AGC’s new chemically strengthened Leoflex glass coming June 1. Credit: AGC.

Here is what we are hearing:

Khosla joins Bill Gates & Total to back Liquid Metal Battery

(GigaOm) Liquid Metal Battery, a startup developing a battery for the power grid that already counted Bill Gates and oil giant Total as an investor, has now brought on another high profile backer: Khosla Ventures. The startup, which is the brainchild of MIT Professor Donald Sadoway and is based in Cambridge, plans to announce on Thursday that it has raised a Series B round of $15 million led by Khosla Ventures. Liquid Metal Battery is developing a battery for the power grid using molten salt sandwiched between two layers of liquid metal. The battery is still at least two years from commercialization, and the team has built a 16-inch prototype, though they might later scale that up to 36 inches. The company is betting that a battery based on liquid metal electrodes will be stable, scalable, and low cost enough that it could revolutionize grid storage.

Siam Cement Group receives Gold LEED rating

Testament to its leadership in sustainability and environment-friendly business operations, the
ASEAN conglomerate Siam Cement Group, has received a gold rating in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Building: Operations & Maintenance for its corporate headquarters. Moreover, highlighting its continued commitment to forwarding green operations in the Philippines with its subsidiary, Mariwasa Siam Ceramics, the Conglomerate has increased its stake in MSC from 46% to 83c. The conglomerate’s headquarters was recently renovated to be more energy-efficient and environment friendly. For their efforts, SCG won the Thai Energy Award in the retrofitted building category, and was also the first runner-up in the same category at the Asean Best Practice for Energy Efficient Building Awards in 2011.

Doulton brings over 185 years of ceramic filtration technology to, an authoritative resource for consumers regarding the importance of changing residential and commercial air filters and water filters, is a supplier of Doulton eco-friendly, reusable cartridge filters. Providing safe, healthy, great-tasting drinking water wherever and whenever you need it is the basic principle behind Doulton products. Fairey Industrial Ceramics Ltd. is the sole manufacturer of the world famous range of Doulton ceramic drinking water filters. Millions of Doulton ceramic filter candles are produced annually, which sells to 140 countries worldwide. Their global success is due to the versatility of the products by producing clean, healthy, great tasting water, at anytime and anywhere. Installing a home filtration system offers a greener and cost effective solution to having good quality drinking water. Bottled water is expensive to buy and produces a lot of plastic waste that is not an eco-friendly alternative. Whether a filter unit is needed underneath the kitchen sink, on the countertop, mounted on a wall or in the back of a water cooler, Doulton provides drinking water solutions for practically every situation.

Washington Mills expands aluminum oxide recycling services

Washington Mills has expanded its aluminum oxide recycling services for spent aluminum oxide blasting grit. Improvements have been made that allow Washington Mills to recycle higher volumes of dust and finer spent aluminum oxide blasting grit and powder than ever before. The previous system limited the amount of very fine material that could be recycled, but new developments have eliminated the grit size restrictions. Washington Mills recycles spent aluminum oxide blasting grain in a completely closed loop recycling system by utilizing its unique furnace technology. It recycles 100 percent of the material in a totally closed loop process that leaves no waste. Washington Mills offers companies holding spent blasting grain an environmentally friendly and cost effective way of getting rid of 100 percent of their spent grit that avoids landfill costs.

Morgan Technical Ceramics celebrates 50th anniversary of Auburn manufacturing site

Morgan Technical Ceramics proudly announced the 50th anniversary of its Auburn, Calif., site, which has grown from its humble beginnings in a garage to become a key supplier of engineered structural ceramic components used in the medical instrument, analytical equipment, power generation and aerospace markets. MTC Auburn is renowned for its ability to work with customers to develop and produce technically challenging parts, and for its outstanding customer service. Operations began in 1962 as R&W products, founded by Will Rogers and Bob Wire in a garage in Redwood City, California. Growing rapidly, the firm moved to the foothills of the Sierras in 1978, becoming the first high-technology company in Auburn. It was later purchased by Carpenter Technology, a US-based specialty alloy company. In 2008, the company was acquired by the Morgan Crucible Company Plc. and became a part of its Morgan Technical Ceramics business. The Auburn site has continued to expand its production of custom-made, high-precision ceramic components. The vertically integrated Auburn facility provides complete solutions to its customers, beginning with green machining and firing materials in-house and carrying the process through to the finished product, which could be a metalized product or a brazed assembly.

Gas hydrates research and characterization using calorimetry

Gas hydrates are an important, and growing area of research for widely different applications from flow assurance – especially when considering deep off shore exploration—methane recovery from large hydrate deposits and of course for storage and transportation of gases by creation of the such hydrates. Traditional techniques are severely restricted by sample nature, in particular the presence of particles or fines and calorimetry is becoming an ever more important technique. Calorimetry has been used on hydrates for a while, however with the development of a range of Calvet sensors Setaram has enabled the simulation of pressures up to 1000 bar, the use of truly representative samples and in some cases a bench top system that can be used in the field. Setaram presents a new free of charge applications summary, detailing important experimental parameters and some of the experiments produced in the field today.

AGC unveils Leoflex, a chemically strengthened specialty glass for versatile applications

Asahi Glass Co. announced it is releaseing Leoflex, a newly-developed chemically strengthened glass, on June 1. Leoflex is stronger than conventional soda-lime glass and is resistant to cracking, even with its reduced thickness, which will enable us to significantly reduce the weight of glass. With Leoflex, AGC will respond to the need for more lightweight glass of all sizes in a wide range of applications such as solar panels, building materials, and lighting. AGC has been supplying soda-lime glass in various markets such as construction, automobile, solar power generation. AGC will capitalize on its understanding of the needs and technical expertise in these markets and promote the use of the Leoflex specialty glass that enables weight reduction across a wide range of applications, such as solar panels, building materials, and lighting.

Take the guess work out of film testing!

Brookfield Engineering Laboratories offers the TA-FSF Film Support Fixture for their CT3 Texture Tester. The Film Support Fixture is designed to test the rupture strength, resilience and relaxation properties of thin films and other similar products. Brookfield’s TexturePro CT software, when used with the CT3 Tester, enables the operator to automate test procedures and generate valuable data for analyzing the strength of film products. CT3 Tester is the best value in a stand-alone instrument for physical testing. It combines simplicity of operation with expanded test-method capability and operates in both compression and tension modes. A wide variety of standard probes, (cones, cylinders, blades, balls, punches) and fixtures (extrusion cell, shear cell, grips, etc.) are available for a multitude of applications.

New white paper: Quantifying the impact of humidity on powder properties

New experimental data from Freeman Technology demonstrate how dynamic, shear and bulk powder testing can be applied to quantify the impact of humidity on powder behaviour, supporting the need to develop effective strategies for moisture control and process optimization. “Quantifying the impact of humidity on powder properties,” by Brian Armstrong (Powder Technologist) and Jamie Clayton (Operations Manager), Freeman Technology, is now available for download at the company website. Of the many factors that influence powder behaviour, moisture, or humidity, is perhaps one of the most instantly recognised and potentially one of the most problematic. Adding even small amounts of water to a powder can transform its properties. The challenge for formulators and process engineers is to understand the extent to which a powder will take up moisture and, more importantly, how this will affect the powder and its performance. The new white paper explores the impact of humidity through the application of dynamic, shear and bulk property testing using Freeman Technology’s FT4 Powder Rheometer. Together these techniques reliably quantify how powder behaviour changes as a result of moisture uptake, providing the comprehensive insight needed to develop effective strategies for moisture control and process optimization.