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Lighter, stronger steel, created in a flash

June 14, 2011 7:04 am | News | Comments

A Detroit entrepreneur surprised engineers at Ohio State University recently when he invented a heat-treatment that makes steel 7% stronger than any steel on record. An even bigger surprise was that his method, flash processing, takes less than 10 seconds.

Student strengthens concrete with nanosilica

June 14, 2011 6:54 am | News | Comments

Through his study of chemical reactions within concrete at the nanoscale, Jon Belkowitz, a doctoral student at Stevens Institute of Technology, plans to put an end to the problem of alkali silica reactivity, a chemical reaction that causes fissures in concrete as it sets.

Aldrich Materials finds collaborator on hydrogen storage R & D

June 8, 2011 12:21 pm | News | Comments

Aldrich Materials Science, a strategic technology initiative of Sigma-Aldrich Corp., today announced it has signed an agreement to collaborate on the scale-up and commercialization of next-generation boron hydride hydrogen-storage materials with Ilika, a UK-based advanced cleantech materials discovery company.

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China plans restructure of rare earths industry

June 8, 2011 11:56 am | News | Comments

One of China’s biggest, state-owned rare earths miners and producers has been given a monopoly over rare earth mining, processing, and trading in the northern part of the country. The move is an effort by the country’s government to bring the rare earths industry, which provides 97% of global supply, under tighter control.

Thomas Edison also invented the concrete house

June 2, 2011 6:16 am | News | Comments

Last month, a New Jersey Institute of Technology professor gave historians, who tend to think concrete architecture originated in Europe, some food for thought. According to Matt Burgermaster, Thomas Edison invented the single-pour system for building from concrete in 1917. Evidence remains in numerous examples of buildings in New Jersey, near where Edison’s factory was located.

World’s first large-scale OLED sphere installed in Japan

June 1, 2011 1:02 pm | News | Comments

The Geo-Cosmos is to be unveiled June 11 at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, Japan. Built by Mitsubishi Electric using 10,362 organic light-emitting diode panels, the giant 6-m globe will project clouds and other meteorological information obtained from satellites.

Age-old scratch test buttered up to make it tough

May 26, 2011 12:30 pm | by Denise Brehm | News | Comments

The “scratch test,” which tests a material’s resistance to deformation, might be the oldest known way to assess a material’s hardness and strength. Engineers at MIT decided to determine what exactly the scratch does assess. Using butter as a benchmark material, they found that the test does not actually measure material strength. But it does measure something else that is important.

Ceramic fracture resistance mechanisms provided by graphene

April 13, 2011 6:59 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers from the University of Arizona and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have increased the toughness of ceramic composites by more than 200% with the use of graphene reinforcements. The graphene additions arrest the formation of cracks in the ceramic, forcing them to change direction in three dimensions.

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Sigma-Aldrich and Kraig Biocraft sign agreement to make spider silk

April 13, 2011 5:29 am | News | Comments

Proprietary zinc finger technologies from biotechnology giant Sigma-Aldrich have been licensed by Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, which plans to back further R&D efforts and potentially commercialize the silk polymers in textile and biomedical fields.

Nanotechnology keeps the shine on silver

April 12, 2011 9:49 am | by Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent, and Ann Kellan, Science Nation Producer | News | Comments

Keeping silver’s tarnish at bay is a never-ending job, and every polish removes some of the precious metal. In an attempt to solve this millenia-old problem, researchers at the University of Maryland are testing a protective coating so thin it can’t be seen. Using atomic layer deposition, they apply nanometer-thick layers of aluminum oxide.

Materials science companies join to launch new conductive polymers

April 8, 2011 8:53 am | News | Comments

Aldrich Materials Science, a technology offshoot of Sigma-Aldrich, this week announced the start of a collaboration with Agfa Materials to expand their offering of Orgacon conductive polymers for use in high technology applications. The material is geared toward use in applications requiring high conductivity, such as tandem junction solar cells.

3D imaging technology boosts the use of mill broke in paper industry

April 5, 2011 7:18 am | Product Releases | Comments

A measurement device developed by Finland’s Numcore Oy is based on impedance tomography and produces a 3-D image in real time from the inside of pipelines and tanks used by the process industries. According to the company, the pulp and paper industry could benefit from its use by optimizing its utilization of broke, the discard paper produced from breaks in a continuous mill process.

Harper to fill low-cost carbon fiber fab contract for Oak Ridge

March 29, 2011 6:11 am | News | Comments

Valued at more than $12 million, the full pilot-scale carbon fiber process line from New York-based Harper International is part of the DOE’s effort to reduce the cost of carbon fiber and introduce as a high-strength component for a greater variety of products, such as automobiles. The new line at Oak Ridge National Lab will involve the use of low-cost, renewable lignin as a precursor.

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Waste meat and bone converted to plastic

March 28, 2011 6:46 am | News | Comments

In 1997, the U. S Food and Drug Administration banned the decades-old practice of feeding meat and bone meal to livestock. To find a use for the nine billion pounds of now-useless protein meal, researchers have come up with a new process that uses the waste to create bioplastic.

U.S. spent-fuel storage sites are packed

March 23, 2011 7:22 am | by Jonathan Fahey and Ray Henry, The Associated Press | News | Comments

The nuclear crisis in Japan has laid bare an ever-growing problem for the United States — the enormous amounts of still-hot radioactive waste accumulating at commercial nuclear reactors in more than 30 states. A state-by-state study of numbers obtained by the Associated Press finds that the U.S. has almost 71,862 tons of radioactive waste, now stored at power-plant sites.

Physicists develop scalable method for making graphene

February 25, 2011 6:08 am | News | Comments

A University of Pennsylvania research team was recently able to create high-quality graphene that is just a single atom thick over 95% of its area, using readily available materials and manufacturing processes that can be scaled up to industrial levels. The researchers demonstrate that single-layer-thick graphene can be reliably produced with CVD techniques at normal pressures if the metal sheets are smooth enough.

New Guill NanoFlow die creates a thousand-plus layers

February 17, 2011 7:19 am | Product Releases | Comments

Prior to the NanoFlow’s development, extrusion die technology was limited to about a dozen layers from a single extruder. Guill says that the NanoFlow creates layer thicknesses in the micrometer to nanometer range, greatly advancing tubular product manufacturing.

China announces shakeup of rare earths industry

February 16, 2011 4:53 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Rare earths are a group of 17 minerals that are used in products such as flatscreen TVs and lightweight batteries for mobile phones and hybrid cars. China accounts for almost all production of rare earths, and now plans to tighten control over producers and restrict output in a five-year development strategy.

Right wavelength gives researchers ability to laser weld plastic

February 1, 2011 9:31 am | News | Comments

Until now, fusing two transparent plastic components together by laser welding has been impossible. Researchers in Germany have cleared this hurdle by choosing the right wavelength: 1700 nm. The process is still limited, but the benefits to lab-on-a-chip technology should be substantial.

Conductive layer breakthrough opens the way to multifunctional transistors

January 17, 2011 12:09 pm | News | Comments

Researchers in France have succeeded in creating a conductive layer on the surface of strontium titanate, a substance that has been heavily researched because of its good conductivity behavior when doped. Until now, however, interfaces between this and other oxides have been difficult to produce.

Polymer shows amazing self-healing properties

January 13, 2011 4:45 am | News | Comments

Krzysztof Matyjaszewski and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon Univ. and Kyushu Univ. in Japan have built a polymer that repairs itself again and again when irradiated with UV light. It’s the first-ever material to feature capped covalent bonds that repeatedly reattach, allowing even fully separated pieces to be fused back together.

Argonne, LG cathode technology will help power the Chevrolet Volt

January 6, 2011 2:05 pm | by Angela Hardin | News | Comments

The lithium-ion battery cell technology that is powering GM’s Chevrolet Volt, the first mass-produced plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, has reached a licensing agreement between LG Chem and the DOE lab that patented the cathode material. LG Chem contributes SRS separator safety technology with the Argonne-developed cells.

Team develops functionally graded shape memory polymers

January 6, 2011 5:18 am | by Ariel DuChene | News | Comments

A research team at Syracuse Univ. has applied the concept of functionally graded materials to shape memory polymers. The polymers have previously been limited to two-way and three-way shape configurations. In the new process, sections of one shape memory polymer independently react to different temperature stimuli.

World’s first commercial graphene application

January 4, 2011 4:47 am | News | Comments

An unnamed manufacturer that produces actuator and sensing components for the touch screen market is reportedly the world’s first user of graphene in a commercial product. Angstron Materials, a maker of nano graphene platelets that is supplying the raw material for the new product, made the announcement.

Impregnating plastics with carbon dioxide

January 3, 2011 6:44 am | News | Comments

A new carbon dioxide impregnation process has been pioneered in Germany that is able to carry nanoparticles, like pigments, inside plastics under high pressure. The CO2 dissolves quickly, but the pigment remains. Tests conducted with silica and pharmaceutical agents were also successful, suggesting new cutomization and drug delivery applications.

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