Archive for September 2011
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You are browsing the archives of 2011 September.
The ACerS Nuclear & Environmental Technology Division wants to invite all MS&T’11 attendees to join them for several NETD-related events for the big meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
NETD has assembled a very strong technical program for this year’s conference. Two symposia covering a range of technical topics that are likely to be of particular interest to NETD members are scheduled, with presentations from industry, government and academic experts.
Details of the sessions are below, and the complete list of presentations may be found at the MS&T’11 homepage.
Materials Science Challenges for Nuclear Applications:
Monday Oct. 17, 2011
Ion Irradiation Effects – 2:00 p.m.
Defects in Irradiated Alloys – 3:40 p.m.
Tuesday Oct. 18, 2011
Simulation of Reactor Materials – 8:00 a.m.
Defects and Diffusion in Materials – 0:00 a.m.
Nanostructured Materials – 2:00 p.m.
Microstructure Evolution – 3:20 p.m.
Wednesday Oct. 19, 2011
Nuclear Fuels - 8:00 a.m.
Materials Degradation - 2:00 p.m.
Thusday Oct. 20, 2011
High Temperature Materials - 8:00 a.m.
Materials for Nuclear Waste Disposal and Environmental Cleanup
Wednesday Oct. 19, 2011
Waste Forms for Nuclear Disposition - 2:00 p.m.
Processing and Characterization of Salts for Nuclear Waste Disposal - 4:00 p.m.
Thursday Oct. 20, 2011
Materials and Processes for Nuclear Materials Storage and Handling - 8:00 a.m.
Vitrification and Glass Characterization for Nuclear Materials Disposal - 2:00 p.m.
In addition, attendees are invited join the NETD leadership for our annual Division meetings during the conference:
NETD Executive Committee Meeting: Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 2:30-4:30 p.m.; Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel, Room 31
NETD Annual Business Meeting: Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, 5:45-6:45 p.m.; Greater Columbus Convention Center, Room C221
Finally, on behalf of the NETD, Division Chair Alex Cozzi (SRNL) sends word about the winner of this year’s D.T. Rankin Award and plus the names of the winners of the student stipend awards.
NETD has selected John Marra as the winner of the Rankin Award for MS&T’11, which recognizes a member of the division who has demonstrated exemplary service. Marra served as chair of the NETD in 1994-1995 and as trustee from 1997-2000. The D.T. Rankin Award will be presented at the NETD Annual Business Meeting at MS&T’11.
Cozzi reports that the winners of the student travel stipend awards (for MS&T’11) are:
Steven Hsieh, University of Washington;
Kathlene Lindley, Iowa State University
Ashish Singh, Oklahoma State University
Blake Whitley, University of Alabama
The winning students have been asked to attend the NETD General Business Meeting at MS&T’11 (see above), where they will be introduced to division members and awarded the stipends.
Conceptually, lithium-ion batteries are simple devices comprising the anode, cathode and electrolyte. The anode’s job is to grab and stash lithium ions as fast as it can and to give them up speedily when current is drawn off through the cathode. The anode needs to be able to withstand repeated charge-discharge cycles, or to just hold onto the charge without leaking until it’s needed, like in a car battery.
Even though lithium ions are tiny, lots of them are stored, which can eventually swell the anode and lead to failure. Thus, the search for anodes with large-charge storage capacities and the ability to discharge quickly is a high priority.
Two papers recently published in Advanced Materials investigate new anode materials from very different materials categories and with completely different charge storage mechanisms.
First, out of Oak Ridge National Lab, a team led by Hansan Liu, Gilbert Brown and Parans Paranthaman investigated TiO2-B (or TiO2(B)) the nomenclature for so-called titania bronze, which is the monoclinic polymorph of titania. (The common polymorphs of anatase and rutile are tetragonal.)
The group synthesized micrometer-sized spherical particles with mesoporous morphology. The open network of channels and pores with sizes in the 10-15 nm range, allows lithium to intercalate in the TiO2-B structure by a pseudocapacitve process, rather than solid state diffusion one. The mesoporous structure is evenly distributed on the surface as well as through the bulk of the particles, which means that the electrolyte has good contact with the anode. Also, the grains in the microspheres are nanosize, which allows for easy electronic transport along the grain boundaries.
