Archive for ceramic coatings
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Here is what we are hearing:
Netzsch Instruments North America LLC is proud to announce that it is currently the sole supplier to Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) of high temperature thermal analysis instruments used to characterize material properties for space applications. SpaceX was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk to revolutionize space transportation, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. Netzsch’s instruments will be used to fine tune properties of existing materials and to develop new materials for use in the demanding, harsh environments of space. The ability of Netzsch to custom engineer and modify the instruments to meet SpaceX’s requirements was a key factor in their choice of vendors. Mission critical material will be developed, tested and modeled using data from Netzsch’s Thermokinetics software. Netzsch instruments also will be used to measure basic material properties along with other thermophysical properties. Some of these properties will include 1st, 2nd and 3rd order transitions, coefficient of thermal expansion and contraction, modulus, energy adsorption dampening, heat capacity, thermal diffusivity, thermal conductivity along with software and heat transfer data to model and build heat management systems.
Visiongain, a business market research group based in London, has issued an analysis that indicates that the global ceramic coatings market will reach a value of $5.98 billion in 2013, as emerging market demand for various consumer items indirectly increases demand for ceramic coatings, and as the need for cost-effective solutions for ceramic coatings to improve productivity and efficiency of machining equipment grows in importance. The ceramic coatings market is therefore forecast by Visiongain to record solid growth over the next decade, as ceramic coatings become more popular. The company also noted that ceramic coatings are in demand in the developed world, where they are increasingly used to improve efficiency and productivity, and strengthen parts, delivering cost-savings.
Sage Electrochromics Inc., a world leader in the development and manufacture of dynamic glass, located in Faribault, Minn., has announced it has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, against View, Inc. (formerly Soladigm, Inc.) of Milpitas, Calif. “We filed this lawsuit to enforce our patented intellectual property that protects our substantial investment in developing our pioneering, game-changing dynamic glass technology” The nature of the lawsuit is a complaint for patent infringement involving U.S. Patent #5,724,177 entitled “Electrochromic Devices and Methods” and U.S. Patent #7,372,610 entitled “Electrochromic Devices and Methods.” Sage is seeking damages and injunctive relief to prevent View Inc. from continuing to infringe on Sage’s intellectual property. “We have worked for more than twenty years to bring our patented electrochromic glass to market, ” says John Van Dine, CEO, founder of Sage, and coinventor of the ‘177 patent. “Our hundreds of installed projects and delighted customers validate our research and intellectual property. We believe we will prevail in this important case. We look forward to continuing our long heritage of bringing innovations in dynamic glass to our global clients.”
Morgan Thermal Ceramics announces the availability of an extensive range of pumpable mastics, ideal for maintenance and repair of hot spots in the power generation industry. Complementing a full line of fiber and refractory insulation products, the Mastics range includes pumpables and moldables. Hot spot repair pumpables are designed for injection filling of refractory joints and cracks, even while the boilers are in operation. Rather than shutting down the furnace and idling it for days or weeks until the temperature cools, resulting in potentially costly downtime, pumpable wet fiber technology can be used to make repairs within hours. Designed for pumping into voids caused by deteriorated insulation, grouting cracks and gaps in refractory linings, these pumpable products are ideal for providing quick and easy re-insulation behind boiler tubes in sidewalls, seals and floors, as well as repairs of ovens, furnaces and process equipment.
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, recognize Orbite Aluminae Inc., based in Montréal, Québec, as national winner of the 2012 Regional Awards for New Technology. Orbite is a Canadian cleantech company whose innovative technologies are setting the new standard for alumina production. Orbite technologies enable environmentally neutral extraction of smelter-grade alumina, high-purity alumina and high-value elements, including rare earths and rare metals, from a variety of sources such as aluminous clay and bauxite, without generating toxic red mud residue. Orbite’s operations have a negligible environmental impact compared to the conventional process of extracting alumina from bauxite. The Orbite process of producing metallurgical-grade alumina involves crushing and then acid leaching the aluminous claystone found at the company’s Grande-Vallée property. Orbite’s unique technology consumes less energy and generates less pollution then and no caustic by-products. The award recognizes innovative excellence in the development, adoption, and application of new technology in process or products.
