Morgan Advanced Materials announces that it will be showcasing a broad range of its products for the oil and gas production and exploration industries at the 2013 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas. Morgan will be displaying a wide range of products and solutions, including fire protection, brazed assemblies, piezoelectric ceramic components, CVD Diamond and DLC coatings, and carbon and silicon carbide seals and bearings. The group’s new FireMaster Rigid Enclosure System will be on display. The system uses high-efficiency insulation materials providing a robust, weather protective enclosure solution for all equipment requiring jet fire protection, especially those with very low critical temperature limits. Also on display will be a variety of materials ideal for ceramic liner sleeves in large diameter tubes used in downhole drilling. Morgan’s alumina and Halsic-R recrystallized silicon carbide materials are ideally suited for highly demanding and harsh wear applications. Halsic-R features high thermal conductivity, thermal shock resistance, and good mechanical strength at high temperatures. While Morgan’s Alsint 997 alumina material provides good mechanical strength and electrical resistivity, operates at high temperatures, and is resistant to chemical attack.
Did you choose a technical study or have you worked in the high-tech industry in Twente or abroad? Do not miss the event ‘High-tech future for women in Twente’ on Tuesday, May 14 in Rabotheater Hengelo, Netherlands. This special event is organized by high-tech companies PANalytical, DEMCON and Thales. It will be a day entirely devoted to the high-tech woman. Together we discuss the many opportunities and challenges we face in the technical world and it will be a day full of inspiring speakers, stimulating debates and surprising twists. Watch a short video of whom you might meet on May 14.
Resodyn Acoustic Mixers has announced the dates for a demonstrations of their line of innovative industrial mixers. Demonstration appointments are available from May 13 though 24 in Minnesota, Illinois, and Texas pharmaceutical, technical, research, and industrial corridors. Resodyn manufactures noninvasive mixers for processing and materials applications in both production and laboratory environments. Demonstrating substantively faster mixing times and exceptionally high levels quality and dispersion, Resodyn sales engineers’ appointments include on-site prrof of technology uses both generic and customer-supplied materials. Demonstration reservations can be made by emailing.
A bauxite processing facility picked Izory zirconia ceramic trunnion bushings for use in high-temperature trunnion mounted ball valves to improve their longevity. Two years ago, a Texas valve company contacted Refractron to discuss the possibility of making Izory ceramic bushings for high temperature trunnion mounted valves used in the processing of bauxite materials. This valve company manufactures a variety of valves for controlling various fluids in many severe service applications. The valves range in size from ½” to 60″ in diameter. Typical application industries are power generation, oil and gas, refining, chemicals, pulp and paper, gasification, synfuels, mining, steam, and more. For our client, the application required a trunnion bushing that could withstand continuous use at 1,200ºF. The application had very little thermal shock, but had consistent high temperatures. At 1,200ºF, trunnion bushings made of polymer-based materials fatigue and wear; metal trunnion bushings fatigue, corrode, and wear. When the bushings made of polymers and metals suffer failure, it reduces or even stops the ability to open and close the valve properly. This valve failure would cause delays in the manufacturing process, and has the potential to cause injury to people in the area if the valve would crack or break. Trunnion bushings made with Izory Zirconia ceramic have no issue handling the high temperature, corrosion, or wear. Also, the coefficient of thermal expansion of Izory Zirconia ceramic for the trunnion bushing was very close to the expansion rate of the metal trunnion and the mating metal valve housing.
DePuy Orthopedics Inc. announced that the FDA has granted premarket supplement approval for its Ceramax Total Hip System with Biolox delta ceramic-on-ceramic 36-mm large femoral head. According to a company press release, this premarket supplement approval for the 36-mm size follows the initial PMA approval of the Ceramax Hip 28-mm size in 2010. With the launch of the Ceramax System this summer, the company’s Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System will offer the only FDA approved ceramic-on-ceramic bearing surface with Biolox delta femoral head, a next generation nanocomposite ceramic material with high strength and toughness. The Ceramax Hip System expands the Pinnacle Hip Solutions portfolio of high performance instruments, advanced implants, materials and solutions designed to provide surgeons flexibility in techniques and procedures and provide pain relief and a smooth range of motion for patients. In a clinical study of 264 patients who required hip replacement surgery for non-inflammatory degenerative joint disease, the researchers found no significant differences between the Ceramax System to a ceramic-on-polyethylene hip replacement in adverse events or survivorship. Patients also had similar pain relief and improved function and range of motion.
