Military

Army intros new energy program, test projects

By / December 4, 2008

The United State Army’s newly introduced energy plan calls for the construction of what could be the world’s most powerful solar power plant and initiation of four additional pilot projects designed to reduce the Army’s dependence on fossil fuels. New pilot projects: Announced in early Oct., the plan has established a Senior Energy Council, which will act…

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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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Video of the week – Physics 101: What our next president needs to know

By / November 5, 2008

Apropos of this week’s event in the U.S., this week’s video is based on what’s been called “the best class at Berkeley.” It is taught by Richard Muller, and the approximately one-hour lecture and half-hour Q&A is sponsored by Univ. of California, Berkeley’s Friends of Science. Muller is a professor at Cal where he specializes…

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Group thinks its ‘black silicon’ boosts photoconductive gain

By / November 3, 2008

Why settle for one photon when you can get 200-300? That’s the idea behind a new material being developed by SiOnyx, a new Massachusetts company. The company using a method to reshape the surface of silicon to create cones that it says makes the material effectively function as “sponge for light.” is making a new type of silicon…

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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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SOFC-powered robot passes proof-of-concept tests

By / October 24, 2008

No, the little bot in the picture above is not a fugitive from a Star Wars movie remake. It’s actually an iRobotPackBot powered by a hybrid solid oxide fuel cell system developed by Adaptive Materials Inc. According to an AMI press release, the Ann Arbor, Mich. firm recently completed tests that proved its hybrid SOFC system…

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Missouri S&T working on bringing hydrogen to market

By / August 25, 2008

A group of researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology have received funding from the DOE to develop a real-world overview of the possible uses for hydrogen in the relatively near future. “We need to be realistic about what we can and can’t do with hydrogen right now,” says Dr. Scott Grasman, associate professor…

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Ceramic sensor for spacecraft finding wider uses

By / August 18, 2008

The European Space Agency reports that small oxygen sensors developed for spacecraft re-entry vehicles are finding applications in a variety of other fields, including healthcare, pollution control and fuel cell operations. According to ESA, the birth of these special sensors began at the University of Stuttgart’s Institute of Space Systems, where researchers were trying to…

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