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.
• A Longueuil facility that prepares about 70 percent of Quebec’s glass for recycling is shutting down, and the company’s management says it isn’t sure where the glass will end up. Klareco processes more than 100,000 metric tons of glass in Quebec each year and sends most of it to the United States, where it is used to make insulation.
• Emhart Glass, a division of Bucher Industries, and Owens-Illinois, Inc. have signed a supplier agreement for glass forming machines and parts to all of O-I’s plants worldwide.
• Siam Glass Industry Co., Thailand, has reconfirmed its collaboration with Bottero. Having recently started up its new Rojana plant (with one furnace and three IS12 T.G. 4 ¼ machines, and a recent negotiation for the upgrade of two machines in the Samutprakarn plant), Siam Glass has decided the supply will once again come from Bottero.
• RHI has acquired an additional 26 percent share of Orient Refractories Ltd., India, through a public offer. The group had bought a 43.6 percent of the share of Orient in early March.
• Mexico’s Vitro is to invest more than $146 million to increase its melting capacity in its glass containers and automotive glass divisions; 89 percent of the budget will go to operations in Mexico, mainly to increase the manufacturing capacity of some of the furnaces and to improve and update its plants.
• The managing director of Sphinx Glass has declared that processing high quality flat glass will witness a strong growth in Egypt within the upcoming years, in the light of the domestic economic growth as well as growth in exports, especially to emerging markets in Africa, Middle East and North Africa, and Southern Europe.
• On May 1, 2013, ANH announces to customers its successful emergence from bankruptcy on April 30, 2013; ANH and its affiliates originally filed for bankruptcy in the first quarter 2002.
• Refractory maker Vesuvius India Ltd. (VIL) will soon make the new manufacturing unit at Visakhapatnam operational. According to the company sources, this would be the third plant of VIL in the port city of Andhra Pradesh. VIL has four operating units in the country; the two existing Andhra Pradesh units have a capacity of 60,000 metric tons a year. The new unit will host an R&D centre.
• Officials with the Corhart Refractories plant in Buckhannon, WV, say up to 64 of the plant’s 150 employees will be temporarily laid off starting July 1. Corhart makes refractory products for the glass industry. Spokesman Bill Seiberlich of parent company Saint-Gobain SEFPRO said demand for some products in the industry has declined recently.
This video shows the process developed by MesoCoat (Euclid, Ohio) to clad the interior surface of carbon steel pipe with a corrosion-resistant stainless steel layer. The company celebrated a “grand opening” last week. Credit: MesoCoat; YouTube.
The “Rust Belt” is going to need a new moniker if new work by entrepreneurs and researchers in the Great Lakes region is any indicator. One way the region is rejuvenating itself is, ironically, by fighting rust.
Corrosion is very expensive-its relentless gnawing costs the US about $7 billion per year. Also, new applications, especially in the oil and gas industry, are known to be highly corrosive environments.
Andrew Sherman, a Cleveland-area engineer and serial entrepreneur, got to thinking about what it would take to get the performance of a stainless steel in the guise of a carbon steel, the latter, of course, being much less costly than the former. He realized that what really mattered was that the “business” surface of a pipeline needs to look and act like a stainless steel; it matters less what the rest of the object is.
The idea is not new; corrosion protection coatings and claddings have been used for a long time, extending back into the BC era. In modern industrial times, weld overlay claddings are the state-of-the-art technology for corrosion protection of pipeline. However, the weld overlay process is slow because it lays down the coating one line at a time.
Sherman licensed a high-intensity plasma arc lamp technology developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, hired a few sharp metallurgists from Case Western Reserve University, and developed a new process for rapidly applying rugged, corrosion-resistant claddings on carbon steel pipe. When it looked like the new coating technology would be effective, Sherman started up a new company, MesoCoat, which is a spin-off from his other company, Powdermet. The company and its technology picked up some plum accolades last year when the Wall Street Journal gave it top honors in the manufacturing technology category of the publication’s Technology Innovation Awards. Earlier, in 2011, Forbes listed MesoCoat as one of the top 100 most promising domestic companies.
