Construction

More BAM stuff!

By / December 17, 2008

Readers have expressed significant interest in our Dec. 5 post on the world’s third hardest material – BAM. Currently being tested at DOE’s Ames Laboratory as a nanocoating for machinery, BAM is thought to reduce machine friction and wear and, thus, make machinery operate more smoothly and energy efficiently. Because inquiring minds wanted to know more about…

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Taking toilets where they’ve never been before

By / December 17, 2008

Duravit – a sanitaryware manufacturer with attitude – is on a mission. The company is determined to make toilets more visible and to change people’s attitudes about them so the humble “W.C.” gets more respect. This is the reason Duravit told famed French designer Philippe Stark to use a giant ceramic toilet as the centerpiece for its new design…

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Steel-industry ‘boom’ was even bigger bust for refractories

By / December 13, 2008

The steel-industry report in Iron & Steel Technology magazine’s Dec. 2008 issue documents some of the bad news that members of ACerS’ Refractory Ceramics Division are probably already aware of. The report – issued by World Steel Dynamics, the information-services firm that authors a monthly column on steel for IST – says that during the (now fading)…

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New pre-approved contracts speed access to DOE labs

By / November 24, 2008

DOE has developed two pre-approved, standardized contracts that will now make it easier for academia and industry to use its world-class research facilities. One of the model contracts covers proprietary research, while the other addresses non-proprietary scientific investigations. Both are applicable at all designated DOE user facilities and labs, requiring minimal – if any –…

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Waterless concrete to cut building costs on moon

By / November 23, 2008

If you think building a house on Earth is expensive, try building a space station on the moon. That’s what NASA hopes to be doing in 2020, as part of its plan to return to the moon – this time with a four-astronaut team that will live on the lunar surface for seven days or…

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Energy ‘harvesting,’ structure monitoring confab at Virginia Tech

By / November 15, 2008

Virginia Tech’s Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems is hosting its 4th Annual Energy Harvesting Workshop Jan 28-29 in Blacksburg, VA. Energy harvesting refers to efforts to tap unused power from industrial machines, human activity, vehicles, vibrating structures and various other environment sources. Workshop organizers say the events bring together leading industries, national labs,…

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Video of the week – aerogels

By / November 12, 2008

This week’s video is actually a three-in-one aerogel feature. Aerogel is wispy, translucent, highly insulating material often described as “solid smoke.” It’s worth noting that aerogel is not a new material and may date back to the 1930s. Many new applications and lower-cost production processes, however, are opening up. The first part of the video…

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Market for structural ceramics to reach $3.7 billion by 2012

By / October 31, 2008

A new report from BCC Research pegs the North American market for advanced structural ceramics at $2.7 billion in 2007 and predicts it will grow to $3.7 billion in 2012, for a compound annual growth rate of 6.0 percent. BCC breaks down the market by application into these segments: cutting tools and inserts; wear and corrosion;…

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Video of the week: The making of Solyndra solar tubes

By / October 29, 2008

We know from watching the blog post traffic that the post last week about the Solyndra’s cylindrical photovoltaic system was popular. Today, we offer a short video from Solyndra that illustrates some of the production (very robotic) and installation techniques. [flashvideo filename=wp-content/video/Solyndra2.flv /]

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Learning from lizards how to improve dry adhesives

By / October 28, 2008

What can a team of highly trained researchers from four different U.S. universities learn from the feet of a gecko lizard? According to the researchers, how to improve carbon nanotube-based material so that, for the first time, it demonstrates “directionally varied (anisotropic) adhesive force” and gripping power nearly three times the level of existing nanotube…

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