Further to its announcement on April 30, 2013, Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd., a developer of generators that use fuel-cell technology to convert natural gas into electricity and heat for homes and other buildings, has announced that it has conditionally raised £5.0 million (A$7.6 million). The company has conditionally raised £4.3 million (A$6.5 million) through the issue of secured convertible loan notes to a number of institutional investors and a further £0.7 million (A$1.1 million) through the placing of 32,710,300 new ordinary shares of nil par value in the company. Commenting on the fund raising, CEO Bob Kennett says, “Having proved the commercialization of our technology we are now rapidly moving towards a major increase in the volumes sold by the company. This fund raise will allow us to meet the working capital requirements of the initial phase of this ramp up and the Board considers that it would be in the best interests of shareholders to raise these funds in this manner to allow the company to take advantage of these opportunities.”
(The Express-Times) An officials with Essroc Cement says the company will comply with stricter environmental regulations by 2015. Delaying new federal environmental regulations on the US cement industry by two years will lead to increased health risks and missed work days due to sickness, environmentalists say. But, imposing those regulations immediately would cripple the cement industry and could cost jobs across the country and in the Lehigh Valley at three local plants, according to at least one lawmaker. The updated rules change the monitoring method and limits for particulate matter: a mixture of extremely small particles and droplets, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The new requirements dramatically reduce the emission of mercury, acid gases, particulate matter and total hydrocarbons from existing cement kilns across the country and ensure that emissions from new kilns remain low, says EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones. The EPA won’t impose the restrictions until 2015 to allow some companies more time to reevaluate their emissions control strategies, Jones says.Cement plant grows greener to be of service
(KnoxvilleBiz.com) At the Cemex cement plant in Knoxville, what became a robust sustainability initiative and trend-setting conservation program began simply as an effort to be of service. ”Back then, it was an effort to be supportive of the community,” says Antonio DeLuca, the local plant manager. By “back then,” DeLuca means 15 years ago, before many local companies were thinking green. In the late 1990s, as communities were searching for an alternative way to dispose of tires in lieu of open burning and dumping, the Environmental Protection Agency asked Cemex to help investigate a solution. The cement-making process involves a large kiln in which rock mined for the purpose undergoes a thermal reaction process. Fired largely with fossil fuels, Cemex developed a process that utilizes tires. A resulting solid byproduct is also used as an ingredient in the cement. Cemex has burned 986,000 tires since 2010, contributing to a 9 percent reduction in the plant’s fossil fuel requirements. And, company executives continue to seek to turn waste into energy. At a sister plant in Georgia, peanut and pistachio shells provide 100 percent of the fuel for its thermal process. Tests are now underway to determine what type of waste stream might be viable in East Tennessee. One experiment, for example, used discarded items from the recycling sorting process.
Official video (in Spanish only) on new “Innovative Argentina 2020. Credit: Ministry of Science.
I am someone who thinks people in the United States pay far too little attention and give far too little credit to what goes on in Central and South America. For that reason, I try to follow some of the larger news developments in that region, particularly if it has to do with science and engineering. Thus, it definitely caught my attention last week when I saw a report that the Argentine government proposed a new national science strategy, a plan called (I think translated correctly) “Innovative Argentina 2020.” (hat tip to the Knight Science Journalism Tracker at MIT).
As far as I can tell, the new plan sets some huge and admirable goals—I am agnostic about whether the nation has the resources and leadership to achieve them—the main features of which are 1) triple the investment in science, 2) double the number of researchers, and 3) get Argentine researchers who have settled elsewhere to return to their homeland.
The time frame for the first two goals is seven years. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find anything that lays out a roadmap for either one, or explains the funding sources for expanding the National System of Science, Technology and Innovation.
However, a Google translation of the story I have linked to above seems to indicate that the repatriation issue is a touchy one. Lino Barañao, the government’s science and technology minister, asked rhetorically while presenting the plan, which of the nations great resources were the most poorly managed? He said that most people would suggest the answer is oil. Barañao said the right answer is “even more embarrassing—it is the brains of Argentine scientists.” He went on to say that, in essence, Argentina generously gave free brainpower, and the ability it has to generate prosperity, to the northern hemisphere, and because education in Argentina is free, this means there was “a clear net transfer of resources.”
I don’t claim to know all the factors that come into play when an Argentine scientist or engineer is making a decision about whether to stay or leave, but I do know that there was a time under an adverse political and military situation in Argentina when people with or pursuing degrees were persona non grata, and often among the “disappeared.” Indeed, Barañao, himself, noted there was a time when researchers were “considered dangerous, or at least expendable, ‘because the technology was coming from outside’.”