About three years ago I was at the groundbreaking ceremony for MesoCoat’s new manufacturing facility in Euclid, Ohio, and last Friday I was invited back to the facility’s grand opening. (See pictures below.)
In his welcoming remarks, Sherman said, “Corrosion is preventable through good policy and good science. Very few of our corrosion problems cannot be solved in terms of technology, but [many current solutions] are not economically feasible.”
The MesoCoat–Powdermet campus occupies about 13 acres of facilities that used to be home to TRW during its military-industrial heyday. As you can imagine, the local dignitaries were delighted to be at a grand opening of a new research and manufacturing plant. Besides city and state politicians, representatives from Case Western Reserve University, the University of Akron, ASM International, suppliers, contractors, and local industry were also there.
Sherman, who is CEO of the company, said in his remarks that three years ago MesoCoat had one employee—now it employs about 60. The largest market for the clad pipe is the oil and gas industry, “The markets are unbelievable,” he says. According to a cleveland.com article, MesoCoat’s business model expects to achieve revenues of $400–500 million in three years.
Because of its weight and shipping costs, it is most economical to produce pipe somewhat close to where it will be used. MesoCoat and its parent company, Abakan, are working on getting production facilities up and running in Brazil and Canada, too, even while they continue to work out the manufacturing details in Ohio.
Meanwhile, the June-July issue of the ACerS Bulletin will feature an article by the University of Buffalo group led by Sarbajit Banerjee on their work on nanocomposite corrosion prevention coatings. The group reports that their graphene/polymer and graphene/carbon nanotube/polymer coatings on steel can reduce corrosion rates by several orders of magnitude compared to galvanized steels. The idea behind the research is to discover and develop new coating materials with superior functionality that can be applied using existing manufacturing processes.
So, if the “Rust Belt” is no longer descriptive of the Great Lakes region, what is? Any ideas?
Recent innovations in LEDs have improved the energy efficiency of streetlights, but, until now, their glow still wastefully radiated beyond the intended area. A team of researchers from Taiwan and Mexico has developed a new lighting system design that harnesses high-efficiency LEDs and ensures they shine only where they’re needed, sparing surrounding homes and the evening sky from unwanted illumination. The team reported their findings in the open-access journal Optics Express. The proposed lamp is based on a novel three-part lighting fixture. The first part contains a cluster of LEDs, each of which is fitted with a special lens, called a Total Internal Reflection lens, that focuses the light so the rays are parallel to one another instead of intersecting. These lens-covered LEDs are mounted inside a reflecting cavity, which “recycles” the light and ensures that as much of it as possible is used to illuminate the target. Finally, as the light leaves the lamp it passes through a diffuser or filter that cuts down on unwanted glare. The combination of collimation and filtering also allows researchers to control the beam’s shape: the present design yields a rectangular light pattern ideally suited for street lighting, the researchers say. In addition to cutting light pollution and glare, the new model could also save energy. A general LED street light could reduce power consumption by 40 to 60 percent. The increased efficiency of the proposed design would likely save an additional 10 to 50 percent. Furthermore, the module would be simple to fabricate, since it comprises just four parts, including a type of LED bulb commonly used in the lighting industry.
The union of theory and practice makes broadband, low-loss optical devices practical, which is why two groups of Penn State engineers collaborated to design optical metamaterials that have custom applications that are easily manufactured. In the past, to control the optics of metamaterials, researchers used complicated structures including 3-dimensional rings and spirals that are difficult if not impossible to manufacture in large numbers and small sizes at optical wavelengths. From a practical perspective, simple and manufacturable nanostructures are necessary for creating high-performance devices. ”We must design nanostructures that can be fabricated,” says Theresa S. Mayer, Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and co-director of Penn State’s nanofabrication laboratory. Designing materials that can allow a range of wavelengths to pass through while blocking other wavelengths is far more difficult than simply creating something that will transmit a single frequency. Minimizing the time domain distortion of the signal over a range of wavelengths is necessary, and the material also must be low loss. The design team looked at existing fishnet structured metamaterials and applied nature-inspired optimization techniques based on genetic algorithms. They optimized the dimensions of features such as the size of the fishnet and the thicknesses of the materials. One of the transformative innovations made by the researchers was the inclusion of nanonotches in the corners of the fishnet holes, creating a pattern that could be tuned to shape the dispersion over large bandwidths.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln materials engineers have developed a structural nanofiber that is both strong and tough, a discovery that could transform everything from airplanes and bridges to body armor and bicycles. Their findings are featured on the cover of the American Chemical Society’s journal, ACS Nano. “Our discovery adds a new material class to the very select current family of materials with demonstrated simultaneously high strength and toughness,” says the team’s leader, Yuris Dzenis, McBroom Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and a member of UNL’s Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience. Dzenis and colleagues developed an exceptionally thin polyacrilonitrile nanofiber, a type of synthetic polymer related to acrylic, using electrospinning. Dzenis suggests that toughness comes from the nanofibers’ low crystallinity. In other words, it has many areas that are structurally unorganized. These amorphous regions allow the molecular chains to slip around more, giving them the ability to absorb more energy.
