MaterialNews archive - Information & Innovation
As part of our research and consulting activities we review a number of international sources. Every day, we include several press releases concerning material-based innovations in research, development and application in our portal. Feel free to use this source for your own research.
A team of Case Western Reserve University engineers has designed and fabricated integrated amplifier circuits that operate under extreme temperatures – up to 600 degrees Celsius - a feat that was previously impossible.
The silicon carbide amplifiers have applications in both aerospace and energy industries. The devices can take the heat of collecting data inside of nuclear reactors and rocket engines, for example.
Dr. Steven L. Garverick, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, describes the team's work in a paper he presented May 31 at the 2012 IEEE EnergyTech conference, held at Case Western Reserve. The paper is coauthored by Ph.D. candidate Chia-Wei Soong and Mehran Mehregany, director... more
Sandia has developed a unique materials approach to multilayered, ceramic-based, 3-D microelectronics circuits, such as those used in cell phones. The approach compensates for how changes due to temperature fluctuations affect something called the temperature coefficient of resonant frequency, a critical property of materials used in radio and microwave frequency applications.
Sandia filed a patent for its new approach last fall. The work was the subject of a recently completed two-year Early Career Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project that focused on understanding why certain materials behave as they do. That knowledge could help manufacturers design and build better products.
“At this point we’re just trying to demonstrate that the technology is practical,” Dai said. “Can we design a device with it, can we design it over and over again... more
System designed for household and neighborhood power generation
Individual homes and entire neighborhoods could be powered with a new, small-scale solid oxide fuel cell system that achieves up to 57 percent efficiency, significantly higher than the 30 to 50 percent efficiencies previously reported for other solid oxide fuel cell systems of its size, according to a study published in this month's issue of Journal of Power Sources.
The smaller system, developed at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, uses methane, the primary... more
A new type of durable, environmentally-benign blue pigment discovered at Oregon State University has also been found to have unusual characteristics in reflecting heat – it’s a “cool blue” compound that could become important in new approaches to saving energy in buildings.
The compound, which has now received patent approval, was discovered about three years ago almost by chance, as OSU scientists were studying some materials for their electrical properties.
Its potential use to help reduce heat absorption on the roofs and walls of buildings – which is an evolving field of considerable interest in warm regions where cooling is a major expense – adds another role for the material, which is now being considered for various commercial applications.
“This pigment... more
Stainless steel is the icon of cleanliness for home and commercial kitchens, restaurants, hospitals and other settings, but it can collect disease-causing bacteria like other surfaces if not cleaned often. Scientists now are reporting discovery, in the ACS journal Langmuir, of a practical way to make stainless steel that disinfects itself.
Christophe Detrembleur and colleagues explain that while stainless steel is prized for its durability, resistance to corrosion and ease of cleaning, it readily collects bacteria over time. The bacteria can form invisible colonies or biofilms – collections of colonies bound tightly to a surface – that spread disease. Existing ways of making stainless steel with an antibacterial surface are complicated, expensive and require the use of potentially toxic chemical substances. The authors sought an... more
Findings could have applications in high-speed communications fields.
Graphene has caused a lot of excitement among scientists since the extremely strong and thin carbon material was discovered in 2004. Just one atom thick, the honeycomb-shaped material has several remarkable properties combining mechanical toughness with superior electrical and thermal conductivity.
Now a group of scientists at Iowa State University, led by physicist Jigang Wang, has shown that graphene has two other properties that could have applications in high-speed telecommunications devices... more
Jet-injected drugs could improve patient compliance, reduce accidental needle sticks.
MIT researchers have engineered a device that delivers a tiny, high-pressure jet of medicine through the skin without the use of a hypodermic needle. The device can be programmed to deliver a range of doses to various depths — an improvement over similar jet-injection systems that are now commercially available.
The researchers say that among other benefits, the technology may help reduce the potential for needle-stick injuries; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that hospital... more
Multi-walled carbon nanotubes riddled with defects and impurities on the outside could replace some of the expensive platinum catalysts used in fuel cells and metal-air batteries, according to scientists at Stanford University. Their findings are published in the May 27 online edition of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
"Platinum is very expensive and thus impractical for large-scale commercialization," said Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford and co-author of the study. "Developing a low-cost alternative has been a major research goal for several decades."
Over the past five years, the price of platinum has ranged from just below $800 to more than $2,200 an ounce. Among the most promising, low-cost alternatives to platinum is the carbon nanotube – a rolled-up sheet of pure... more
Researchers are edging toward the creation of new optical technologies using "nanostructured metamaterials" capable of ultra-efficient transmission of light, with potential applications including advanced solar cells and quantum computing.
The metamaterial - layers of silver and titanium oxide and tiny components called quantum dots - dramatically changes the properties of light. The light becomes "hyperbolic," which increases the output of light from the quantum dots.
Such materials could find applications in solar cells, light emitting diodes and quantum information processing far more powerful than today's computers.
"Altering the topology of the surface by using metamaterials provides a fundamentally new... more
A novel approach to designing artificial materials could enable magnetic devices with a wider range of properties than those now available. An international team of researchers have now extended the properties and potential uses of metamaterials by using not one but two very different classes of nanostructures, or metamolecules.
