Archive for Alfred University
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We are at MS&T this week and a little busier than usual. We hope to bring back lots of news and information to tell you about. Meanwhile, here are a few items of interest.
Participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Alfred University’s Center for High-Temperature Characterization Friday afternoon were, from left, Ralph Truitt, division vice resident & research director, Corning, Inc.; Doreen Edwards, dean of the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering at AU; State Senator Catharine Young of Olean; Charles M. Edmondson, AU president; and Linda Jones, vice president for statutory affairs and head of the College of Ceramics at AU. Credit: Alfred University.
Alfred University dedicated a new Center for High-Temperature Characterization of Materials on Oct. 5, that will help researchers analyze new materials and their characteristics, an integral step in development of new products. The center contains five suites of specialized equipment for analyzing materials that are either processed or used at very high temperatures (1300-degrees C). In the past year, the Center for High-Temperature Characterization has helped AU researchers secure about $3 million in grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the Defense Department. Additionally, General Electric has contracted with Alfred University to undertake characterization and analytical work on the new battery materials at a cost of $1.2 million as part of its $2 million project funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Besides the research projects, the high-temperature materials characterization center is doing analytical work for New York State companies including Corning Inc., Corning; TAM Ceramics, Niagara Falls; Cummins Engine, Jamestown; Dal-Tile and Cooper Power, Olean; Free Form Fibers, Saratoga Springs; Air Flow Catalyst Systems, Rochester; and Ceragen, Alfred.
Boulder, Colo., will be the site of the fourth and final public workshop to gather input on the design of the proposed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, on Oct. 18, at the Millennium Harvest House Boulder. ”Designing for Impact IV: Workshop on Building the NNMI” is organized by the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office, a federal interagency body launched in late 2011 to coordinate federal resources and to promote collaborations addressing key manufacturing technology challenges and opportunities. Area hosts include the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado State University, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The Boulder workshop will be seeking ideas on the technology focus, organization, operation, management, and other topics and activities relating to the proposed network. Advance online registration is now open and will close by Oct. 16. For more information on the workshop and to access the registration site, go to: http://manufacturing.gov/event_101812.html
On Tuesday morning (Oct. 9), Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner will attempt to break the world record for highest-ever skydive, leaping from a balloon nearly 23 miles above Earth’s surface. If all goes according to plan, Baumgartner will step into the void 120,000 feet (36,576 meters) above southeastern New Mexico early Tuesday, then plummet to Earth in a harrowing freefall that will see him become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier. Baumgartner hopes to break a skydiving record that has stood for more than 50 years set by Joe Kittinger (102,800 feet; 31,333 m) back in 1960 while a captain in the USAir Force. If everything works out on Tuesday, Baumgartner will also shatter the marks for fastest freefall, longest-duration freefall and highest manned balloon flight.
Editor’s note: This project has been in the works for awhile. We reported on the design of the special suit that Baumgartner will be using in a CTT last February.
A device known as a “space-time crystal,” a four-dimensional crystal that has periodic structure in time as well as space may keep perfect time forever, even after the heat-death of the universe. However, there are also practical and important scientific reasons for constructing a space-time crystal. With such a 4D crystal, scientists would have a new and more effective means by which to study how complex physical properties and behaviors emerge from the collective interactions of large numbers of individual particles, the so-called many-body problem of physics. A space-time crystal could also be used to study phenomena in the quantum world, such as entanglement, in which an action on one particle impacts another particle even if the two particles are separated by vast distances. A space-time crystal, however, has only existed as a concept in the minds of theoretical scientists with no serious idea as to how to actually build one—until now. An international team of scientists led by researchers with the Department of Energy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has proposed the experimental design of a space-time crystal based on an electric-field ion trap and the Coulomb repulsion of particles that carry the same electrical charge.
