Other materials stories that may be of interest | The American Ceramic Society

Other materials stories that may be of interest

Ford Solar car_lo res

Ford Solar car_lo res

Ford will introduce its solar-powered concept car at CES 2014 this week. The company says the technology could on average supply power for up to 75% of  trips. Credit: Ford Motor Company.

Let the sun in: Ford C-MAX Solar Energi concept goes off the grid, gives glimpse of clean vehicle future

Ford Motor Company introduced the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, a first-of-its-kind sun-powered vehicle with the potential to deliver the best of what a plug-in hybrid offers—without depending on the electric grid for fuel. Instead of powering its battery from an electrical outlet, Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept harnesses the power of the sun by using a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass, directing intense rays to solar panels on the vehicle roof. The result is a concept vehicle that takes a day’s worth of sunlight to deliver the same performance as the conventional C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, which draws its power from the electric grid. Ford C-MAX Energi gets a combined best miles per gallon equivalent in its class, with EPA-estimated 108 MPGe city and 92 MPGe highway, for a combined 100 MPGe. By using renewable power, Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is estimated to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions a typical owner would produce by four metric tons. SunPower, which has been Ford’s solar technology partner since 2011, is providing high-efficiency solar cells for the roof of Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept.

PPG donates $50,000 to new Discovery Place professional development center for educators

The PPG Industries Foundation has donated $50,000 to Discovery Place’s new professional development program for educators of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The new program, which will be housed in Charlotte, N.C., will be dedicated to providing pre-K through 12th-grade STEM educators with intensive learning experiences and ongoing support. PPG’s support will enable educators from schools, museums, science centers, and zoos throughout North and South Carolina to participate in  professional development programs offered through the new center. The programs aim to raise students’ abilities in STEM disciplines by helping educators develop STEM content knowledge, effective teaching practices and confidence in teaching STEM disciplines. Participants will have access to Discovery Place’s extensive natural sciences collection, hands-on labs and interactive exhibits, and partners from businesses, colleges and universities will help the center stay current on emerging STEM issues and knowledge. 


Supercomputers join search for ‘cheapium’

In the search for cheaper materials that mimic their purer, more expensive counterparts, researchers are abandoning hunches and intuition for theoretical models and pure computing power. In a new study, researchers from Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering used computational methods to identify dozens of platinum-group alloys that were previously unknown to science but could prove beneficial in a wide range of applications. The research is part of the Materials Genome Initiative launched by President Barack Obama in 2011. The identification of the new platinum-group compounds hinges on databases and algorithms that Curtarolo and his group have spent years developing. Using theories about how atoms interact to model chemical structures from the ground up, Curtarolo and his group screened thousands of potential materials for high probabilities of stability. After nearly 40,000 calculations, the results identified 37 new binary alloys in the platinum-group metals, which include osmium, iridium ruthenium, rhodium, platinum and palladium.

Treating chronic kidney disease using clay minerals

Bodies suffering from renal failure are unable to filter out phosphates in sufficient quantities, and the resulting excess is absorbed into the blood. The build-up of calcium-phosphate deposits in the blood vessels over an extended period can lead to arteriosclerotic heart disease and premature death. Compared to people with healthy kidneys, those with compromised renal function are at least ten times more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. To counteract this increased risk, people suffering from chronic renal insufficiency take phosphate binders with meals. In the stomach and intestines, these medications bind to phosphates from food so that they can be excreted undigested, instead. However, these medications, such as calcium and aluminum salts, cause serious side-effects including constipation, elevated blood calcium levels, and neurologic disorders. Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI in Rostock, Germany, teamed with FIM Biotech GmbH to develop an effective, tolerable therapeutic agent. Formed by marine deposits of volcanic ash 60 billion years ago, clay minerals found in the Friedland area of northeast Germany provide the basis for the new agent. After refining, laboratory trials and cell culture experiments demonstrated the high phosphate-binding capacity and tolerance rate of the clay minerals.

Euro AFM Forum 2014

The Euro AFM Forum is organized as a venue where researchers can share and exchange cutting-edge AFM research in both material and life science disciplines. The conference offers attendees three days of lectures by international keynote speakers, lectures selected by the conference committee, and a poster session and image contest. The Forum also features live equipment demonstration sessions where attendees can learn about new AFM technologies, “ask an expert,” and receive tips and tricks. The Euro AFM Forum is recommended for both experienced AFM users as well as for those scientists who wish to learn more about how AFM can contribute to their research.

SC woman charged with stabbing husband with a ceramic squirrel

(nbcnews.com) A South Carolina woman was held on a domestic abuse charge for allegedly stabbing her common-law husband with a decorative ceramic squirrel when he came home late on Christmas Eve without any beer.

The woman, Helen Ann Williams, 44, of an address on Clifton Street in North Charleston, was in the Charleston County jail on $10,000 cash bond, jail records showed Friday. She faces a hearing in Charleston County Circuit Court in April on a felony charge of domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature. According to the police report, Williams’ 41-year-old husband set out to buy some beer late Tuesday night, but he returned home empty-handed because the stores were closed. That enraged Williams, according to the report, and as her husband set about making himself a sandwich, she picked up the ceramic squirrel and conked him over the head with it. Then she stabbed him in the chest with it, the report said.

Just making sure you are paying attention!