Lack of respect may be another problem. Barañao explained that because of the lack of support, scientists believe, “We do not ask anything [of Argentina], but do not ask anything of us.” In these circumstances some sit and distance themselves from a society they consider not sufficiently appreciated. The story also speaks of other cultural issues:
Barañao spoke of strengthening the system that involves more collaboration, and that both science universities and companies must pull in the same direction, so that citizens actually receive something in return for their taxes. There is reticence among all the parties, in which the scientist sees the entrepreneur as a selfish entity only thinking of profit, and the employer sees the researcher as a parasite that sucks but never produces anything but sterile knowledge.Barañao said these ideas are false and must be banished by all sides.
I traveled in Argentina around 2003 and, as I recall, the nation then was trying to elevate science and technology, so I assume the new plan is an attempt at achieve some exponential growth. The story reports that investment in science and technology in 2002 was about 0.44 percent of GDP, and the new plan will increase funding from the current 0.65 percent of GDP to 1.65 percent in 2020.
The author of the story injects some of his own opinion, writing that after listening to the plan, “You do not stop thinking about the senseless stupidity that is to ignore the brightest minds of a country.” But he goes on to note that not every Argentine leader has a firm grip on science, and reports that President Cristina Fernandez, bumbled her role in announcing the plan by asserting, for example, that “diabetes is a disease of affluent people” and that Argentine Amaranth also has some essential amino acids “that we do not have.” Of course, Argentina does not have a lock on the stockpile of politicians who haven’t got a clue about S&T.
EMA 2012: Beautiful weather beckoned conferees outdoors during the break. Credit: ACerS.
2013 will be a big year for big meetings, and January starts of with two of ACerS’ biggest: the Electronic Materials and Applications meeting and the 37th International Conference and Exposition on Advanced Ceramics and Composites. Society divisions organize both meetings.
First up is EMA, coorganized by the Basic Science Division and the Electronics Division, and will be held Jan. 23-25 in Orlando, Fla. I attended this meeting for the first time last year and was warmly welcomed by the community. Attendees I spoke to enjoyed the specificity of the meeting and the accessibility of the talks. There are some concurrent tracks, but for the most part, the meeting is small enough to allow a deep dive into the symposia that pertain to your field.
EMA organizers are rolling out three new symposia this year: Structure and Properties of Interfaces in Electronic Materials, Ceramic Composites for Defense Applications, and Nanoscale Electronic Materials and Devices. These new symposia are testing new avenues of exploration, and seem tailor-made to tie in with recent, high profile initiatives, such as the Grand Challenges’ call for improved understanding of interfaces and oxide electronics and the Materials Genome Initiative. Full details on all 16 symposia are available in the technical program.
Other highlights include three plenary speakers, a student-organized symposium highlighting student research, a poster session, and conference dinner, as well as meet-and-greets for young professionals, and “old” ones, too. As of today, we are expecting the largest attendance ever—225 attendees—big enough to be worthwhile, small enough to be satisfying. We would love to see you there, too.
The following week, Jan. 27-Feb. 1, the 37th ICACC will convene in Daytona Beach, Fla. This is the official meeting of the Engineering Ceramics Division. Each year, as part of the meeting, organizers host a special “international summit” to highlight work taking place in a particular geographic region. This year’s summit will focuses on the Americas. Also, building on last year’s success, ICACC planners will host a second Global Young Investigators Forum, which will take place Monday and Tuesday, to showcase the research of graduate students from around the world. GYIF organizers hail from Sweden, Singapore, Germany, Spain, and the United States.
The five-day meeting features three plenary speakers, the Mueller Award lecture, and 13 full symposia of technical programming in addition to the two special events already mentioned. There are also four “Focus Sessions,” which are smaller sessions for covering newer, emerging topics. As of now, we are expecting more than 1,000 attendees!
Two other parts of ICACC warrant special mention. First—the Exposition at ICACC is a perennial highlight. Nearly 70 vendors will be there to talk to customers about their equipment, supplies, characterization, testing, etc. needs. Plenty of delicious refreshments, a poster session, and the student Schott glass drop contest, make networking easy. If the full technical meeting is more than you need, consider an Expo-only registration for $60 and come network with the vendors and attendees.
Finally, the short course, “Mechanical Properties of Ceramics and Glass,” will be Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Stuff breaks. Do you know why? The instructors, George Quinn and Richard Bradt, are fracture experts who explain the science behind failure.
I’ll be at EMA, and Peter will be at ICACC. We are easy to find—we carry around the no-nonsense camera—and would love to talk to you about your work and maybe even take your picture!
We just got word of an exciting event underway right now to support women in STEM careers.
Today and tomorrow GE Global Research is hosting a Women in Science and Engineering symposium at their Niskayuna, N.Y. location. The event is “aimed specifically at talking about how to recruit, develop and retain female technologists,” according to Kristen Brosnan, a GE materials scientist and ACerS member. Brosnan also is a frequent contributor to Edison’s Desk, GE Global’s blog and will be live blogging and tweeting from the symposium.
In fact, in today’s blog post Brosnan announces that, in addition to this WISE symposium, she and a few colleagues are opening up a new topic thread called Wise Words. The goal, she writes, is to share “wise words from women starting, continuing or at the peak of their careers in technology and women learning how to balance their careers and other commitments.” Brosnan has written before about her concern over “the alarming rates that women leave science and technology careers,” beginning with here post, “Navigating the Glass Maze.”
The two-day WISE symposium is an invitation-only gathering for managers, human resources and leaders, but Brosnan will keep us all apprised of the key ideas and take-aways. She says in an email, “I see it as a great first step in addressing the issues brought up in all the studies that show women leave their science/technology careers mid-career. I am so glad that the conversation is getting started!”
Here is a partial list of the speakers:
- Rosalind Hudnell, chief diversity officer, Intel
- Denise Gammal, director of corporate partnerships, Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology
- Erika Degidio, executive director, talent and diversity, Bristol-Myers Squibb
- Lt. Col. Kay Emerson, West Point diversity officer, United States Military Academy
- Jan Blittersdorf, president & CEO, NRG Systems
Follow Brosnan’s Wise Words blog here, or follow her on Twitter, @kristenbrosnan, #GEWiseWords.
Did you know that the word “refractory” means “durable, stubborn?” I learned that from the outstanding video “Taming the Flame” produced by The Refractories Institute. The eight-minute video provides a great overview of the sweeping role of refractories in critical manufacturing sectors, such as the metals processing industry, the glass and ceramic processing industry, the cement industry, the petrochemical industry, etc. As the video points out, these massive industries need a lot of heat and they’ve got to “control the fire” or “tame the flame,” hence, refractories. It goes on to show how refractories are made, the wide range of types of refractories and the engineering that goes into them.
The message is clear—when it comes to manufacturing, refractories are the behind-the-scenes enablers. And, if that’s true, then the unsung heroes of manufacturing are the refractory engineers—the men and women who can take heat and know how to handle it.
One mission of TRI is to attract materials engineering students to careers as refractory engineers. To this end, the member companies of TRI have an excellent academic scholarship program for the 2013-2014 academic year to support qualified students enrolled in degree programs who have shown an interest in the field of refractories through their course work or other activities, such as internships, research projects, class projects, etc., and who might be considering a career in the refractory industry.
TRI says it will award a limited number of $5,000 scholarship grants based on academic merit, demonstrated experience and applicants’ interest in the field of refractories. Institute officials say the final decision on awards will be made by the TRI Scholarship Committee and Board of Directors. (Previous TRI Scholarship recipients are not eligible for further consideration.)
Applications are sought from college undergraduate or graduate students who are enrolled full time for the 2013-2014 academic year in pursuit of an undergraduate or advanced degree in ceramic engineering, materials science or similar discipline. Interested individuals should submit a letter of application by March 8, 2013 with the following information:
- A resume that includes at a minimum the applicant’s mailing address, daytime, phone, e-mail, school, major, grade point average, anticipated date of graduation, part-time or summer employment, awards and recognitions, and extra curricular activities.
- A letter describing the applicant’s interest in the field of refractories, including courses taken, papers written, research projects, summer or part-time employment, co-ops or work study programs, and any other information that might inform the Scholarship Committee’s deliberations.
- A letter of recommendation from one of the following: department chairman, faculty advisor, or a professor familiar with the candidate’s academic experience and achievements, and confirming the applicant’s interest in refractories.
- A certified copy of the applicant’s academic transcript.
After March 8 deadline, the TRI Scholarship Committee will review the applications and may require telephone or personal interviews with applicants. Successful applicants will be notified, and scholarships awarded, in June 2013.
Completed applications must be submitted by mail or overnight delivery service to one of the following addresses:
The Refractories Institute (via mail):
P.O Box 8439, Pittsburgh, PA 15218
The Refractories Institute (via courier delivery)
325 Maple Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15218
For addition information, (412) 244-1880 or send an e-mail to email@example.com