The microsphere morphology is good for fabricating compact, uniform electrode layers because of the spheres’ high packing density and particle mobility. However, the microsphere synthesis process is complicated, so challenges remain to be resolved in scaling up the process.
Electrochemical tests showed that the TiO2-B, at low current rates, displays a high discharge capacity: It’s a whopping 93 percent of theoretical capacity, compared to only about 70 percent for anatase nanopowders. The authors remark in the paper, “At high current rates, the difference of reversible capacity between the two materials is even more remarkable.” They report that during high rates of charge-discharge, the capacity of anatase nanopowders is determined by double layer capacitance. The pseudocapacitance behavior of TiO2-B, however, allows the material to maintain large capacities at high charge-discharge rates.
In an ORNL press release, Liu says, “We can charge our battery to 50 percent of full capacity in six minutes while the traditional graphite-based lithium-ion battery would be just 10 percent charged at the same current.” This improved charging and discharging, according to the release, “combined with the fact oxide materials are extremely safe and long-lasting alternatives to commercial graphite make it well-suited for hybrid electric vehicles and other high-power applications.”
In a test of 5,000 charge-discharge cycles, TiO2-B demonstrated a capacity loss of only 10 percent. According to the paper, “The superior cycling performance can be attributed to the structure stability of TiO2-B polymorph and the good accommodation to volume/strain changes of mesoporous structure during lithium insertion-extraction.”
The paper proposes that a TiO2-B microsphere anode coupled with a cathode capable of handling high charge rages, such as some LiFePO4 materials, could provide the basis for a long lifetime, rechargeable battery for high power applications.
The paper is “Mesoporous TiO2-B Microspheres with Superior Rate Performance for Lithium-Ion Batteries,” Liu et al., Advanced Materials (doi: 10:1002/adma20110599).
Coincidentally, a group at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab also published an article about a new material for lithium battery anodes.
This group studied a particulate composite composed of a polyfluorene-based conducting polymer matrix and silicon. They found that incorporating a carbonyl functional group in the PF improved the performance of the anode, increasing the electrical conductivity and assisting with electron and ion transport to the silicon particles. According to the press release, “the polymer is itself conductive and continues to bind tightly to the silicon particles despite repeated swelling and shrinking.”
The group also says that the polymer composite anodes are economical and “the manufacturing process is … compatible with established manufacturing technologies.”
See “Polymers with Tailored Electronic Structure for High-Capacity Lithium Battery Electrodes,” Liu et al., Advanced Materials (doi:10.1002/adma.201102421).
The new online version of The American Ceramic Society’s ceramicSOURCE directory has been well received and is constantly available for new entries and updating. However, if you or your company wants to be listed in the print version of the directory (in the December issue of the Bulletin) you only have until Oct. 1, 2011, to get your information in there, or check and/or update the information already there.
Hundreds of consultants, suppliers, manufacturers, labs and schools have already added or edited their free account information. If you haven’t done it yet, with the deadline only days away, I urge you to do create or update your account information as soon as possible.
If you have an account, just log in to your account and make the changes you need. (If you forgot your password or don’t recall if you have an account, just follow the instructions.)
If you do not have an account, getting one is easy to do online and, as I note above, it is free to do so. If you want to create an account, start here.
Here are some of the recent new or updated listings:
National Magnetics Group Inc. • AdTech Ceramics
Huntsman Corp./Performance Products • Lakeside Pottery Ceramic School & Studio
Quantachrome Instruments • AbNat Ltd.
Hains Technology Assocs. • APF Recycling Inc.
Basic Resources • A123 Systems Inc.
Morgan Am&T • ANH Refractories Co.
Advanced Materials Associates • CW Brabender Instruments Inc.