Lots happening in our world …
Alfred University is working with TAM Ceramics of Niagara Falls and ENrG Inc. of Buffalo to develop ceramic oxide thermoelectric devices (TEG) that could lead to more fuel-efficient cars. Because these thermoelectric devices convert waste heat to usable electricity, using ceramic oxides will enable these devices to work at much higher temperatures, said Doreen Edwards, professor of materials science and dean of Inamori School of Engineering at AU. Recipient of a $200,000 New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grant to improve the TEG’s performance, TAM is developing the ceramic powder while ENrG is incorporating the materials into ceramic sheets. AU will be characterizing and sintering the powders TAM develops. Edwards will oversee the characterization, using equipment in the Center for High Temperature Characterization, which will allow researchers to measure properties of the materials at temperatures up to 1,000-degrees Celsius. Olivia Graeve, an AU engineering professor, will oversee the spark plasma sintering of the powders.
The InVentures Group, Inc. announced that it has been retained by NUENZ, Ltd., a company based in New Zealand, to provide assistance in commercializing a revolutionary new nanomaterial. NUENZ is focused on the development and commercialization of advanced silicon nitride nanofibers, a material that has significant potential in a wide range of industrial applications. Silicon nitride is generally considered to have the most desirable combination of mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties of any advanced technical ceramic material. In addition, its corrosion resistance, high fracture toughness, and wear resistance make it useful in challenging applications including heat exchangers, turbocharger rotors, nozzles, bearings, seals, valves, and others. The potential availability of a high performance reinforcement, such as silicon nitride nanofibers, is expected to have a major positive impact on the commercial development of a new generation of high performance ceramic-, metal-, and polymer matrix composite parts.
Xaar, the leader in digital ceramic printing technology, announces the Brazilian launch of a new model of the Xaar 1001 inkjet printhead family during Forn&Cer. The Xaar 1001 GS12 printhead will enable ceramic tile manufacturers to achieve even deeper and richer colors. It can also be used at double the speed of the Xaar 1001 GS6. This new printhead features Xaar’s patented TF Technolog to give unrivalled reliability with low maintenance, ensuring maximum productivity in the harshest industrial environments.
The reliability and print quality of the Xaar 1001 has revolutionized the ceramics industry. It is the printhead of choice for both ceramic tile printer manufacturers and producers of ceramic tiles.
Some 180,000 visitors are expected to attend this year’s ACHEMA from June 18th through 22nd in Frankfurt, Germany. The 4,000 exhibitors from 50 countries will also include BASF. Just as in previous years, the BASF Competence Center for Engineering & Maintenance will be represented with selected technical services at the global forum for chemical engineering and the process industry. Within an area of 118 square meters, innovations from the fields of high-pressure technology and surface technology will be showcased to visitors.
As part of the Administration’s effort to spark a renaissance in American manufacturing, the Energy Department announced it will invest more than $54 million in 13 projects to develop innovative technologies and materials for the industrial sector. This investment will help to provide American manufacturers with the cutting-edge tools, techniques and processes they need to compete successfully in the global marketplace. According to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the 13 competitively selected projects demonstrate the Energy Department’s commitment to clean energy technology . “When it comes to clean energy,” he said, “[it] should be invented in America, made in America, and sold around the world.”
Entrance passes for glasstec 2012, International Trade Fair for Glass Production - Processing - Products and solarpeq, International Trade Fair for Solar Production Equipment, can now be ordered online at www.glasstec-online.com at reduced rates. The events will take place concurrently from October 23 - 26, 2012 at the fairgrounds in Düsseldorf, Germany. The online price for a 1-day ticket is Euro 28 instead of Euro 38 on show site, a 2-day ticket is available online for Euro 44 instead of Euro 55 purchased at the show and a 4-day pass costs Euro 69 online compared to Euro 80 on site. Only one entrance pass is necessary to visit both shows. Show directories cost Euro 20 onsite and online (plus shipping & handling when ordered online). New: the eTickets ordered online can be printed at home and will be converted into badges at the turnstiles on show site.
Alfred University’s Inamori School of Engineering will offer a short course for glass and ceramic engineers, scientists, and technicians entitled “Fracture Analysis and Failure Prevention of Glasses and Ceramics” from Monday, July 30-Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. This hands-on course will cover the examination and interpretation of markings on fracture-exposed surfaces of glasses and polycrystalline ceramics and the analysis of crack systems (fractography). It will also explore the use of fractography in failure analysis, strength testing and fracture mechanics testing. The course will use discussions, case studies, and examples to analyze links between fractography and failure prevention. The course will be limited to 18 students so early registration is encouraged. The course fee is $1,395 and includes the Fractography of Ceramics and Glasses practice guide. Instructors are James Varner and George Quinn.