Cabot Corporation announces that it has developed the Aeroclad blanket, a flexible high-temperature insulation material formed by integrating Cabot’s silica aerogel within a non-woven, inorganic fiber batting. The Aeroclad blanket delivers a dust free, flexible wrap that takes advantage of the superior thermal insulation performance and hydrophobic nature of aerogel. Cabot has created this new aerogel blanket product with exceptional corrosion-under-insulation (CUI) characteristics, and without dust, to significantly outperform the currently available competing products. The blanket can be field-modified and easily installed for use in a wide range of industrial applications such as pipelines, refineries, steam lines, tanks, and other equipment. Aeroclad insulation delivers more than twice the thermal insulation protection compared to conventional high temperature insulation materials such as mineral wool, calcium silicate, and fiberglass. The blanket also offers significantly lower water retention and faster drying, minimizing the potential for CUI.
Next week ACerS will be holding its first Innovations in Biomedical Materials conference with aim of generating some synergy from representatives of the materials research, manufacturing and medical communities.
Some of the goals laid out for the conference are:
These aren’t pedestrian matters. It’s fair to say that there are a lot of people in the materials science community that think we are on the brink of bringing an enormous and amazing range of new applications (e.g., novel biocompatible materials, sensors, delivery systems and imaging systems) to the medical community.
Of course, the most important aspect is identifying new ways of improving the human condition through better healing methods, improved disease detection and treatments, advanced prosthetic devices, etc.
From a business perspective, there seems to be a huge opportunity. A lot of businesses are looking at demographics, treatment trends, engineering breakthroughs and so on, and are starting to make some estimates of how valuable this field is.
Even with current technologies, the market seems huge. For example, a recent report from Market Research.com valued the 2011 global medical ceramics market at $10.4 billion and estimates it will reach $13.1 billion by 2017. Ceramic technology developments have contributed heavily to the development of implantable electronic devices. The authors of the report noted that ceramic materials are “ideal for a range of medical implant applications, from artificial joints to implantable electronic sensors, stimulators and drug delivery devices.” The authors also highlight the role of alumina and zirconia for dental uses, orthopedic repair applications, implantable electronic devices and surgical and diagnostic instruments.
Here’s another window into the potential business opportunity: A BCC Research report issued earlier this year estimates that the global medical device coating market, alone, reached $5.4 billion in 2011 and predicts it will grow to $8 billion in 2017. The authors looked at a wide range of materials and related innovations, including alloys, ceramics, hybrids, energy-absorbing, micro- and nanomaterials, protective polymers and surface treatments. A separate BCC Research report places the North American market just for high-performance ceramic coatings (including thermal spray and chemical and physical vapor deposition technologies) at $1.4 billion in 2011, an amount researchers say should grow to $2.0 billion by 2016.
Of course, the materials world is much broader than ceramics. There are also polymers, metals, composites and hybrid materials that have to be factored in before the size of the entire market can really be captured. At the broadest level, a thorough market evaluation would even extend to devices such as laser-based devices and next-generation CT machines.
Biomedical materials is an exciting field to watch these days, and I have to admit that I’m really looking forward to providing some blog posts based on the presentations at next week’s meeting. Stay tuned.
Here’s what we are hearing:
GE Aviation Systems’ $50 million investment on the University of Dayton campus bodes well for the company and the area, the company’s president and chief executive. In the past five years, GE Aviation has added 400 jobs at its three Dayton-area plants. In 2013, the company’s new Electrical Power Integrated Systems research and development center off River Park Drive will be operating. An initial 50 people will work there, but within five years, the center should employ 150 to 200 researchers, said Lorraine Bolsinger, GE Systems president and chief executive. At the center, UD researchers will work with GE Aviation scientists and engineers to create new advanced electrical power technologies such as new power systems for aircraft, longer-range electric cars and smarter utility power grids for more efficient delivery of electricity, GE Aviation said.