Resistive memory cells (ReRAM) are regarded as a promising solution for future generations of computer memories. They will dramatically reduce the energy consumption of modern IT systems while significantly increasing their performance. Unlike the building blocks of conventional hard disk drives and memories, these novel memory cells are not purely passive components but must be regarded as tiny batteries. This has been demonstrated by researchers of Jülich Aachen Research Alliance. The new finding radically revises the current theory and opens up possibilities for further applications. The research group has already filed a patent application for their first idea on how to improve data readout with the aid of battery voltage. In complex experiments, the scientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University determined the battery voltage of typical representatives of ReRAM cells and compared them with theoretical values. This comparison revealed other properties (such as ionic resistance) that were previously neither known nor accessible.”The demonstrated internal battery voltage of ReRAM elements clearly violates the mathematical construct of the memristor theory. This theory must be expanded to a whole new theory–to properly describe the ReRAM elements,” says Eike Linn, a specialist for circuit concepts.
(Berkeley National Lab/YouTube) A worldwide race is on for scientists to develop ever more powerful X-ray microscopes. With ultra-high resolution X-ray optics at ultra-bright synchrotrons—such as the 120-meter-long Hard X-Ray Nanoprobe (HXN) being developed for the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) at Brookhaven Lab—researchers will see structure and chemistry deep inside natural and engineered materials as they address some of the biggest questions in materials science, physics, chemistry, environmental sciences, and biology. Unprecedented capabilities, however, bring critical technical challenges, but scientists at Brookhaven Lab are on the job. In this video of the 486th Brookhaven Lecture, Yong Chu illustrates unique challenges and innovative approaches for X-ray microscopy at the nanoscale. He also discusses measurement capabilities for the first science experiments at NSLS-II. Chu joined the Photon Sciences Directorate at Brookhaven Lab as group leader for the HXN beamline at NSLS-II in 2009.
The innovative research of a Montana State University student, Neerja Zambare, a senior from Pune, India, majoring in both chemical engineering and biological engineering, was selected as one of the country’s undergraduate researchers for her poster about a bio-cement that effectively plugs cracks near wells and drilling sites. Zambare exhibited her research poster, “Biofilm induced biomineralization in a radial flow reactor,” at the Council on Undergraduate Research’s Posters on the Hill Exhibition April 23-24 in Washington, D.C., one of the country’s most prestigious undergraduate research fairs. Zambare was accompanied by Robin Gerlach, MSU professor of chemical and biological engineering and Zambare’s research mentor. Gerlach said Zambare convinced him that she would be the right person to join his lab group in the Center for Biofilm Engineering. The group trained her and then asked her to join a project that the lab had been working on for some time—a bacterium that makes calcium carbonate and has potential applications in sealing ponds, plugging cracks emitting carbon dioxide near carbon sequestration wells as well as abandoned wells.
(arXiv) Two modifications have been made to a miniature ceramic anvil high pressure cell (mCAC) designed for magnetic measurements at pressures up to 12.6 GPa in a commercial superconducting quantum interference (SQUID) magnetometer. Replacing the Cu-Be piston in the former mCAC with a composite piston composed of the Cu-Be and ceramic cylinders reduces the background magnetization significantly smaller at low temperatures, enabling more precise magnetic measurements at low temperatures. A second modification to the mCAC is the utilization of a ceramic anvil with a hollow in the center of the culet surface. High pressures up to 5 GPa were generated with the “cupped ceramic anvil” with the culet size of 1.0 mm.
