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New imaging technique homes in on electrocatalysis of nanoparticles

August 28, 2012 5:20 am | News | Comments

By modifying the rate at which chemical reactions take place, nanoparticle catalysts fulfill myriad roles in industry, the biomedical arena, and everyday life. Finding new and more effective nanoparticle catalysts to perform applications in these areas has become vital. Now, a researcher at Arizona State University has found a clever way to measure catalytical reactions of single nanoparticles and multiple particles printed in arrays, which will help to characterize and improve existing nanoparticle catalysts.

ChemCam laser sets its sights on first Martian target

August 17, 2012 10:08 am | News | Comments

Members of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover ChemCam team have received the first photos from the instrument's remote microimager. The successful capture of ChemCam's first 10 photos sets the stage for the first test bursts of the instrument's rock-zapping laser in the near future.

Seventeenth century shipwreck to be freeze-dried, rebuilt

August 15, 2012 8:16 am | by Michael Graczyk, Associated Press | News | Comments

More than three centuries ago, a French explorer's ship sank in the Gulf of Mexico, taking with it France's hopes of colonizing a vast piece of the New World—modern-day Texas. Like La Salle in 1685, researchers at Texas A&M University are in uncharted waters as they try to reconstruct his vessel with a gigantic freeze-dryer, the first undertaking of its size.

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SMART Position Sensor, Rotary Configuration

August 3, 2012 8:49 am | Product Releases | Comments

The new SMART position sensor provides a high level of accuracy needed for transportation and industrial applications, measuring values down to 0.01 degree. Potential transportation applications include steering angle, articulation angle, and boom arm detection, while industrial customers could use it in solar panels or wind turbines.

High-performance magnetic coupling research wins Navy grant

August 2, 2012 5:38 am | News | Comments

Traditional mechanical couplings and gears require lubrication, generate heat, emit vibrations and sound, suffer from structural wear and require significant maintenance. Correlated Magnetics Research has been tasked with a Small Business Innovation Research grant to design and develop high-torque magnetic couplings to produce quiet, maintenance free, power-transfer linkages for Naval systems and industrial applications.

Off-shore use of vertical-axis wind turbines gets a closer look

July 31, 2012 8:34 am | News | Comments

The economics of offshore windpower are different from land-based turbines, due to installation and operational challenges. Vertical axis wind turbines could offer the best solution thanks to several factors, including a lower center of gravity and a bottom-mounted drivetrain. But Sandia National Laboratories engineers are looking how to scale up product of the turbines’ curved blades, which are difficult to manufacture.

Simple square chart helps generate better product design

July 30, 2012 9:59 am | by Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office | News | Comments

More and more companies are turning to simplified procedures to help tackle complex product design tasks. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, work on Design Structure Matrix analysis is helping heavyweight companies improve their products, production lines and organizations by transforming product design into a productive routine.

R & D 100 Winners Seek Success with Partners

July 27, 2012 8:43 am | by R&D Editors | Articles | Comments

R&D laboratories take on challenges of terrorism, energy, and communications in the new millennium.

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A green future for California high-speed rail?

July 27, 2012 7:30 am | by Sarah Yang | News | Comments

Researchers recently published a report that compared the future sustainability of California high-speed rail with that of competing modes of transportation, namely automobile and air travel. They determined that, in terms of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, a mature high-speed rail system wins out when using greener electricity. This was true even after accounting for the emergence of more fuel-efficient airplanes and automobiles.

Engineers transform machine to make runways safer

July 24, 2012 8:16 am | News | Comments

Students at Clemson University participated in an effort to retrofit a section of an airport runway that halts overrun aircraft. Because the task required the drilling of more than 80,000 holes in concrete, the students came up with a labor-saving solution: They successfully adapted a mobile drill press for the laborious task.

DARPA creates program to promote robotic actuation efficiency

July 5, 2012 7:41 am | News | Comments

Humans and animals have evolved to consume energy very efficiently for movement. If robotic actuation can be made to approach the efficiency of human and animal actuation, the range of practical robotic applications will greatly increase. To help this progression, DARPA has created the M3 Actuation program with the goal of achieving a 2,000% increase in the efficiency of power transmission and application.

Technique allows simulation of noncrystalline materials

June 22, 2012 3:36 am | by David Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A multidisciplinary team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in Spain has found a new mathematical approach to simulating the electronic behavior of noncrystalline materials, which may eventually play an important part in new devices including solar cells; organic LED lights; and printable, flexible electronic circuits.