Alcoa recently unveiled one of the first commercial building installations of Reynobond with EcoClean, the architectural panel that cleans itself and the air around it, at the new Electronic Recyclers International facility in Badin, N.C. The product is installed at ERI’s Southeast regional electronics recycling hub, which is expected to create up to 200 new jobs in central North Carolina. Introduced in 2011, EcoClean was developed by Alcoa scientists through a process that leverages patented Hydrotect technology to apply a titanium dioxide coating, called EcoClean, to the pre-painted aluminum surface of Alcoa’s Reynobond architectural panels. The coating works with natural sunlight, acting as a catalyst to break down organic pollutants on its surface and in the air around it into harmless matter which is then washed away by rainwater. Ten thousand square feet of EcoClean has the smog-removal power of approximately 80 trees, equivalent to offsetting the nitrogen oxide created by the pollution output of four cars per day.
The Tnemec Co. has introduced the first thermal insulating coatings featuring Enova aerogel by Cabot Corp. Series 971 Aerolon Acrylic and Series 975 Aerolon Epoxy are fluid-applied, high-build coatings that are designed to resist high operating temperatures when spray-applied to piping, tanks, valves or other steel substrates in refineries, processing plants and other industrial facilities. The Aerolon coatings are comparable to most conventional forms of industrial insulation. The thermal insulation properties of Aerolon coatings provide safe-touch performance on hot pipes and other surfaces to prevent serious worksite accidents. And their low K-value ratings offer thermal efficiencies that result in substantial energy cost reductions. Aerolon coatings are water-based with practically zero volatile organic compounds, minimizing environmental impact. Once mixed, Aerolon resembles a slurry that can be spray applied. Aerolon coatings are part of a complete system that includes specialty primers and topcoats, Tnemec said.
During the M-GRIN program’s first phase, Surmet demonstrated the ability to create ALON GRIN lens blanks with axial gradients. During Phase II Surmet will develop the ability to extend the magnitude and spatial extent of these gradients, using processes compatible with large volume manufacturing. At the culmination of the Phase II effort, Surmet will use proprietary fabrication processes to produce several prototype ALON GRIN lenses and deliver them to DARPA. The University of Rochester will develop the metrology used to characterize the ALON GRIN lens blanks and lenses produced during this program. The U of R will also lead the design effort to exploit the advantages of ALON M-GRIN lenses for Advanced DoD optical systems. Ed White Consultants will guide the manufacturing readiness assessment of the MGRIN technology. Surmet will also include DoD Prime Contractors in the program to facilitate the transition of the ALON M-GRIN technology into military systems.
3M Energy and Advanced Materials Division announced the rededication of its newly-expanded US Paints and Coatings Laboratory. With a significant investment in new analytical equipment and additional technical personnel, the 3M EAMD Paints and Coatings lab is now even better equipped to provide outstanding customer service for a growing global market. The expanded capabilities of the lab, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, will enable improved levels of technical support and formulation assistance to customers around the world. For example, 3M research specialists use American Society for Testing and Materials’ test methodology to evaluate the performance of formulations that incorporate 3M products, including 3M Ceramic Microspheres, 3M Fluorosurfactants, 3M Glass Bubbles and 3M Stain Resistant Products.
Alfa Aesar, a Johnson Matthey Company, has unveiled the Alfa Aesar App for iPhone, iPad and Android. Users of the app will have access to a fully-functional digital version of Alfa Aesar’s popular print catalog as well as reference materials. The Alfa Aesar app is available free to download from the iTunes Store and Google Play. In addition to a full listing of Alfa Aesar products and technical specifications, the iPad version will also provide users with an interactive periodic table that details properties for each element. The app also links to the Alfa Aesar website, allowing users to quickly purchase products they find within the app. Users will also be able to save catalog pages as PDFs, email content to a friend, or add notes and bookmarks.
Pioneering the field of digital microscopy, Keyence has released its latest microscope system, the VHX-2000. The VHX Series digital microscope was designed to alleviate the shortcomings of traditional, optical light microscopes - shallow depth-of-field, short working distance, lack of portability and versatility, sample limitations, etc. By integrating advanced zoom optics with a CCD camera, 17″ LCD monitor, light source, controller and analysis/reporting software, the VHX streamlines testing and improves the speed and efficiency of the inspection process. With a magnification range from 0.1x - 5000x, the VHX Series enables a wide range of microscopic observation from macro-scale stereoscopic imaging to the detailed analysis of an SEM. Many lighting techniques are also supported including bright and dark field, transmitted, polarized, and differential interference observation.
