked with incorporating affordable housing units; a bike sharing and repair shop; as well as a vocational, manufacturing and distribution center for the innovative use of wood technology."Timber is ideal for green building – it has a lower overall environmental and carbon footprint than other materials and is renewable," said Cees de Jager, executive director of BSLC. "Wood is well suited for a broad range of structural and aesthetic applications, is high performance, and, in many cases, is a more economical choice."Innovations in wood technologies are offering new opportunities for large-scale construction in this sustainable material. From long-span laminated beams to cross-laminated timber panels, wood has proven to be a safe and durable for urban settings. These systems are already being used in major cities around the world, from Europe to Australia and Canada. This includes such highly acclaimed projects as architect Andrew Waugh's Murray Grove in North London, the world's tallest residential building made of cross-laminated timber panels.Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/17/4919257/new-design-competition-explores.html#storylink=cpy
  • New Graphene-Cobalt Material Holds Potential to Replace Platinum in Fuel CellsPublished on October 18, 2012 at 8:54 AMThere's a new contender in the race to find an inexpensive alternative to platinum catalysts for use in hydrogen fuel cells.Picture: Nanoparticles of cobalt attach themselves to a graphene substrate in a single layer. As a catalyst, the cobalt-graphene combination was a little slower getting the oxygen reduction reaction going, but it reduced oxygen faster and lasted longer than platinum-based catalysts. (credit: Sun Lab/Brown University)Brown University chemist Shouheng Sun and his students have developed a new material — a graphene sheet covered by cobalt and cobalt-oxide nanoparticles — that can catalyze the oxygen reduction reaction nearly as well as platinum does and is substantially more durable.The new material "has the best reduction performance of any nonplatinum catalyst," said ShaojunGuo, postdoctoral researcher in Sun's lab and lead author of a paper published online in the journal AngewandteChemie International Edition.The oxygen reduction reaction occurs on the cathode side of a hydrogen fuel cell. Oxygen functions as an electron sink, stripping electrons from hydrogen fuel at the anode and creating the electrical pull that keeps the current running through electrical devices powered by the cell. "The reaction requires a catalyst, and platinum is currently the best one," said Sun. "But it's very expensive and has a very limited supply, and that's why you don't see a lot of fuel cell use aside from a few special purposes."Thus far scientists have been unable to develop a viable alternative. A few researchers, including Sun and Guo, have developed new catalysts that reduce the amount of platinum required, but an effective catalyst that uses no platinum at all remains elusive.This new graphene-cobalt material is the most promising candidate yet, the researchers say. It is the first catalyst not made from a precious metal that comes close to matching platinum's properties.Lab tests performed by Sun and his team showed that the new graphene-cobalt material was a bit slower than platinum in getting the oxygen reduction reaction started, but once the reaction was going, the new material actually reduced oxygen at a faster pace than platinum. The new catalyst also proved to be more stable, degrading much more slowly than platinum over time. After about 17 hours of testing, the graphene-cobalt catalyst was performing at around 70 percent of its initial capacity. The platinum catalyst the team tested performed at less than 60 percent after the same amount of time.Cobalt is an abundant metal, readily available at a fraction of what platinum costs. Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb structure. Developed in the last few years, graphene is renowned for its strength, electrical properties, and catalytic potential.Self-assembly processOften, graphene nanoparticle materials are made by growing nanoparticles directly on the graphene surface. But that process is problematic for making a catalyst, Sun said. "It's really difficult to control the size, shape, and composition of nanoparticles," he said.Sun and his team used a self-assembly method that gave them more control over the material's properties. First, they dispersed cobalt nanoparticles and graphene in separate solutions. The two solutions were then combined and pounded with sound waves to make sure they mixed thoroughly. That caused the nanoparticles to attach evenly to the graphene in a single layer, which maximizes the potential of each particle to be involved in the reaction. The material was then pulled out of solution using a centrifuge and dried. When exposed to air, outside layers of atomic cobalt on each nanoparticle are oxidized, forming a shell of cobalt-oxide that helps protect the cobalt core.The researchers could control the thickness of the cobalt-oxide shell by heating the material at 70 degrees Celsius for varying amounts of time. Heating it longer increased the thickness of the shell. This way, they could fine-tune the structure in search of a combination that gives top performance. In this case, they found that a 1-nanometer shell of cobalt-oxide optimized catalytic properties.Sun and his team are optimistic that with more study their material could one day be a suitable replacement for platinum catalysts. "Right now, it's comparable to platinum in an alkaline medium," Sun said, "but it's not ready for use yet. We still need to do more tests."Ultimately, Sun says, finding a suitable nonplatinum catalyst is the key to getting fuel cells out of the laboratory phase and into production as power sources for cars and other devices.Source: http://www.brown.edu