Carborundum Universal Ltd. has entered into techno-commercial agreement with U.K. firms Sheffield Refractories and Anderman Ceramics to manufacture, supply and install a range of high-end refractory solutions for the steel and glass industries and for aerospace component manufacture. The manufacturing of these products would be done at Carborundum’s plant in Ranipet, Tamil Nadu, and also at a new location, the company, which is part of the Murugappa group, informed the stock exchanges on Wednesday.
Three scientists from PPG Industries received the Advanced Manufacturing Award at the 2012 Carnegie Science Awards in Pittsburgh for work on the development of Solarban R100 glass. Adam Polcyn, PhD, Andrew Wagner, PhD, and Paul Medwick, PhD, helped engineer the neutral-reflective, solar control, low-emissivity glass to provide better solar control performance than other neutral-reflective, low-e architectural glasses. Introduced in 2010, Solarban R100 glass has a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.23 and visible light transmittance of 42 percent. The resulting light-to-solar gain (ratio of 1.79 is as much as 29 percent greater than the LSG ratios of competing glasses.
The fuel cell, described in the June 12 edition of the journal PLoS ONE, strips electrons from glucose molecules to create a small electric current. The researchers, led by Rahul Sarpeshkar, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, fabricated the fuel cell on a silicon chip, allowing it to be integrated with other circuits that would be needed for a brain implant. The new twist to the MIT fuel cell described in PLoS ONE is that it is fabricated from silicon, using the same technology used to make semiconductor electronic chips. The fuel cell has no biological components: It consists of a platinum catalyst that strips electrons from glucose, mimicking the activity of cellular enzymes that break down glucose to generate ATP, the cell’s energy currency. (Platinum has a proven record of long-term biocompatibility within the body.) So far, the fuel cell can generate up to hundreds of microwatts—enough to power an ultra-low-power and clinically useful neural implant.
As part of the Obama Administration’s Startup America Initiative that works to encourage and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation, the Energy Department today announced that NuMat Technologies from Northwestern University won the first-ever DOE National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. The competition aims to inspire university teams across the country and promote entrepreneurship in clean energy technologies that will boost American competitiveness, bringing cutting-edge clean energy solutions to the market and strengthening our economic prosperity. NuMat Technologies presented a plan to commercialize a nanomaterial that stores gases at lower pressure, reducing infrastructure costs and increasing design flexibility. One potential application for this innovation is in designing tanks to store natural gas more efficiently in motor vehicles.
Once again, Alfred University is in the news for working with a corporate partner under the auspices of a New York State technology initiative. School officials have just announced that the university and General Electric have signed a contract to develop a new generation of sodium metal halide batteries as part of a consortium funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
Just a few weeks back, we wrote how research groups at the school were leveraging expertise in advanced ceramics, glass and cutting-edge materials to develop working relationships with companies to develop interconnects for fuel cells and GaN-on-diamond substrate projects with private partners, also under the auspices of NYSERDA.
According to an AU press release, the latest project involves developing huge sodium metal halide batteries for applications that include hybrid locomotives and back-up power for telecommunication sites. Doreen Edwards, dean of the Inamori School of Engineering at AU says the research will focus on improving battery reliability, cycle life and performance.
The consortium, led by GE Global Research, includes AU, Clarkson University, Columbia University, SUNY-Stony Brook and Brookhaven National Lab.
In the release, Matthew Hall, an AU engineering professor, says, ”This is a fantastic opportunity for Alfred because it directly complements our research interests and expertise. At least half of our research effort is devoted to energy applications. And a lot [of the work] would be an extension of the work done on fuel cells here for the last decade.”
Hall is also director of AU’s Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology, which exists to facilitate collaboration between industry and academia. CACT receives financial support from another New York State sci-tech initiative, NYSTAR.