Sonya Ceramics • Israel Ceramic & Silicate Institute
Blastcrete Equipment Co. • Fritsch GmbH
AACCM • Alstom Grid Research & Technology
Cristal Global Inc. • ER Advanced Ceramics
Gateway Materials Technology • Korea Instute of Industrial Technology
Ferrotec Ceramic Products • Tri-Mer Corp
Centerline Technologies • Saint-Gobain Ceramic Materials
ATS Rheosystems • Lippert
Mixer Systems Inc. • CerCo LLC
SGCD • Dynamic Exim Corp
Ceramaterials • EWI
Ceramitec • Swindell Dressler International
That’s a nice neighborhood to be in. Don’t miss out on this free opportunity. Remember: The deadline for the print version is Oct. 1, 2011. Questions? Contact Pat Janeway (pjaneway “at” ceramics.org).
Check ‘em out:
Apparently the beginning of this effort was announced at a conference last month, but I recently learned (h/t TPMIdeaLab) that the Army is making a major step to energy independence — and “enhanced” energy security — with a 10-year, $7.1 billion “investment” in a portfolio of large-scale alternative or renewable energy installations. This effort is expected to create an infrastructure that has an annual power capacity of 2.1 million megawatt hours.
To guide the work, the Army has created an Energy Initiatives Office and EIO Task Force (assuming it met its goal to be operational by Sept. 15).
The EIO Task Force will work within the Army to streamline existing acquisition processes and leverage industry for the execution of large-scale renewable and alternative energy projects on Army installations. Army installations currently are pursuing renewable energy infrastructure, but often lack needed expertise. The EIO Task Force will fill this expertise gap and provide resources focused on working with the private sector to execute large-scale renewable energy projects. This is expected to result in increased interest by project developers and improved financial options for the Army.
Rather than actually build its own facilities, the energy initiative looks like it is primarily going to take the form of developing long-term contracts with private companies, which would shoulder the actual capital investments. In a news conference, Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations environment and energy, said, “What we are doing is leveraging the authorities given by Congress, and have identified that the Army is looking for about $7 billion of private sector investment on Army installations,” Hammack said. The price tag is basically an estimate of what it will take in private investments for the Army to reach its goal of 25 percent renewables by 2025.”
As the EIO website emphatically notes, “We’ve got the land and the demand!”
Regarding the task force and its responsibilities, Hammack said the group is composed of “focused individuals whose primary task is to work with the private sector to develop these kind of renewable and alternative energy projects. …To attract the private investments, we need to have biddable projects - we have to do our homework. We have to do our due diligence to make sure these projects have the appropriate information, facts and background that is necessary for a developer and for the finance community to invest in.”
Hammack also said the idea for the Army-private sector projects is that they would be “ focused entirely on [the continental United States] and large-scale renewable, almost utility-scale renewable projects that would offset all or part of the energy needs of a permanent installation. When we are looking at projects, we are looking at about the 10-megawatt size, plus or minus a little bit. Or it could be larger. We are looking at large-scale renewable energy projects, on Army installations.”
I suspect Hammack is trying to get in front of slew of separate base proposals and bring some uniformity, expertise, leveraging power and approval speed that otherwise wouldn’t be available. The Army currently has 126 ongoing renewable energy projects.
“We have great individuals at our garrisons who are working hard to advance this, but the energy initiatives task force will be staffed with experts in finance, renewable technologies, project management, and work in concert with the garrisons to expedite these projects so they can be executed in appropriate time frames,” Hammack said.
Secretary of the Army John McHugh said in August, “What we are looking toward is a better partnership and an infusion quite frankly of private-sector investments where it would be a win-win situation.” He indicated the developers would also be free to sell excess electricity to non-Army customers.
This effort is part of the Army’s previously announced Net Zero program, which was unveiled in April as an energy-conserving program for bases to only use as much energy and water as they create or recycle by 2020. The Army signed a memorandum of agreement for an enhanced-use lease to begin development of a 500-megawatt solar power facility at Ft. Irwin, Calif., and Ft. Bliss (El Paso, Texas) has announced that the base is planning on building a 20-megawatt solar facility, and was trying to lure a $1.5 billion private sector investment. It’s not clear how the Ft. Irwin or Ft. Bliss plans fits in with the new announcement.
The task force has announced plans for an Oct. 27, 2011, “industry day” at Ft. Bliss, plus a task force “summit” Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C.