By this time next year, Europe will be enforcing a tough, new standard on exhaust emissions from trucks and busses. Starting in September 2014, all new passenger and many lighter-weight commercial vehicles in regions covered by the European Commission’s rules will be required to have “Euro 6″-certified engines, and, in response, vehicle manufacturers and various research groups have been accelerating their filtration R&D. Switzerland’s Empa is of the institutions focusing on this issue, and researchers there say they are excited about some unconventional restructuring of the main filter components—typically ceramic substrates—that they say will enable manufacturers to meet pollution goals.
Heretofore, the standard diesel emissions filter is an extruded honeycomb-structure ceramic (e.g., cordierite) substrate that has a light coating of a catalytic material, such as platinum or palladium, which allows it to convert NOx and CO in the exhaust and capture soot. The honeycomb monolith substrate can withstand the stresses of temperature cycling during normal use and also during “regenerative” cycles when collected particulates (soot) are removed.
The conventional approach to engineering these filters is to allow exhaust gasses to pass through relative easily while providing maximum exposure to the surfaces bearing the catalyst. Turbulence was a thing to be avoided.
However, one research group at Empa, its Internal Combustion Engines Laboratory, says there is a downside to the honeycomb monolith: The flow of the exhaust gasses is distributed unevenly. Most of the exhaust gasses pass through the center section of the filter, creating a high-temperature zone and leaving much of the outer regions of the honeycomb relatively unused. To compensate for the unused regions, Empa says the honeycomb filters have to be relatively long (besides adding general manufacturing costs, the extra length also means the use of extra expensive catalytic material).
Empa claims that the impetus for rethinking the filter design was the viewing of a diesel filter whose central section had partially melted (see photo). The researchers’ novel idea, which began to emerge a few years ago, was to embrace the turbulence of the exhaust and put it to use to distribute the gasses more evenly.
But, a rugged ceramic substrate to support the catalyst would still be needed, and the Internal Combustion Engines Lab turned to researchers in Empa’s High-Performance Ceramics Laboratory. Instead of relying on the straight-through openings of a honeycomb, the ceramics group began to tinker with a special catalyst-coated ceramic foam, which they subsequently named Foamcat. The structure of the foam would encourage the turbulence needed to more evenly distribute the exhaust through the filter.
To filter engineers, the Empa approach probably raises several questions, especially in regard to the mechanical strength of a ceramic foam and to the negative effects of the turbulence, i.e., loss of engine performance due to back pressures from the exhaust. In response, a news release from the institute says
[S]cientists succeeded in increasing the mechanical strength of the material many times over. Currently the research team is working to optimize the structure of the ceramic—the foam substrate has a greater air resistance than the monolith that results in a slight comparative increase in fuel consumption. Using sophisticated computer simulation techniques, the Empa team has developed foam structures which reduce the air resistance without affecting the necessary turbulence.
According to Empa, the bottom-line benefit is that the surface area of the Foamcat substrate is much more efficiently used than with a honeycomb monolith. It claims that the efficiency is improved so much that the Foamcat filter can match the performance of a honeycomb filter at half the length and only requires one third of the expensive catalysts.
Whether vehicle manufacturers ultimately embrace the ceramic foam design remains to be seen. The problem of the expense of noble metal catalysts is vexing to manufacturers and other groups have been trying to find substitutes such as acicular mullite.
Nevertheless, Empa says it has been partnering for over a year with catalyst-maker Umicore and diesel engine manufacturer Fiat Powertrain Technologies to do field tests with a Foamcat filters. It also says that Swiss electrical utility IWB has been testing a vehicle fitted with the Foamcat filter for 18 months.
The stakes are high. According to a document (pdf) on the Euro 6 standards prepared by Cummins, all NOx emissions will have to be 75 percent less and particulate matter will have to be 66-95 percent less than current “Euro 5″ limits.