CTT-other mat stories

Toward recyclable thermosets

(Science) Recycling codes on plastic food and beverage packaging serve to guide consumers’ daily decisions about the disposal of used packaging. However, technological obstacles remain for the recycling of more sophisticated polymeric packaging. Moreover, many electronic devices contain heat-resistant, chemically stable polymers called thermosets that are not amenable to conventional collecting and recycling. García et al. report a crucial step toward recyclable thermosets with the synthesis of ductile, insulating, temperature-resistant, and chemically inert thermosets that can be returned to their monomeric state through a pH trigger.

Power Japan Plus reveals new Ryden dual carbon battery

Japanese power company Power Japan Plus has announced the development of a new type of battery intended for use in automobiles and other applications, the Ryden or dual carbon battery. The company claims the battery charges 20 times faster than current lithium ion batteries, doesn’t heat up and so doesn’t require cooling, and is cost competitive with other current batteries used in cars and trucks. Representatives for Power Japan say the battery is actually something completely new—it’s made of carbon instead of nickel, cobalt, or manganese. 

Glasses-free 3-D projector (with video)

Over the past three years, researchers in the Camera Culture group at the MIT Media Lab have steadily refined a design for a glasses-free, multiperspective, 3-D video screen, which they hope could provide a cheaper, more practical alternative to holographic video in the short term. Now they’ve designed a projector that exploits the same technology. The projector can also improve the resolution and contrast of conventional video, which could make it an attractive transitional technology as content producers gradually learn to harness the potential of multiperspective 3-D.

Researchers find definitive evidence of how zeolites grow

Researchers have found the first definitive evidence of how silicalite-1 (MFI type) zeolites grow, showing that growth is a concerted process involving both the attachment of nanoparticles and the addition of molecules. Both processes appear to happen simultaneously. Because the researchers used a new technique allowing them to view zeolite surface growth in real time, the technique can be applied to other types of materials, as well.

Solar thermal panels: black is back!

Like most elements of a building, the lifespan of a solar thermal panel is between 25 and 30 years. To slow the aging process and maintain performance, a team of researchers has improved the black coating used for thermal sensors and developed an innovative process that deposits thin layers of materials that are more resistant, more selective and less toxic. It abandons the black chromium that was used for panels currently on the market in favor of a multilayer composite of cobalt (for corrosion resistance), manganese (for black), and copper (for thermal conductivity).

Silly Putty material inspires better batteries

Using a material found in Silly Putty and surgical tubing, a group of researchers at University of California, Riverside have developed a new way to make lithium-ion batteries that will last three times longer between charges compared to the current industry standard. The team created silicon dioxide (SiO2) nanotube anodes for lithium-ion batteries and found they had over three times as much energy storage capacity as the carbon-based anodes currently being used. This has significant implications for industries including electronics and electric vehicles, which are always trying to squeeze longer discharges out of batteries.