Tech Exchange

Palladium Membranes Separate Hydrogen

Compared to conventional technology, palladium membranes offer an increased flow of high-purity hydrogen from a gaseous stream. The membranes are prepared by electroless- deposition plating of Pd (or Pd alloy) on a porous support. The process results in a unique hexagonal structure. High flux translates to smaller separators or lower cost for the same purity of hydrogen.

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Preservation of High-Water-Content Fruit

As fresh produce undergoes a number of processes from point of harvest to final products like yogurt, ice cream, pasta sauces, and frozen meals, its natural characteristics are altered. To ensure a fresh taste and texture, a company seeks technology, ingredients, or processes that preserve the natural characteristics of fruit or vegetables throughout processing. Solutions that enable frozen fruit or vegetables to have soft, fresh-like texture, appearance, color, and flavor characteristics are of high interest. Potential options include alternative freezing processes, partial dehydration/drying, water content modifiers, and ingredients or coatings to encapsulate structure.

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Removal of Kinetic Energy Associated with Transporting Light

A client seeks innovative ways to control the kinetic energy of moving products through high-speed manufacturing and filling processes. The company requires aluminum and tinplated food and beverage cans to be conveyed and transported during production without damage. Products are small (40-70 mm cylinder diameter), thin (wall thickness of ~100 microns), lightweight (

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Microfluidic System Moves Liquid Without Electricity

Many new devices need to move nano- and micro-scale quantities of liquid from an external source to a sensor. Technology has been developed to transport very tiny volumes of liquids without the need for electricity or other external energy source. The device is especially useful when surface forces overcome the flow in channels, or when high-precision control of rates and volume are needed. The surfaceenergy gradient coating technology produces enhanced capillary action in nano-scale plumbing to move and mix liquids, and to introduce chemicals or biologics for reactions.

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Software Recognizes Amblyopia in Early Childhood

In developed societies, amblyopia (i.e. lazy eye) is a leading cause of permanent vision loss under the age of 30. A research team implemented an electrophysiological method that recognizes the presence or lack of binocularity in children as young as six months of age. The method is also capable of identifying other childhood visual disorders that may potentially lead to amblyopia after age 3.

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Non-Invasive Intra-Cranial Pressure Monitoring

Because manned spaceflight still imposes unknown stresses on the human body, NASA is seeking non-invasive technological approaches for intra-cranial pressure measurement. A baseline must be established on the ground, and then periodic measurements will be taken during flight — possibly over several months to a year. For consistency, it is important for the same technology to be used both on the ground and in space. The method and equipment must operate independent of gravity and acceleration. Materials and designs for spaceflight should anticipate the potential for high radiation exposure.

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Better Foam Generation

Foam is a key indicator of efficacy and performance for a range of consumer pharmaceutical and food products. A company seeks cost-effective physical and mechanical technologies for enhanced foam generation and stability. Devices that are able to generate a high volume of foam from low-concentration, surfactant-based formulations are especially of interest. Possible solutions include packaging technologies that alter the ingress of fluid dynamics in a surfactant-containing cage, or that impact the entrapment of air in a squeezable bottle or aerosol. Nozzles and pharmaceutical/dermatological foam-generation devices are also suitable options.

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