Diamon-Fusion International Inc., a global developer and exclusive licensor of patented hydrophobic nanotechnologies, announced the completion of a coating and glass restoration project for Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. The project consisted of applying DFI’s flagship Diamon-Fusion coating to over 15,000 square feet of glass at various sections of the newly constructed Kravis Center, designed by well-known architect Rafael Viñoly-Menendez. The center consists of a five-level, 162,000 square-foot academic and administrative facility, serving as the western gateway to the Claremont McKenna campus. Through DFI’s patented nanocoating process, the treatment to the glass facade creates a water repellent effect which enables ease of cleaning and protection against scratches, abrasion and environmental elements, therefore considerably reducing the overall costs of maintenance to the building. The nanocoating is optically clear, and does not affect the natural reflection of the glass exterior.
Coking and sintering are terms that usually conjure up images from iron and steelmaking and the heavy industrial equipment like blast furnaces and coke ovens. The delicacy of nanomaterials tends not to be one’s first thought. However, coking and sintering, it turns out, are big problems for high-temperature catalysis processes and the essential nanoscale catalyst particles.
Palladium nanoparticles are used to catalyze the oxidative dehydrogenation reaction of ethane to ethylene at 650°C, but they tend to “deactivate” over time, largely owing to coking and sintering. Coking is the accumulation of carbon on the metal, which blocks the metal surface from the reactants. Sintering is the formation of larger metal particles, which reduces the catalyst surface area and overall activity.
Previous efforts to avoid catalyst deactivation have focused on either coking or sintering, even though they often are simultaneous problems. A new paper published in Science by a team from Northwestern University, Argonne National Laboratory and Southeast University (China) reports that coatings of alumina nanolayers on palladium nanoparticles effectively addresses both problems.
Using atomic layer deposition, the group deposited 45 layers of alumina, making an amorphous coating thickness about eight nanometers thick. ALD has the advantage, according to the paper, of being “a self-limiting growth process for depositing highly conformal thin films on surfaces regardless of whether the materials are flat or possess high-aspect-ratio features, high surface area, or high porosity.” Forty-five layers were necessary because some sintering still occurred with 30 layers.
The catalytic reaction that converts ethane to ethylene is known to be susceptible to heavy coke formation, and the authors report, “the overcoating greatly reduced catalyst deactivation by coking and sintering at high temperatures.” Even better, the ethylene yield increased by more than tenfold. (The authors make no comment, but increasing the yield of an industrial-scale process by an order of magnitude would be huge.)
The palladium catalyst nanoparticles are mesoporous, with pore sizes averaging 6.6 nanometers. The mesoporosity disappears with the deposition of the coating, but calcining at 700°C (slightly above process temperatures) brings back the mesoporosity and new, two-nanometer-wide pores form in the coating. The coating porosity comes about from structural changes in the coating from dehydration, removal of carbon residues left by the ALD process and dewetting of the alumina from the palladium nanoparticles.
The coating porosity is one key to the system’s efficacy. The paper reports, “These pores made it possible for the embedded PD NPs to be accessible to reagents, while the overcoat imparted high thermal stability.”
A second mechanism is also suggested. The paper cites work by other researchers studying nickel catalysts, who found that carbon nanofibers (coking) initiate at the step edges of the nickel particle surfaces and that restructuring the step edge aided fiber growth. Ostwald ripening, too, is a factor, and therefore, “the edge and corner atoms play a central role in both sintering and coking,” and the coking and sintering resistance appears to happen “because the edge and corner atoms are selectively blocked and stabilized by alumina overcoats.”
Finally, the authors suggest that the alumina overcoat divides the palladium nanoparticle’s surfaces into “ensembles of Pd atoms that are too small to support coke formation.”
The work was supported by the Dow Chemical Company and DOE. International and domestic patents for “Metal Catalyst Composition” have been filed.
The paper is “Coking- and Sintering-Resistant Palladium Catalysts Achieved Through Atomic Layer Deposition,” by Junling Lu, Baosong Fu, Mayfair C. Kung, Guomin Xiao, Jeffrey W. Elam, Harold H. Kung, Peter C. Stair. DOI: 10.1126/science.1212906.