The properties of a substance are largely dependent on its constituent atoms and the way that these atoms interact with each other. The finite number of atom types, however, imposes a limit on the range of properties that a conventional material can have. In contrast, a new class of engineered materials called metamaterials have no such limitation. Metamaterials are typically composed of an array of nanostructures that can interact with electromagnetic waves in much the same way as atoms. In addition... more
New inexpensive, environmentally friendly solar cell shines with potential
The limitations of conventional and current solar cells include high production cost, low operating efficiency and durability, and many cells rely on toxic and scarce materials. Northwestern University researchers have developed a new solar cell that, in principle, will minimize all of these solar energy technology limitations.
In particular, the device is the first to solve the problem of the Grätzel cell, a promising low-cost and environmentally friendly solar cell with a significant disadvantage:... more
To modify a metal surface at the scale of atoms and molecules — for instance to refine the wiring in computer chips or the reflective silver in optical components — manufacturers shower it with ions.
While the process may seem high-tech and precise, the technique has been limited by the lack of understanding of the underlying physics. In a new study, Brown University engineers modeled noble gas ion bombardments with unprecedented richness, providing long-sought insights into how it works.
"Surface patterns and stresses caused by ion beam bombardments have been extensively studied experimentally but could not be predicted accurately so far," said Kyung-Suk Kim, professor of engineering... more
Study shows that pavement deflection under vehicle tires makes for a continuous uphill drive that increases fuel consumption
A new study by civil engineers at MIT shows that using stiffer pavements on the nation's roads could reduce vehicle fuel consumption by as much as 3 percent — a savings that could add up to 273 million barrels of crude oil per year, or $15.6 billion at today's oil prices. This would result in an accompanying annual decrease in CO2 emissions of 46.5 million metric tons.
The study, released in a recent peer-reviewed report, is the first to use mathematical modeling rather than roadway... more
Researchers have shown how to create morphing robotic mechanisms and shape-shifting sculptures from a single sheet of paper in a method reminiscent of origami, the Japanese art of paper folding.
The new method, called Kaleidogami, uses computational algorithms and tools to create precisely folded structures.
"The approach represents new geometric algorithms and methods to create works of kinetic, or moving, art," said Karthik Ramani, Purdue University's Donald W. Feddersen Professor of Mechanical Engineering. "Scientists and engineers are often motivated by the beauty of artistic representations while artists and architectural designers want to harness concepts from... more
Friction stir welding uses frictional heating combined with forging pressure to produce high-strength bonds virtually free of defects. The welding process transforms metals from a solid state into a "plastic-like" state, and uses a rotating pin tool to soften, stir and forge a bond between two metal plates to form a uniform welded joint -- a vital requirement of next-generation space hardware.
"NASA is leveraging key technologies like friction stir welding from the Space Shuttle Program to design and manufacture the Space Launch System," said Todd May, SLS program manager at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "NASA's advancements in friction stir welding techniques used to manufacture the external tanks give SLS a head start in development while reducing program cost, increasing reliability and creating hardware with superior mechanical properties... more
Nontoxic composite under development at UB could replace commonly used toxic coatings
University at Buffalo researchers are making significant progress on rust-proofing steel using a graphene-based composite that could serve as a nontoxic alternative to coatings that contain hexavalent chromium, a probable carcinogen.
In the scientists' first experiments, pieces of steel coated with the high-tech varnish remained rust-free for only a few days when immersed continuously in saltwater, an environment that accelerates corrosion.
By adjusting the concentration and dispersion of... more
Research from North Carolina State University will allow the development of energy-efficient LED devices that use ultraviolet (UV) light to kill pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. The technology has a wide array of applications ranging from drinking-water treatment to sterilizing surgical tools.
“UV treatment utilizing LEDs would be more cost-effective, energy efficient and longer lasting,” says Dr. Ramón Collazo, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and lead author of a paper describing the research. “Our work would also allow for the development of robust and portable water-treatment technologies for use in developing countries.”
LEDs utilize aluminum nitride (AlN) as a semiconductor, because the material can handle a lot of power and create... more
Biosensor warns of toxicity in real time, says TAU researcher
From man-made toxic chemicals such as industrial by-products to poisons that occur naturally, a water or food supply can be easily contaminated. And for every level of toxic material ingested, there is some level of bodily response, ranging from minor illness to painful certain death.
Biosensors have long been used to safeguard against exposure to toxic chemicals. Food tasters employed by the ancients acted as early versions of biosensors, determining if a meal had been poisoned. More modern examples... more
New approach is a promising first step toward the development of tiny devices that harvest electrical energy from everyday tasks
Imagine charging your phone as you walk, thanks to a paper-thin generator embedded in the sole of your shoe. This futuristic scenario is now a little closer to reality. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a way to generate power using harmless viruses that convert mechanical energy into electricity.
The scientists tested their approach by creating a generator that produces enough current to operate a small liquid... more
A carbon nanotube sponge that can soak up oil in water with unparalleled efficiency has been developed with help from computational simulations performed at the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Carbon nanotubes, which consist of atom-thick sheets of carbon rolled into cylinders, have captured scientific attention in recent decades because of their high strength, potential high conductivity and light weight. But producing nanotubes in bulk for specialized applications was often limited by difficulties in controlling the growth process as well as dispersing and sorting the produced nanotubes.
ORNL's Bobby Sumpter was part of a multi-institutional research team that set out to grow... more
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Andriy M. Gusak et al.
Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
Norman C. Lee
Lou Honary et al.
John Wiley & Sons
Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA