Published on June 14th, 2013 | Edited by: Peter Wray0
Ceramics and glass business news of the weekPublished on June 14th, 2013 | Edited by: Peter Wray
Owens Corning introduced a new glass-based solution for construction, transportation and pipe rehabilitation during the Techtextil trade show in Frankfurt. The neew Sustaina is a surfacing and reinforcing glass non-woven solution for residential and commercial building applications. This new technology helps meet Europe’s legislatve requirements on indoor air quality (IAQ) in product-applications, supporting customers as they move towards more sustainable solutions. The product contains a bio-based, formaldehyde-free binder system and delivers higher tensile strength performance versus traditional products.
Kyocera Corp. announced that it has donated solar power generating systems to four secondary schools in Tanzania and three primary schools in Uganda. Donation ceremonies were held at the schools in Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and Bushenyi (Uganda), in which the company conveyed hopes for the solar systems to help improve the schools’ infrastructure and contribute to the students’ educational development. The installations are part of larger donation projects that have been ongoing since 2009, in which Kyocera has been providing solar power generating systems to schools in Tanzania and Uganda that have no access to the electricity grid. The five-year projects consist of 600-watt solar power generating systems for 35 schools in total, each with storage batteries as well as basic equipment such as lamps, TV sets and radios ― lighting up the classrooms and diversifying learning activities for the students. Furthermore, the solar systems are occasionally used as an electricity source for the people of the community to charge their mobile devices. With additional installations at seven schools in the last fiscal year, donations have already been made to a total of 28 schools, with seven more to follow by March 2014.
Innovnano, an expert manufacturer of high performance ceramic powder, has developed 3 mol % yttria stabilised zirconia powder (3YSZ)—an advanced technical ceramic with medical device applications. Thanks to a uniform nanostructure and formation of a high stability phase under pressure, Innovnano’s 3YSZ combines extreme component strength and fracture-resistance with enhanced biocompatibility, making it the ideal ceramic material for extended-life orthopaedic implants, particularly knee and hip replacements. Innovnano’s 3YSZ is manufactured using the company’s patented Emulsion Detonation Synthesis technology, producing a highly pure, nanostructured ceramic powder with desirable homogeneity and an even distribution of yttria. Stemming from the powders’ nanostructure, the 3YSZ can be sintered at lower temperatures, to keep grain size to a minimum. The resulting high-density ceramic provides excellent mechanical performance and exceptional bending strength—an essential property for orthopedic implants which are put under constant mechanical stresses and strains. Furthermore, thanks to the small grain size, the 3YSZ ceramic shows enhanced material stability and, in turn, increased resistance to hydrothermal aging.
Global electronic components distributor Digi-Key Corporation, the industry leader in electronic component selection, availability and delivery, and American Technical Ceramics (ATC), today announced the two companies have signed a global distribution agreement. “ATC is very excited to have our leading edge RF components available to the customer base served by Digi-Key,” says Steve Rabe, vice president of sales and marketing at ATC. “Our products will now be available to provide solutions to the fast growing RF market.” For over 40 years, ATC has designed, developed, manufactured, and marketed multilayer capacitors, single layer capacitors, resistive products, inductors and custom thin-film products for RF, microwave, and millimeter-wave applications. Their products are primarily focused on the wireless communications infrastructure, fiber optic, medical electronics, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, defense, aerospace, and satellite communications markets. The global distribution agreement with Digi-Key includes products from ATC’s 800, 550, and 600 series capacitor lines. “American Technical Ceramics has continued to innovate throughout their long and successful history and are a welcome addition to our broad line card. We are pleased to partner with ATC and look forward to the mutual growth resulting from this partnership,” notes Tom Busher, a vice president at Digi-Key.
Lithium (Li-ion) batteries used to power plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles show overall promise to “fuel” these vehicles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but there are areas for improvement to reduce possible environmental and public health impacts, according to a “cradle to grave” study of advanced Li-ion batteries recently completed by Abt Associates for the Environmental Protection Agency. “While Li-ion batteries for electric vehicles are definitely a step in the right direction from traditional gasoline-fueled vehicles and nickel metal-hydride automotive batteries, some of the materials and methods used to manufacture them could be improved,” says Jay Smith, an Abt senior analyst and co-lead of the life-cycle assessment. Smith said, for example, the study showed that the batteries that use cathodes with nickel and cobalt, as well as solvent-based electrode processing, show the highest potential for certain environmental and human health impacts. The environmental impacts, Smith explained, include resource depletion, global warming, and ecological toxicity—primarily resulting from the production, processing and use of cobalt and nickel metal compounds, which can cause adverse respiratory, pulmonary and neurological effects in those exposed. There are viable ways to reduce these impacts, he said, including cathode material substitution, solvent-less electrode processing and recycling of metals from the batteries. The study, carried out through a partnership with EPA, DOE, the Li-ion battery industry, and academicians, is the first life-cycle assessment to bring together and use data directly provided by Li-ion battery suppliers, manufacturers, and recyclers.
Rio Tinto has reached a binding agreement to sell its Eagle project to Lundin Mining Corp. for an estimated $325 million in cash. This transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013 and is subject to regulatory approval. The Eagle project in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the United States includes a high-grade underground nickel-copper mine and mill. Construction commenced in June 2010 and is approximately 55 per cent complete. Chris Lynch, chief financial officer of Rio Tinto says, “The sale of Eagle demonstrates our renewed focus and discipline in the way we allocate capital. We are making good progress on a number of other potential divestments as part of our goal to achieve substantial proceeds from divesting non-core assets. We believe Eagle will have a sound future under its new ownership given Lundin’s commitment to the development of the project. Rio Tinto will continue to manage Eagle to the highest safety and environmental standards during the transition to the new owner.”
PPG Industries’ fiber glass business is helping its customer Ershigs support the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine in US waters, deployed May 31 near Brewer, Maine, by the University of Maine as leader of the DeepCwind Consortium. The approximately 65-feet tall wind turbine prototype includes a tower Ershigs constructed using a fiber glass-reinforced composite material—a first for a wind energy installation, according to Kevin McDonald, PPG general manager fiber glass reinforcements. The prototype turbine, called VolturnUS 1:8, is part of a program aimed at reducing the cost of offshore wind energy to compete better with other forms of electricity generation. It is one-eighth the scale of the 6-megawatt VolturnUS offshore floating wind turbine the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center plans to launch in the coming years, McDonald said, and it will enable project participants to validate and improve technologies used in this application, such as the strong, lightweight and corrosion-resistant composite material comprising the tower.
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