Useful news and interesting research:

Washington Mills decodes particle size conversion in fused minerals

Washington Mills has developed a particle size conversion chart to assist in selecting the correct grit size based on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Federation of European Producers of Abrasives (FEPA) guidelines for grading and sizing fused minerals. The particle size conversion chart compares millimeters, microns, and inches to sieve sizes and matches them to the corresponding grit size. For convenience, a PDF version is available for download. For questions regarding grit sizes, contact us the company directly at or 800-828-1666.

Global pigments market is expected to reach USD 14.7 Billion in terms of revenue and 4.4 million tons in terms of volume by 2018

According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research “Pigments (Organic, Inorganic & Specialty) Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Trends, Growth and Forecast, 2012 – 2018,” the global pigments market revenues are expected to reach USD 14.7 billion in 2018, growing at a CAGR of 4.5% from 2013 to 2018. In terms of volumes, pigments demand is expected to reach 4.4 million tons by 2018. Specialty pigments market is expected to have fastest growth potential among the global pigments market, growing at a CAGR of 5.4% during the analysis period. Availability of large variety of products and ability to encompass high and unique visual effects is primarily fueling the growth of the specialty pigments market. Increasing demand for paints and coatings, particularly from key end-use industries such as construction, is expected to drive demand over the next five years. Fluctuating and volatile prices of key raw materials including benzene and toluene coupled with an increasingly stringent regulatory environment are critical challenges to this industry.

Alta Devices achieves 30.8% efficiency record with new generation solar cell technology

Alta Devices disclosed that it has reached 30.8 percent solar cell efficiency. This new National Renewable Energy Laboratory-verified record resulted from the company’s first implementation of a new generation “dual junction” solar cell technology, which augments the company’s “single junction” technology. Higher efficiency directly translates into more electricity generated from smaller surface areas. Therefore, applying Alta’s highly efficient, very thin and flexible mobile power technology to consumer devices can extend the battery life of everyday products such as smartphones, tablets, keyboards, mouses, remote controls, and more. To help device manufacturers understand the benefits of using Alta’s material on their products, Alta created a calculator to compute the battery life extension for a variety of consumer mobile devices ( According to the calculator, a typical outdoor worker could realize 80 percent more battery life each day for their mobile phone. Or a student can get over 60 percent more battery life for his or her tablet device. These results can be achieved with minimal weight or form-factor penalty on the device design.

World’s first conceptual nuclear reactor design of high plutonium breeding by light-water cooling

Yoshiaki Oka, professor at Waseda University (Japan), and his research team developed a conceptual nuclear reactor design of high plutonium breeding by light water cooling for the first time. He devised a new fuel assembly where fuel rods are closely packed for reducing reactor coolant to fuel volume fraction for high breeding. With computational analysis he achieved high plutonium breeding with light water cooling. The study will open the way of commercialization of fast reactor and nuclear fuel cycle for nuclear energy based on mature light water cooling technologies. The results from the study were published in January issue of the Journal of Nuclear Science and Technology of Atomic Energy Society of Japan, entitled “Plutonium breeding of light water cooled fast reactors.”

Electronic sensors printed directly on the skin

(Technology Review) Taking advantage of recent advances in flexible electronics, researchers have devised a way to “print” devices directly onto the skin so people can wear them for an extended period while performing normal daily activities. Such systems could be used to track health and monitor healing near the skin’s surface, as in the case of surgical wounds. So-called “epidermal electronics” were demonstrated previously in research from the lab of John Rogers, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the devices consist of ultrathin electrodes, electronics, sensors, and wireless power and communication systems. In theory, they could attach to the skin and record and transmit electrophysiological measurements for medical purposes. During the two weeks that it’s attached, the device can measure things like temperature, strain, and the hydration state of the skin, all of which are useful in tracking general health and wellness. One specific application could be to monitor wound healing: if a doctor or nurse attached the system near a surgical wound before the patient left the hospital, it could take measurements and transmit the information wirelessly to the health-care providers.