In honor of Earth Day, The American Ceramic Society launched a contest on Ceramic Tech Today inviting readers to share stories and anecdotes on the important role that ceramics play in green and renewable energy.
Congratulations to all that entered our Earth Day celebration contest. It’s time to announce the winners!
The grand prize winner is … *drum-roll please*
Materials Engineering, University of Alberta
New developments in materials engineering often lead to cleaner, greener technologies. One example is the work to develop new automotive technologies which use lighter materials to save on gas. The use of magnesium alloys in cars which have the potential to provide an even lighter solution compared with aluminum alloys and the developing SOFC (solid oxide fuel cell) industry are two examples. The high temperatures and thermal cycling of the fuel cells means that new ceramics that can withstand these conditions are needed. Even if scientists and engineers can develop a method of producing hydrogen cheaply, the materials for the fuel cells will require solid materials engineering to develop the ceramics for this. If we as materials scientists and engineers can solve this complicated problem then fuel cell cars may be in the near future.
Congrats, Jared! You won an H-Racer Fuel Cell remote control car!
Our two runners up are:
Laura Adkins and Michael Kottman. They won solar-powered robot kits!
I worked on a research project, several summers ago, with a company developing new uses for waste glass. My work was focused on refining the production parameters for a foamed glass product that absorbed water and could be used as a replacement for pearlite in potting soil. Not only does the product use waste glass regardless of composition, it replaces a material that otherwise would be strip-mined from the earth. Admittedly, this is just a small example of how materials research can benefit the environment, but every bit counts.
During the ‘Green’ revolution, materials have been and will be the driving force for market feasibility for new, cleaner technologies. From development of fuel cells to expansion of solar and wind power, material cost and lifespan can typically be identified as the limiting economic factor for feasibility. For example, cheaper, yet efficient, ceramics for use in solid oxide fuel cells are the only way to make SOFCs a readily available technology. Additionally, new choices for materials used in wind turbines would be able to minimize their downtime, which is one of the largest difficulties in cultivating wind power.
The response was great. We had 23 readers offer informative stories and lessons on the technological breakthroughs and barriers within the ceramics science community. Everyone who participated will be getting an appropriate Earth Day prize.
The rest of our contestants will receive an LED key light, hydro clock, UFO solar balloon, or a ceramic levitation disk magnet.
Keep an eye out for more contests and giveaways sponsored by ACerS. Get involved in the community discussions and you could win, too!
Click here to read more of the entries. Congratulations to all!