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(MaterialsViews) BASF is investing in the construction of a production plant for specialty zeolites at its Ludwigshafen headquarters in Germany. The plant is expected to start up operations in the first quarter of 2014, significantly increasing BASF’s production capacity for specialty zeolites. Among other applications, the specialty zeolites produced by BASF’s Chemical Catalysts business are used as key raw materials in the diesel automotive emissions catalysts produced by the company’s Mobile Emissions Catalysts business. Increasingly stringent automotive emissions regulations such as the US 2010 standard and the upcoming EURO 6 standard are leading to rising demand for advanced exhaust-gas treatment catalysts, such as those produced at BASF’s emissions catalysts production sites in Huntsville, Alabama, USA; Nienburg, Germany; and Shanghai, China. ”This investment allows us to backward integrate our production processes for leading-edge exhaust-gas treatment systems,” says Hans-Peter Neumann, BASF Senior Vice President, Process Catalysts and Technologies. In addition to automotive emissions solutions, the new specialty zeolite plant will support applications in the chemical, petrochemical and refining sectors. BASF currently produces specialty zeolites at its operating site in Seneca, South Carolina, USA, where production capacity is also being expanded.
A large-scale modernization program at Isover’s glass wool plant in Orange (France) was completed this year. Over €20 million was invested in rebuilding the furnace from scratch and modernizing the related machinery and equipment. The new furnace’s power supply was completely overhauled, allowing its power to be increased and its energy consumption to be cut. Its capacity was not extended. Significant work was also carried out on production lines.
Reduce your consumable cost by nearly 70 percent with the new Horiba “Agile” zeta potential cells. Electrode fouling and surface degradation are well-known issues that limit the lifetime of zeta potential electrodes, thereby increasing measurement costs. By using an advanced graphite material with a high surface area and uniform composition, Horiba has developed an electrode assembly that is resistant to fouling, easy to clean, and does not suffer from surface degradation. This cell has been dubbed the Agile cell, Advanced Graphite Improved Lifetime Electrode. A typical lab performing zeta potential measurements with the Agile cell can expect a two-thirds reduction in consumables spending compared to traditional precious metal electrodes. The cell is available exclusively for use with the Horiba SZ-100 nanoparticle analyzer. The SZ-100 can be used for studies investigating optimum pH, salt, and surfactant concentration for formulation or processing of nanoparticles, emulsions, colloids or polymers. In addition, the SZ-100 determines particle size by dynamic light scattering. Thus, the instrument is useful for new product formulation and as an easy-to-use QC tool where the surface characteristics of particles such as titanium dioxide, alumina and zinc oxide are critical.
Owens Corning announced that its new furnace in its Tlaxcala, Mexico, glass reinforcements facility is operational. This is the latest step the company has taken to increase its global capacity to produce composite material.The Tlaxcala plant expansion will support increased manufacturing of Owens Corning’s corrosion-resistant Advantex glass and will initially produce assembled roving and dry-use chopped strands. The new furnace more than doubles production capacity at the facility.
(International Construction) The input prices for materials used by contractors in the US rose +1 percent year-on-year to August, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. The steepest price rises compared to a year ago were for gypsum products and architectural coatings. There have been rises of the order of +2.0 percent for concrete products, while lumber and insulating materials were up +6.9 percent and +7.1 percent respectively. Meanwhile, contractors have seen prices fall for several groups of materials, including asphalt roofing materials and various metallic construction products.
A leading manufacturer of hexagonal boron nitride, Saint-Gobain Ceramic Materials has added a new product AX15 to its Combat family of high-purity hot-pressed boron nitride products. Combat AX products, hot-pressed 99.7+ percent purity hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), exhibit exceptionally high thermal shock resistance, electrical insulation over 1,800°C, and high thermal conductivity. The most popular product in the family, AX05, with its highest density and strength has been the material of choice for years in kiln furniture and furnace construction. The newest addition, AX15, with its uniquely open porosity, permits flow of process gases where outgassing is required, making it particularly suitable for direct contact, high-temperature environments such as crucibles, plates, setters, supports and muffles for aluminum nitride, silicon nitride and SiAlON ceramic sintering. Like all other Combat hot-pressed products, AX family of boron nitride products can be easily machined into intricate shapes with tight tolerances using standard machining tools.
