Materials & Innovations

ORNL confirms Spaniards’ ionic conductivity ‘superhighway’ that may boost SOFCs

By / September 15, 2008

Investigators at the Oak Ridge National Lab have confirmed startling characteristics in a solid electrolyte material we reported on several weeks ago, one that should allow solid oxide fuel cells to operate at temperatures hundreds of degrees lower than what is currently possible and boost the practicality of solid-oxide fuel cells. To recap, a research…

Read More

Iranian research getting noticed

By / September 13, 2008

Iran isn’t necessarily known for being a leader in ceramic and related material science, but some recent announcements suggest they shouldn’t be ignored either. For example, one group has successfully produced a sulfonic acid nano-catalyst with the ability to be recycled more than 20 times. They envision this material to be a replacement in industrial…

Read More

Advance makes thermoelectrics twice as efficient

By / September 12, 2008

Ohio State University researchers say they have invented a new material that “will make cars even more efficient by converting heat wasted through engine exhaust into electricity” and with “twice the energy efficiency” of any thermoelectric material currently on the market. Lead researcher Joseph Heremans, an OSU professor of mechanical engineering and physics, reports on the new…

Read More

Boron nitride may provide ‘clear’ solar panels

By / September 10, 2008

Work at Japan’s National Institute of Materials Science may allow solar cells to be built into you house and car windows, windshield and even your sunglasses. The NIMS group, led by Dr. Shojiro Komatsu, has been interested in BN cell because it would be transparent to the visible light spectrum. Researchers claims to have already…

Read More

Video of the week: Ceramic ball bearings

By / September 10, 2008

Ceramic ball bearings are saving energy and reducing the use of petroleum-based lubricants. Narrated by Richard Kay, CEO of the Palm Springs-based Ceramic Ball Bearings company, this video explains how bearings work and, more importantly, why ceramic bearings are proving to be superior to their metallic counterparts because of their ability to operate without grease…

Read More

Growing smart materials idea comes from trees

By / September 10, 2008

What is the best way to move substances from one place to another – a key consideration when developing complex new “smart” materials? Duke University researchers believe they have found the answer to this question in the canopy of trees. Adrian Bejan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, is the developer…

Read More

Sancon feeds China’s raw-material hunger with recycled glass

By / September 10, 2008

Shanghai-based Sancon Resources Recovery Inc. is a fast growing environmental services firm with operations in Australia and China. In 2007, the firm reportedly sold more than 25,000 tons of industrial waste – largely derived from plastic, cardboard and paper – to China’s ever-growing manufacturing market. Now Sancon has announced that it will develop glass-powder raw materials made from the recycled…

Read More

Better method for detecting tile defects

By / September 10, 2008

Researchers at the University of the West of England say they have developed an automatic system for detecting surface defects invisible to the naked eye in ceramic tiles. Their system can detect pinholes, crazing, rough or dull glazes and other imperfections – even on tiles that are textured or feature relief patterns – the researchers say.…

Read More

Collecting solar energy via asphalt roads

By / September 10, 2008

Can asphalt roads and parking lots be used as a ubiquitous and inexpensive means for collecting and utilizing solar energy? Researchers at Massachusetts’ Worcester Polytechnic Institute say: Yes. Led by Rajib Mallick, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, a WPI research team says it has found a way to use asphalt’s heat-absorbing properties as…

Read More

Brick, stained glass that cleans the air

By / September 5, 2008

We came across two very different stories about passive methods that can produce cleaner air – methods developed centuries apart. First, in a test that may lead to a breakthrough in the reduction of air pollution, the town of Hengelo in the Dutch province of Overijssel is paving one of its roads with concrete brick…

Read More