  • It starts with the latest carbon fiber technology that has been a by product of the development of the LF-LC concept. Lexus has developed extensive in-house technology that blends carbon fibre and aluminium alloy materials together in order to achieve a super light body for the LF-LC concept supercar. That lightweight body mass provides the perfect platform in which to introduce the next-generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system.Toyota calls the new system Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive. The new system uses an Atkinson cycle combustion engine which is coupled to an advanced high-energy battery pack. The new battery is different than the current generation Lexus hybrid range of vehicles and delivers greater power from a smaller battery. The combination of the concepts gas/electric powertrain produces an impressive 500 horsepower. which is more than any Lexus hybrid to date. The new LF-LC concept shows that hybrid technology doesn't have to be boring.The new concept features the latest technology inside as well with a glass roof, a remote touch screen, twin 12.3-inch LCD with navigation and a carbon fiber racing-style steering wheel. The new Lexus LF-LC Blue concept is “part concept, part reality”, but we know for sure that we are seeing the future of Lexus and it is an exciting future indeed.December last year. According to the announcement made today in Munich, the two auto giants signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will form a long-term strategic collaboration in four fields: joint development of a fuel cell system, joint development of architecture and components for a future sports vehicle, collaboration on powertrain electrification and joint research and development on lightweight technologies.While the announcement didn’t give specific details on the new future sports car that will come out of the partnership, we know that Akio Toyoda has a passion for racing and has made it clear that he wants Toyota to develop a supercar that will compete with the worlds fastest cars. When Toyoda took over three years ago, he infused his car company with a new spirit, and as a certified test driver for Germany's famed Nurburgring, Toyoda brought a racing passion to the company
  • LIVE AT LEEDSLEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification is an internationally-recognized third-party verification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to confirm that a building—or community, for that matter—was designed and constructed with the aim of improving energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions, indoor environmental quality, and intelligent resource management.For the new WTC complex to qualify for the LEED Gold Certification—the second highest attainable below Platinum status—it must meet a number of requirements, among which include achieving a Net Zero CO2 footprint for all base building electricity consumption and reduction of the complex's energy consumption to 20 percent below New York State's energy code requirements."The building [in this case, 1 World Trade Center] is designed to achieve a gold level certification. Which, for a project of its size, would be a first of its kind, Eduardo Del Valle, Director of Design Management at 1 World Trade Center, told us. "Now, there are some other projects in New York City that have achieved a Platinum certification, which is the highest—but not on this scale."ENERGY CONSERVATION AND PRODUCTIONOne means of achieving these goals is "Daylighting"—which thankfully involves neither Bruce Willis nor Cybill Shepherd. Instead, as Del Valle points out, "if enough daylight is coming into the window it automatically dims the interior lights. It's all about reducing energy consumption. Every space within 15 feet of the facade will be equipped with dimming devices."This practice not only benefits the WTC complex's energy consumption, but the occupants of the towers as well, increasing productivity and reducing the rate of minor illnesses, as well aspromoting bone health and increase the activity of natural killer cells simply by improving the quality of light. Because humans require exposure to UVB light in order to synthesize Vitamin D, the dimming of artificial lights and use of ultra-clear glass to allow more natural light in.When the sun isn't shining, the WTC complex employs hydrogen fuel cells to provide approximately 1.2 megawatts of power and steam turbines which, according to DelValle, "take the wasted steam that happens during steam generation and converts that into electricity."BREATHING EASIERDuring construction, the complex is requiring its contractors to use only ultra-low sulfur diesel fuels—a "clean diesel" that reduces nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions and is considered one of the cleanest (comparatively speaking) fuels available. This implementation is so effective that New York City and State now require that non-road construction equipment used on public construction projects by public agencies use ULSD. In addition, all construction vehicles are equipped with extra particulate filters to further reduce their impact. Finally, the materials used in the complex cannot include any Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)—a variety of chemicals that leach from building materials in gaseous form with both short- and long-term health effects.After construction is complete, Del