The board of directors of Sigma-Aldrich Corp. has elected Michael Marberry as a director of the company. Marberry is president and CEO of J.M. Huber Corp., a diversified, multinational supplier of engineered materials, natural resources and technology-based services to customers spanning many industries from paper and energy to plastics and construction. In announcing Marberry’s election to the board, Rakesh Sachdev, president and CEO of Sigma-Aldrich, said, “His broad background and international experience in leading a successful global company and in expanding into applied chemical and industrial markets will help Sigma-Aldrich in strategic efforts to enhance its leadership position in life science and high technology.”
Union Process Inc., known globally as a manufacturer of particle size reduction and dispersing equipment as well as related services for a broad range of research and industrial applications, has built an S-400 batch, wet-grinding attritor for a customer in the roofing industry. The S-400 represents the largest batch attritor ever built by the 66-year-old company. Batch Attritors have the advantage of grinding material up to ten times faster than traditional ball mills. They are simple to operate, energy efficient and do not require premixing. The largest ever batch Attritor has a new frame design utilizing a pivoting drive cantilever which allows for easy removal of the agitator shaft for maintenance and cleaning. The Attritor features a 400 HP TEFC inverter duty motor with a heavy-duty variable frequency drive controller. The large tank accommodates 12,000 lbs. of through-hardened carbon steel grinding media.
UPDATE: We just got word that the July 16 webinar has been rescheduled for Tuesday, August 21 at 9:00 a.m. PDT. So, it’s not too late if you were on vacation or with us at ICC4 in Chicago. Registration is required, however, all July registrations will carry over. If you are not already registered, you can do so here.
Marco Rolandi believes most students, postdocs, engineers and scientists in general are “clueless” about how to use illustrations to communicate their findings to each other and to the general public. Rolandi, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Washington, realized that most in his field practice a “trial-and-error” approach to design instead of learning and practicing modern graphic communications techniques — and decided to do something about it.
He sought out the help of Karen Cheng, an associate professor and chair, division of design, in the School of Art at UW. Together with cognitive psychologist Sarah Pérez-Kriz, Rolandi and Cheng have been working to systematize some design lessons and help those in the science and engineering fields to elevate their thinking and skills in creating effective scientific charts, illustrations, schematics, etc. Last year, for example, the trio published a short essay in Wiley’s Advanced Materials, “A Brief Guide to Designing Effective Figures for the Scientific Paper” (doi: 10.1002/adma.201102518), which we summarized last fall when the paper came out in this post.
Now, Rolandi and Cheng have teamed up with Wiley’s MaterialsViews website (one of our favorites) to present a free webinar on designing scientific figures July 16, 2012, starting at 1 pm EDT (10 am PDT, and 19:00 CEST).
Interested? If so, sign up here.
And, speaking of interesting design concepts, I personally cannot wait to see what gets presented at what I believe is the first sci-tech, high-tech poster session (the Interactive Technology Forum) that will be featured at the upcoming ICC4 conference in Chicago. As I understand it, at least 50 presenters have signed up to participate in the ITF, and hopefully the concept will catch on. Who knows, in a few years and Rolandi and Cheng might be having to expand their teachings from two dimensions to three!
Textile structures made from silicon carbide fibers are very interesting for manufacturing of fiber reinforced high temperature resistant ceramic matrix composites materials. To produce such textile structures a one or multi-step manufacturing processes like braiding, weaving, warp, or weft knitting is necessary. Depending on the fiber packing density and orientation of the fabric structure, the stiffness, deformation, and fracture behavior of the fabric structure vary in a wide range.
In contrast to woven fabrics, which exhibit a low drapability and stretchability in different directions, warp-knitted fabrics are formed by creating loops which give rise for high flexibility and deformability. However, a high Young’s modulus and low deformability of the carbide fibers makes loop formation during knitting difficult. Bending of fibers is also affected by the friction which is caused by ribbing between fibers and the machine parts and by the friction between the fibers inside the roving.
