Materials

Tailoring Metal Oxides for Green Technological Applications

Harnessing solar energy can be as simple as tuning the optical and electronic properties of metal oxides at the atomic level by making an artificial crystal or super-lattice ‘sandwich.’ "Metal oxides can be tailored to meet all sorts of needs, which is good news for technological applications, specifically in energy generation and flat screen displays,” said Louis Piper, assistant professor of physics at Binghamton University.

Posted in: Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Metals, Energy Storage, Solar Power, Renewable Energy, Energy Harvesting, News

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High-Temperature Shape Memory Polymers

The shape memory behavior is provided by a non-polymer additive. Shape memory materials undergo physical conformation changes when exposed to an external stimulus, such as a change in temperature. Such materials have a permanent shape, but can be reshaped above a critical temperature and fixed into a temporary shape when cooled under stress to below the critical temperature. When reheated above the critical temperature (Tc, also sometimes called the triggering or switching temperature), the materials revert to the permanent shape.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Non-Toxic, Low-Freezing, Drop-In Replacement Heat Transfer Fluids

A non-toxic, non-flammable, low-freezing heat transfer fluid is being developed for drop-in replacement within current and future heat transfer loops currently using water or alcohol-based coolants. Numerous water-soluble compounds were down-selected and screened for toxicological, physical, chemical, compatibility, thermodynamic, and heat transfer properties. Two fluids were developed, one with a freezing point near 0 °C, and one with a suppressed freezing point. Both fluids contain an additive package to improve material compatibility and microbial resistance.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Modular Flooring System

The modular flooring system (MFS) was developed to provide a portable, modular, durable carpeting solution for NASA’s Robotics Alliance Project’s (RAP) outreach efforts. It was also designed to improve and replace a modular flooring system that was too heavy for safe use and transportation. The MFS was developed for use as the flooring for various robotics competitions that RAP utilizes to meet its mission goals. One of these competitions, the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), currently uses two massive rolls of broadloom carpet for the foundation of the arena in which the robots are contained during the competition. The area of the arena is approximately 30 by 72 ft (≈9 by 22 m). This carpet is very cumbersome and requires large-capacity vehicles, and handling equipment and personnel to transport and deploy. The broadloom carpet sustains severe abuse from the robots during a regular three-day competition, and as a result, the carpet is not used again for competition. Similarly, broadloom carpets used for trade shows at convention centers around the world are typically discarded after only one use. This innovation provides a green solution to this wasteful practice.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Materials That Enhance Efficiency and Radiation Resistance of Solar Cells

A thin layer (≈10 microns) of a novel “transparent” fluorescent material is applied to existing solar cells or modules to effectively block and convert UV light, or other lower solar response waveband of solar radiation, to visible or IR light that can be more efficiently used by solar cells for additional photocurrent. Meanwhile, the layer of fluorescent coating material remains fully “transparent” to the visible and IR waveband of solar radiation, resulting in a net gain of solar cell efficiency.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Guidelines for Thermoplastic Color Control and Change Management

In order to make good color specifications, the OEM should gain an understanding of color technology, color measurement, and methods available to control color. Color is an important factor in many aspects of medical devices, from design to how the device is used and by whom. In 2010, the FDA and regulatory bodies around the world increased their scrutiny of colors as additives in all materials and are paying special attention to the biologic testing performed on pigments used in plastic in an effort to reduce potential safety risks.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Plastics, FDA Compliance/Regulatory Affairs, Medical, Briefs, MDB

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Sandwich-Like Structures for Efficient Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Making hydrogen fuel cells practical on a large scale requires them to be more efficient and cost effective, and a research team from the University of Central Florida may have found a way around both hurdles.

Posted in: Alternative Fuels, Materials, Metals, News

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