Construction

Vitro launches self-cleaning glass

By / February 9, 2009

Vitro SAB, one of Mexico’s largest glass manufacturers, is launching a new line of self-cleaning glass that’s said to improve visibility when it rains. Called “Ecopure,” the line is being rolled out through the firm’s European affiliate, Vitro Cristalglass. Sturdy, colorless and hydrophobic, Ecopure features a proprietary coating on one side that reportedly is able…

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Good vibrations lead to ‘smart’ roads and energy

By / December 27, 2008

Some people think the road to tomorrow’s most practical alternative energy source will be embedded with piezoelectric crystals capable of converting the mechanical strain of on-road vehicles into electrical current or voltage. Haim Abramovich, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, is one of these thinkers. Testing piezoelectrics in…

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Energy harvesting radio-based detection system unveiled

By / December 19, 2008

Kansas State University and Peregrine Semiconductors are demonstrating a battery-free technology that could improve embedded multi-sensor systems such as those that might be used to detect deterioration in busy bridge. “This type of radio technology may exist in your house, for instance if you have a temperature sensor outside that radios data to a display…

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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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