Archive for December 8th, 2011
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Graphene’s star is rising as a material that could become essential to efficient, environmentally sound oil production. Rice University researchers are taking advantage of graphene’s outstanding strength, light weight and solubility to enhance fluids used to drill oil wells. The Rice University lab of chemist James Tour and scientists at M-I SWACO, a Texas-based supplier of drilling fluids and subsidiary of oil-services provider Schlumberger, have produced functionalized graphene oxide to alleviate the clogging of oil-producing pores in newly drilled wells. The patented technique took a step closer to commercialization with the publication of new research this month in the American Chemical Society journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.
Researchers from Purdue and Harvard universities have created a new type of transistor made from a material that could replace silicon and have a 3-D structure instead of conventional flat computer chips. The approach could enable engineers to build faster, more compact and efficient integrated circuits and lighter laptops that generate less heat than today’s. The transistors contain tiny nanowires made not of silicon, like conventional transistors, but from a material called indium-gallium-arsenide. The device was created using a so-called “top-down” method, which is akin to industrial processes to precisely etch and position components in transistors. Because the approach is compatible with conventional manufacturing processes, it is promising for adoption by industry, said Peide “Peter” Ye, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue.
US Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) hailed the passage of an amendment they sponsored to close loopholes that put American manufacturers of solar technology at a disadvantage to foreign competitors. The Buy American Solar Amendment, which passed as part of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, will ensure that “Buy American” requirements apply to all photovoltaic (solar) devices that supply power Department of Defense property or facilities. The amendment was also cosponsored by Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
No electric car has ever caught fire under real-world conditions, but the battery packs of two Chevy Volts have in test crashes. The controversy that followed could have been predicted, unfortunately. For all our talk of embracing innovation, there is always someone ready to declare that the growing pains of disruptive new technologies are in fact their death knell.
Suntech Power is the world’s largest maker of solar cells and panels. It reached this position through a combination of clever advances in manufacturing equipment with judicious use of cheap labor, a strategy apparent when Technology Review took a tour of the company’s factories this fall.
Want your research to be highly visible and remembered long after the conference ends?
Then, think about presenting your research and technology in a new and innovative approach to poster sessions—the Interactive Technology Forum—at ICC4.
“The ICC Interactive Technology Forum will be much more than a 21st Century poster session. With LCD displays, tablets, and laptops for displaying simulations and 3D visualizations, we expect to provide a richer experience for presenters and participants alike,” says Katherine Faber, meeting organizer and professor at Northwestern University.
Soon to be gone are the days of plain posters tacked up on bulletin boards. The wave of the future will be interactive multimedia presentations. Companies and institutions already use a technology-incorporated format for presentations. More and more, traditional presentations are morphing into a multi-media enriched format with a hands-on approach.
Chris Dosch, materials scientist at GE Global research, explains how multimedia presentations were a success at this year’s (internal) GE TechFest.
“In order to showcase the work being done here at GE’s Global Research Center in a more creative and contemporary way, traditional poster presentations were discouraged this year at our internal TechFest. It was an overwhelming success. The key was getting viewers to interact with your display. Instead of wandering around an exhibit hall skimming posters, people were fully engaged in the presentations. In all presentations, the increased engagement resulted in more interest/understanding which in turn led to many fruitful discussions which may not have occurred if a poster on the same topic had not peaked someone’s interest as they walked past.”
Not everyone has used this form of poster presentation but many are excited about trying it out.
“If the general audience (at ICC4) is anything like me, they don’t read the poster top-down from the abstract to the conclusions. The interactive technology presentations give the presenter the opportunity to lead the discussion by controlling the sequence of the delivery and therefore receive more focused feedback from their audience,” says Michelene Hall, founder, Excelerant Ceramics.
The International Congress on Ceramics will be held July 15-19, 2012 in Chicago. To learn more about this dynamic meeting, visit the ICC4 homepage
Following last year’s successful Pacific Rim Engineering Ceramics Summit, The ACerS Engineering Ceramics Division has organized a transatlantic European Union-USA Ceramics Summit for the upcoming 36th International Conference on Advanced Ceramics and Composites (36th ICACC), Jan. 22-27, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
According to organizers of the summit, there has been major progress in the R&D and commercialization of engineered ceramics over the last 50 years in Europe and the US. Seminal contributions have led to the engineering of ceramics with multifunctional properties and broad applications in energy, aerospace, healthcare, communication, infrastructure, transportation, environmental, and other industries. As a result, the living standards and quality of life have been raised for people worldwide.
The goal of the EU-USA Summit is to provide a forum for the information exchange on current status and emerging trends in innovative ceramic technologies and to identify strategic elements and new materials technology pathways for a sustainable future.
The session runs Monday afternoon and all day Tuesday (Jan. 23-24) in Coquina Salon F (Hilton). Two of the 25 presentations from this Summit are highlighted below.
“Innovations in bioactive ceramics and glasses for tissue engineering, drug delivery and regenerative medicine”
Speaker, Aldo Boccaccini, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
Abstract: Beyond the well-established and expanding applications of bioceramics in medicine, e.g. as permanent implants and bioactive coatings, there is increasing interest in developing bioactive ceramics and glasses and their composites with biodegradable polymers, for applications in the fields of tissue engineering and drug delivery. Specific innovations involving the design and fabrication of multifunctional scaffolds that combine a variety of biodegradable polymers, signaling molecules, therapeutic drugs and bioactive ceramics will be presented. In this context, significant efforts are being devoted to investigating the effect of the dissolution products of bioactive glasses, both silicate and phosphate glasses, on cellular response, which includes understanding the effect of specific metallic ions (bioinorganics) on osteogenesis and angiogenesis during bone formation, both in vitro and in vivo. In addition, gaining further understanding of the antibacterial effect of specific ions released from bioactive glasses for combating infections more effectively is of particular interest. Specific research areas attracting large research efforts will be presented and promising avenues for future research activities will be discussed, highlighting the current needs and challenges for improving the overall performance of bioactive ceramics in tissue engineering and drug delivery.
“New ceramic membranes for energy- and environmental applications”
Speaker: Alexander Michaelis, Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS, Germany
Abstract: Ceramic membranes are well established for micro-, ultra- or nano- filtration applications such as waste water purification. Further innovations require an improved control and reduction of pore size. This allows for new applications in gas separation and pervaporation systems. For this, pores sizes below 1 nm have to be generated using specific structural features of selected materials. Several new methods for preparation of such membranes are presented. In a first example we use the well know crystallographic cage structure of zeolites. Employing a new hydrothermal route allows for synthesis of dense zeolite films on porous substrates. It is shown that these membranes can be used for dewatering of bioethanol. In a further example we use carbon layers with well-defined lattice distances of 0.35 nm as a membrane for separation of hydrogen from gas mixtures. By further chemical modification of these carbon layers a well-designed adsorption selective behavior can be achieved as is demonstrated with membranes for purification of biogas. As a last example we present perovskite materials showing mixed conducting behavior. Due to an oxygen vacancy structure in the crystal lattice these materials can be used to generate oxygen which in turn can be used to improve the efficiency of combustion processes. Besides an improved energy balance in the combustion process this leads to reduction of CO2 emissions.