Recently, scientists from the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, demonstrated the manufacturing of knitted fabrics made of silicon carbide fiber. In an article that appears in Advanced Engineering Materials, “Manufacturing of Silicon Carbide Knit Fabrics” (doi:10.1002/adem.201100192), they show how they derived the critical bending loads from fiber knot and loop testing in order to optimize yarn pretension, working speed, and take up speed during knitting processing. Subsequently, they tested and examined the mechanical behavior of the knit fabric under tensional load.
The investigations show that fiber fracture during knitting can be caused by torsion, bending, or tension. The German researchers considered fiber bending as the critical loading condition imposing boundary condition on the knitting process. Reduction of interfiber friction surface sizing was found to be a critical step in order to produce a continuous knit structure.
The scientists modified the processing conditions for knitting and reduced buckling and friction acting on the silicon carbide fiber rovings. Using penetrating oil the points of largest friction between fibers and critical knitting elements were lubricated which decreased fiber fracture. Compared to woven silicon carbide fabric structures the knitted fiber perform offers a superior flexibility, wider range of pore size and a higher degree of drapability.
Martin Grolms writes for MaterialsViews, where this post originally appeared.
For many high-temperature applications, ceramics are indispensable. No other engineering materials offer such high stiffness, strength, hardness and durability in the same package. The major difficulty in applying ceramic materials is their relatively low fracture toughness. Ceramic materials are generally vulnerable to tensile stresses and impact loading. Cracks propagate with high speed, which leads to sudden failure of ceramic components.
The use of segmented, rather than monolithic, structures is an appropriate way to cope with this low fracture toughness. Cracks that do occur remain confined within a single segment. The segments can be held together by a binder phase, keys, and connectors or by virtue of special geometry and arrangement of the segments.
A group of researchers from the University of Bremen, Germany, the German Aerospace Center and the Monash University in Clayton, Australia, studied the force-fit connection of discrete ceramic components by means of geometrically interlocking surfaces. These surfaces possess a concavo-convex topology permitting assembly of structures in which each individual element is kinematically locked by its neighbors.
The researchers produced the elements by freeze gelation of ceramic slurries, which enable a near net shape and a low shrinkage. The freeze gelation process involves rapid freezing of colloidal dispersed slurries containing ceramic particles and subsequent drying and sintering. This method is cost-effective and offers many possibilities to control the production of ceramic parts.
For comparison, the group tested solid plates of the same ceramic material in the same loading mode. During loading, the planar surfaces within the interlocked structure lose contact to their neighbors. But the concavo-convex surfaces remain in contact. Cracks are localized within individual blocks. As no binder phase connects the constituent blocks, the weakest link principle does not fully apply to an interlocked structure. Thus, these structures allow for large deformations and are tolerant to missing or destroyed elements.
However, the solid plate could not withstand deformation beyond the point of maximum load, the segmented ones were able to maintain their structural integrity and stay deformable well beyond the point of maximum load. The assemblies of interlocked ceramic elements can withstand flexural deflections up to a ten-fold of those the solid plate from the same material can sustain.
A paper on this work, “Mechanical properties of topologically interlocked structures with elements produced by freeze gelation of ceramic slurries,” appears in Advanced Engineering Materials (doi:10.1002/adem.201100244)
(Martin Grolms writes for MaterialsViews.com)
Via MaterialsViews.com, Jeffrey Moore and Scott White, professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, talk us through their newest publication, “Three-Dimensional Microvascular Fiber-Reinforced Composites“.
Moore and White discuss their method for fabricating microvascular networks in fiber-reinforced composites Their method relies on sacrificial fibers woven into fiber preforms that, when removed, create 3D microvascular networks inside the composite material. By circulation of liquids in the resulting channels, a huge variety of new functionalities can be engineered (imagine, for example, coolants, medical fluids, ferroelectric materials, self-healing compounds). They say that the simplicity, robustness, scalability and reliance on readily available components make this method compatible with composite manufacturing methods. White uses the analogy of a stem cell in biology, noting the composite is “pluripotent” and says, “It takes on the functionality of whatever fluids we introduce to it.”