Valle states that, to further improve indoor air quality, they're going to watch it like a cybernetic hawk:"CO2 monitors control ventilation and make the building healthier and improve indoor air quality. If the CO2 sensor sends a signal to the air handler software, telling it you need more fresh air in a certain space because there's more CO2 than there should be, it automatically increases the fresh air mix coming into that space. We have over 3,000 points of monitoring."In addition, the WTC will improve the air of the greater Manhattan Financial District by reducing the amount of vehicular traffic in the area by providing ample public transportation access and extensive facilities for bicycle commuters.HARVESTING THE RAINIt rains in New York City, on average, 60 inches a year—second only to Miami. Rather than simply let this precipitation run off the buildings and into storm drains, the WTC will collect and store that rain water for later use in its new high-efficiency evaporative cooling towers and for irrigating greenery within the 16-acre complex. (Since it hasn't been treated, the harvested rainwater cannot be used as a potable source.)WTC: River Water Pump Station:  Image Courtesy of WTC Progress / FlickrHARVESTING THE HUDSONNew York, as with most areas of the country outside of the confines of Northern California, requires significant air-conditioning service throughout the year. The occupants of the new WTC complex will stay frosty in even the muggiest of Autumnal weather thanks to the new and highly efficient 12,500-ton Central Chiller Plant (CCP) that uses water from the Hudson River to cool the WTC Transportation Hub, National September 11 Memorial and Museum, retail space and other non-commercial areas.FULL SIZELocated in the far Southwest corner of the complex—roughly in the same area as the previous plant—the CCP employs water extracted through the River Water Pump Station (RWPS), on the other side of the West Side Highway, to chill (and heat, during the Winter) water for distribution to the rest of the complex.It will circulate 30,000 gallons of river water every minute. That's enough to fill 750 bath tubs, flush 10,000 toilets, and cool the same amount as approximately 2,500 home air-conditioners."It uses the Hudson as a way of both dissipating heat and preheating water," Del Valle explained. "Because water below a certain depth is a pretty constant temperature (about 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit), so what happens is, during the winter it takes less energy to heat and circulate it, and conversely, in the summer it takes less to cool it."RECYCLING, REDUCING, REUSINGThe new World Trade Center is already 75 percent old. Everything from the gypsum boards to the ceiling tiles contains a minimum of 75 percent post-industrial recycled content. This reduces the environmental footprint, not only on-site, but reduces the stress on the natural resources and energy needed to produce them.At the same time, the WTC construction project recycles an incredible 80 percent of the waste generated at the site. According to Del Valle, "We've exceeded our original target by about 20 percent. The contractors have been really good, we've been watching and documenting how the material is recycled and sent back to the plants. It's really a cycle that's feeding on itself."Monster Machines is all about the most exceptional machines in the world, from massive gadgets of destruction to tiny machines of precision, and everything in between.A civilization can distinguish itself by how well it responds to disaster, and 10 years later, 9/11 is as much a story about recovery and rebuilding as it a story of terrible loss and tragedy. As a nation, our political and economic response has been imperfect—possibly even dead wrong—but we're focusing on the mechanical marvels that have helped us bounce back.
  • What Can Materials Engineers Do?

    1. 1. What can materialsengineers do? What can’t they do! david.taggart@belectric-usa.com
    2. 2. 1materials are our world…
    3. 3. 1934 2 standing on shoulders… 1962 175528,000 BC 1985 Wallace Carothers 2,500 BC 1938 Egyptians make glass beads Roy Plunkett discovers 60 atom carbon “buckyball”s non-stick polymer Teflon invents nylon, used break open 1970 Nick Holonyak produces modern new realm English invent whole in paleolithic humans fire first light emitting diode the next age: efficiency, concrete toothbrushes 2004materials figurines from clay of Corning engineers produce 1935 glassBC1750 Geckos and5,000 inspire enabling mussels fibers energy, reuse telecommunications and new family Louis Minsk creates British produce first of adhesives that internet explosion is Near Turkey, copper work equally well in dry or photoresist polymer,practical adhesive from extracted and cast 1856 1964 conditions wet fish opening floodgate enabling semiconductors 1958 Stephanie Kwolek 1986 Henry Bessemer invents creates polymer that 2,000 BCmassBacon creates1977 Roger production steel carbon filaments, Kevlar enables 1958 temperature High superconductors PersiansFirst syntheticof ushering in iron plastic is produce age Jack Kilby builds for Conductive organicgoing into invented advanced composites from ore integrated circuit on polymers billiard OLEDs enable balls slice of germanium
    4. 4. 3trends and breakthroughs…performancedesignenergyhealthenvironment
    5. 5. 3trends and breakthroughs…performance
    6. 6. fusion of materials and performancePeter Jost: Tribology, 1964hip sockets, earthquakesincorporating today’sadvances could improveautomotive efficiency 60% $700B savings annually 102B gallons of gas annually 960M tons of CO2 annuallywhere else?