According to Edwards, there will be at least three major components to AU’s work. The first will be to develop a more durable and conductive ceramic electrolyte separating the cathode from the anode and will likely focus on improving the mechanical and electrical properties of beta-alumina solid electrolyte.
The second will be to identify a more robust and corrosion-resistant glass for encasing the batteries’ electrical components. According to Edwards, AU and GEGR will develop accelerated glass stability tests to understand glass corrosion mechanisms and predict seal life.
Finally, AU will also be developing computational models to accelerate further improvements, including meso-scale computer simulations to refine beta-alumina solid electrolyte sample properties and a model for predicting the thermal properties as a function of glass composition.
“We are very excited to work with Alfred University to improve our sodium metal halide battery technology,” says Job Rijssenbeek, GEGR principal investigator. “Alfred’s expertise in ceramics and glasses is world renownd and we’ve had extremely productive collaborations in the past.”
With that type of reputation, its no wonder AU and its Inamori School of Engineering seem to be on a roll with these private sector collaborations.
There has been heartfelt sorrow across the international ceramic community upon learning that Gian Nicola Babini, outstanding educator, visionary and strong advocate of international cooperation, passed away March 12, 2012 following a long and courageous battle with cancer.
Former ACerS president, L. David Pye, Dean Emeritus of the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, was a friend and colleague of Babini, and he wrote me saying:
I join a long list of mourners with a special sense of the loss of a great friend, mentor, and supporter of all things ceramics in this new century.
I first met him in the spring of 2004 in Italy at the suggestion of Kathryn Logan, then president of ACerS, in conjunction with a globalizational outreach effort undertaken by ACerS at that time. At that time, he was president of the European Ceramic Society and it was readily apparent that we shared many common views on international outreach, the integrated roles of teaching, scholarship and research at the university level, and the strategic role professional organizations could and must play in promoting the field of ceramics at the international level.
Thus, he was a strong advocate for the revitalization of the International Ceramic Federation, which he served as president in 2007, and the establishment of new series of International Congresses on Ceramics. He served admirably and most proudly as the president of the 2nd Congress in this series, convened in Verona, Italy in 2008. Throughout all of these endeavors, he was always upbeat, gracious, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing fellow ceramists gather from across the globe to learn first-hand what was new in ceramics, and to explore new frontiers. For these achievements alone, the international community will be forever in debt to his memory.
On a more personal level, I will truly miss meeting him at various gatherings and learning his thinking on a variety of subjects. Always the optimist, always respectful of fellow ceramists, and always so proud of the Institute for Science and Technology of Ceramics (ISTEC), which he led for nearly three decades, and especially his beloved family. He truly represented all things best in the field of ceramics. Farewell good friend — you will be missed.
ISTEC’s obituary on Babini goes on to note:
[Babini] pursued the growth and the development of the Institute, since 1976 when he was a researcher. He became personally involved in and promoting the growth of a small research group on ceramics, till the current relevant Institute: a structure with two sites (Faenza and Turin) and 60 people. …At domestic level he was a promoter of initiatives that resulted in the creation of the Agency for Ceramics, the settlement of the ENEA Laboratories, just inside its premises ISTEC hosted the Degree in Chemistry and Technology of Ceramic Materials. He planned and pursued the implementation of a Science Park on Ceramic Materials: new buildings adjacent to ISTEC premises, dedicated to incubators and technology transfer structures, are testament to the vision and strategic skills of Babini, in realizing a project that ought to represent a symbol for innovation and economic development for the city of Faenza and at National level. …Babini always participated in initiatives and projects related to R&D, promoted by the National Research Council of Italy, several Ministries several Regions, in particular Emilia Romagna and Piedmont District.
For us at ISTEC-CNR, Gian Nicola Babini is, and will remain, an example to follow, regarding his teaching and all what he has left us. In spite of the relevance of the roles he covered during his life and the resounding titles he received, he maintained the enthusiasm to communicate with young researchers and the ability to transfer them the love for knowledge coupled with the tireless leadership efforts he made in various initiatives where material science could have a positive impact on society’s progress. …ISTEC never forget him and his master spirit will be able to reach the new generation of researchers coming to ceramic materials science.