System improves automated monitoring of security cameras

June 4, 2012 9:27 am | News | Comments

Police and security teams guarding airports, docks, and border crossings from terrorist attack or illegal entry need to know immediately when someone enter a prohibited area. A network of surveillance cameras is typically used to monitor these at-risk locations. Now, a system being developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology can perform security analysis more accurately and in a fraction of the time it would take a human camera operator.

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An invention with impact

May 31, 2012 8:40 am | News | Comments

What do you get when you combine a slingshot, a fish tank, a stack of 2 by 4s, and five engineering students determined to help the United States Air Force? For Team CADET at Rice University, the answer is a device to stop high-velocity projectiles without destroying them.

Lower energy could lead to more biological imaging at LCLS

May 29, 2012 11:15 am | News | Comments

While SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory's Linac Coherent Light Source was designed to push the limits as a high-energy X-ray laser, users' requests led staff at the facility to successfully step it back to a lower minimum energy for some experiments. And a successful test proved that the X-ray laser could dip more deeply into the so-called "water window," an energy regime useful for biological imaging.

Coalition to develop world’s cleanest passenger train

May 22, 2012 12:57 pm | News | Comments

Plans to create the world's first carbon-neutral higher-speed locomotive were unveiled this week by the Coalition for Sustainable Rail, which has the goal of proving the viability of solid biofuel—torrefied biomass—and modern steam locomotive technology. The first step in those plans is to break the world speed record for steam trains.

Rover on the move after surviving Martian winter

May 10, 2012 6:28 pm | News | Comments

After spending nearly five months conducting experiments in one spot, the NASA rover moved for the first time this week, rolling off the rock outcrop where it hunkered down for the Martian winter. Engineers will check its power supply before directing it north to study dust and bedrock.

Improved lubrication from polymers and water, not oil

May 8, 2012 11:34 am | News | Comments

Mineral oil is typically used as a cooling lubricant for machining hard metals and for tool-making machinery on which tools are manufactured, but engineers are now offering an alternative to fossil fuel-based oils that often transport very little heat. The new aqueous biopolymer solutions are actually based on water, which is no worse a lubricant than oil if the right additives are used.

Testing technology finds assembly errors quickly

April 30, 2012 9:36 am | News | Comments

If errors creep in during the assembly of components for automobiles, costly post-processing is often the consequence. Automatic testing is difficult, especially where individual products are concerned. Now, researchers in Germany are new testing system that is flexible and economical, even for smaller production runs.

Leak Testing System Shortens Cycle Time

April 30, 2012 9:02 am | Product Releases | Comments

InterTech Development Company has designed an in-line solution around the versatility of their M1075 leak tester. The new system shortens test cycle time and saves costs for diesel engine production lines by finding leaks faster.

Nanotech gets boost from nanowire decorations

April 27, 2012 5:59 am | News | Comments

Engineers at Stanford University have found a novel method for decorating nanowires with chains of tiny particles to increase their electrical and catalytic performance. The new technique is simpler, faster, and provide greater control than earlier methods and could lead to better batteries, solar cells, and catalysts.

Students automate process of lengthening children’s limbs

April 24, 2012 6:04 am | by Mike Williams | News | Comments

A team of Rice University students has invented a machine designed to improve the process of correcting bone deformities in children. Typically, bone correction devices are manually operated, which children must remember to use and which introduces the possibility of damaging fragile tissues and nerves. The new automated linear lengthener avoids these risks.

New Life for 3D Printing

April 19, 2012 12:03 pm | by James F. Bredt, PhD, Chief Materials Scientist, Viridis3D LLC, Lowell, Mass. | Articles | Comments

Mature additive manufacturing technologies present new opportunities for R&D prototypes, high-end manufacturing facilities, and hobbyists alike.

Finding ET may require giant robotic leap

April 18, 2012 12:36 pm | News | Comments

Autonomous, self-replicating robots—exobots—are the way to explore the universe, find and identify extraterrestrial life and perhaps clean up space debris in the process, according to a Penn State engineer, who notes that the search for extraterrestrial intelligence—SETI—is in its 50th year.

Digital manufacturing leaders Stratasys and Objet to merge

April 18, 2012 5:52 am | News | Comments

Stratasys, Inc., a manufacturer of 3D printers and production systems for prototyping and manufacturing applications, and privately-held Objet Ltd., a manufacturer of 3D printers for rapid prototyping, have approved a definitive merger agreement under which the companies would combine in an all-stock transaction worth approximately $1.4 billion.

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