    7. 7. fusion of materials and performance787 Dreamlinercarbon compositestructure with healthmonitoring20% less fuelMach 0.85higher pressure andhumidity interior
    8. 8. fusion of materials and performancetwisting light beams enables100TB/sec internet speeds (2,600DVDs per second!)light is bounced off liquid crystals
    9. 9. 3trends and breakthroughs…design
    10. 10. fusion of materials wood and design bike design! cardboardplastic hemp nylonmagnesium bamboo
    11. 11. fusion of materials and design54 ½ mpg by 2025lightweighting is THEprimary strategymass-efficiencyhigh strength steel,aluminum, andcarbon composites
    12. 12. fusion of materials and designnew generation ofultra-high lift airshipstransport up to 1000tons of cargo 12,000milesefficiency, range,durationsurveillance andcommunications
    13. 13. fusion of materials and designmulti-functionalitywhole systemsthinkinginterdependentdesign, materials, USS Zumwaltand production X-47B
    14. 14. 3trends and breakthroughs…energy
    15. 15. fusion of materials and energyMOFssurface area: footballfields per gramtransforming gasstorage, waterfiltration, and ?new technique forproduction of MOFs:mechanochemistry
    16. 16. fusion of materials and energytransparentsolar cellabsorbs only IRlightsilver nanowires+ TiO2 coatingembedded inpolymer
    17. 17. fusion of materials and energysunlight to hydrogen: bottling the Sunpolymeric carbon nitride
    18. 18. fusion of materials and energygeneticallyengineered virusself-assemblesinto thin filmhelical piezoproteins twistupon pressurecreatingelectrical charge
    19. 19. 3trends and breakthroughs…health
    20. 20. fusion of materials and healthnanobots to the rescue!DNA origami
    21. 21. fusion of materials and healthdragline spider-silk proteinsfrom transgenicgoatsbraided intofilaments 100xas strong and aselastic asligaments andtendons
    22. 22. fusion of materials and healthreplacement skinwith sensation forprosthetics andgraftsthin flexible circuitsconvert pressureinto signalsgels for moldablebatteries, rubbersensors
    23. 23. fusion of materials and healthSLIPS: Inspired byNepenthes pitcher plantself-healing/cleaningand can repel almostanythingbacterial infections inhospitals kill 100,000annuallywhat else?
    24. 24. 3trends and breakthroughs…environment
    25. 25. fusion of materials and the environmentheat conducting polymers providebreakthrough for the scarce supplyof drinking water
    26. 26. fusion of materials and the environmentwood-plasticcomposites (WPCs)fastest growingconstruction materialdesign freedomlow maintenancehigh durabilityresistance to pests
    27. 27. fusion of materials and the environmentturning sewage intosustainable and useful rawmaterials for the plasticsindustrysaves energyreduces impact
    28. 28. fusion of materials and the environmentLevis fromplastic bottles3.5M bottlesannuallyEco-fi, Patagoniaand REKIXX andmany others
    29. 29. fusion of materials and the environmentmining monitors for precious metals3M tons of waste annually, 86%incinerated or to landfills
    30. 30. 4 what can’t you do?remove your filterexplorelisten to yourselfinventdo something youlove… that makes adifference
    31. 31. 5 plant seeds…be a leaderbe a shouldertouch pointsshare you!
    32. 32. 6thank you!
    33. 33. 7more examples…
    34. 34. 3trends and breakthroughs…performance
    35. 35. fusion of materials and performanceinspired byconch shellsceramic crystalsstacked withintough substrate10x increase intoughnessincredible armor
    36. 36. fusion of materials and performanceCeramic matrixcomposites arethe key to abreakthrough inpropulsion
    37. 37. fusion of materials and performancespintronicsbinary architecturebased on electronspinmultiplies storagespeed and density,greatly reducesdevice size usingless materials andimproving efficiency
    38. 38. fusion of materials and performancechanging material’sdynamics remotelynetwork of graphenenano-platelets
    39. 39. fusion of materials and performance"The materials arestill the long polein the tent”
    40. 40. 3trends and breakthroughs…design
    41. 41. fusion of materials and designself-healing devicesmore information andcircuitry is being ICsreliability becomes apriority due to single pointfailures from thermal andmechanical fatiguesustaining growth requiresresilience
    42. 42. 3trends and breakthroughs…energy
    43. 43. fusion of materials and energySolid waste to energytechnologies
    44. 44. 3trends and breakthroughs…health
    45. 45. fusion of materials and healthstructural colorsuperhydrophobicity
    46. 46. 3trends and breakthroughs…environment
    47. 47. fusion of materials and the environmentwood is the newgreen
    48. 48. 3trends and breakthroughs…other
    49. 49. fusion of materials and transportationenergy storagebreakthroughs
    50. 50. fusion of materials and transportationGraphene-cobaltmaterials
    51. 51. fusion of materials and transportation"The”
    52. 52. fusion of materials and architectureSustainable andenergy efficientarchitecture