Portable Ultrananocrystalline Diamond based Field Emission Electron Sources for Linear Accelerators
Current electron sources used for the accelerators are either based on photoemission or thermionic emission technology, which suffers from various limitations such as high cost, scalability, low output emission current, and robustness. Field emission cathode technology eliminates most of these limitations but never have been implemented for use in accelerators since these FECs have to be fabricated in atomically sharp tip configuration involving several microfabrication steps, compromising scaled-up fabrication and fabrication for complex form factors, plus often times they degrade prematurely due to high electric field and thermal load on atomically sharp tips. Nitrogen incorporated ultrananocrystalline diamond developed at Argonne national laboratory, has unique nanostructure that provides excellent field emission properties in planar configuration eliminating issues related to microfabrication as well as long term current stability. The (N)UNCD FECs developed by Argonne-Euclid TechLabs have demonstrated their feasibility for normal conducting radio frequency based linacs. At gradients 45–65 MV/m, peak currents of 1–80 mA (current densities 0.3–25 mA/cm2) were demonstrated. This brings a paradigm shift in developing new generation of electron source based on (N) UNCD for linear accelerators. The same technology could be used for accelerators for rare isotope production vital for medical diagnostic, and semiconductor industry (lithography).
Thin Film Solid State Ceramic Battery with High Ionic Conductivity
This project is to demonstrate the development of a novel route to prepare low temperature thin film of cubic Li7La3Zr2O12 (LLZO) solid electrolytes based battery by exploiting a novel nanophase into the manufacturing steps. Lithium ion based ceramic solid electrolytes are considered for high performance batteries in electric vehicles and microbatteries. This project will address key challenges in making solid state battery with high conductivity a) high growth temp or post-dep temperature for Li7La3Zr2O12 (LLZO) solid electrolytes contribute oxide formation and higher contamination resulting in low Li ion conductivity, b) low ionic activity compared to state-of-the-art liquid electrolyte (10-4 – 10-7 s/cm vs. 10-2 s/cm), c) low operating voltage window on existing solution, and 4) high resistance on grain boundaries and transport mechanism responsible for low conductivity. We will introduce a new surface passivation nano phase which is engineered to desorb well below the processing temperature. This patented nanophase will enable low contamination and low defect interface. This defect free interface will drive reduction of processing temperature to grow cubic LLZO.
A wearable IoT multi-sensors bio-processor platform based on a novel electrode and predictive data management systems
We developed a wearable IoT multi-sensors bio-processor platform based on a novel electrode and their predictive data management systems. Principal investigator (PI) and academic partner Dr. Labelle of Arizona State University developed a variant of mesoporous carbon-based dendrimers that allow insitu casting of electrode leads and adhesive layers directly onto a substrate. This results in the adhesive itself retaining conductive properties. This body contoured electroactive polymer electrode (BPE) can be used as a replacement or an adhesive in combination of standard Ag/AgCl electrode. Additionally, we will enable the device to be water-proof with combination of a latex-free waterproof silicone overcoat (i.e. electrode leads). Finally, we will develop predictive algorithms and data management system. This innovative system will be on a scalable, incremental, and parallelizable platform to identify robust multi-variate temporal event signatures that can be used for detecting and/or predicting health stress. The proposed algorithms will integrate body sensor streams and leverage patterns and anomalies discovered to (1) reduce false alarms and false dismissals, and (2) detect newly emerging failure patterns on-the-fly.
Hong Kong, Kowloong
Controllable biodegradable Mg implant
SMAT is able to increase strength of the ordinary bio-Mg, and the supra-nano Mg film on the surface is able to improve the wear-resistance and control the degradation rate. SMAT and supra-nano are original technologies, that other technologies are difficult to achieve high strength and controllable biodegradable properties at the same time. The novel Mg implant has one-time use property (second surgery is avoided), which could reduce much pain of the patient.
Electric field structured anisotropic polymer films - technology, applications and markets
CondAlign has developed a technology in which electric fields are used to align and structure particles in a viscous matrix, before curing the matrix and fixating the structures. The particles align due to dielectrophoresis and induced dipole-dipole interactions, allowing a wide range of particles and matrices to be used. The particle structures can be controlled to form pathways through the material allowing for manipulation of anisotropy, uniformity and patterns. An example application is anisotropic conductive films, where the particle alignment permits a tenfold reduction of particle content compared to traditional conductive composites. Without alignment, these materials are typically particle rich systems with concentrations above the percolation threshold. A significant reduction of filler particles can both lower costs and improve polymer properties, thereby enhancing functionality. By carefully controlling the electric fields, the technology opens for more advanced structures, like patterned films, multi-layered materials, and anisotropic conductivity. We have also developed an analogous method to create membranes with a high degree of uniformity in pore size and -distribution. CondAlign has demonstrated production capabilities in roll-to-roll (R2R) processes. We are currently refining the production technology on our pilot R2R-machine, and assisting our first customer in establishing their commercial scale manufacturing line.
Personal and Home Care Patent Analysis using Computational Chemistry
The technology is an extension of our general purpose computational chemistry platform CULGI, that we developed over the past 15 years. CULGI software has been used in more than 100 industrial research projects. The focus has been on soft materials (Personal and Home Care applications, agro-formulations, composite materials, and so forth). The technology is: (1) The generation of a worldwide chemical formulation index (CULGI WCFI), by identification of all ingredients in all worldwide patents generated in the past twenty years by machine learning and human analysis. (2) Using WCFI, the creation of an enhanced version WCFI-E, that includes not only the ingredients but also a molecular representation. (3) Using WCF-E the cross-correlation of claims with chemistry by physics-based or machine learning modeling. Neither WCFI(-E), nor the connection with modeling exists to date. The number of Personal and Home Care patents is already overwhelmingly large (fifty thousand in 2017), and increasing by invasion from Asia.The information load is simply too extensive for any human team to handle. The technology to introduce science into patent analysis will lead to a situation where patents are generated and analyzed without human intervention.
A photo-catalytic air purifying technology
By combining high-surface-area diatomaceous earth with doped titanium dioxide, Diatomix’s photocatalyst technology uses indoor light sources to degrade volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Our doped TiO2 is a semiconductor that has been shown to use UV and blue light to mineralize many VOCs cited by the EPA as hazardous air pollutants. Diatomix’s novel and transformative contribution to TiO2 photocatalysis is the use of diatoms as our catalyst substrate. Diatoms are composed of SiO2 and have been shown to adsorb VOCs, increasing the charge conversion efficiency of VOC degradation by placing the VOCs directly next to and even in contact with the catalyst. Diatoms’ greatest strength as a substrate is its ability to act as a nanophotonic light-trapping structure that can enhance absorption of light with wavelengths from 380 nm to 500 nm by 1.7 times. The proprietary coating process deposits TiO2 preferentially inside the diatoms, where the light is concentrated. This combination of VOC adsorption and light trapping leads to improved photocatalytic efficiency in our TiO2 photocatalyst and higher degradation rates of VOCs.
Ecovia™ Biopolymers for Personal Care Products & Formulations
Ecovia Renewables has developed an efficient and highly advantaged bioprocess for producing high performing, cost competitive biopolymer materials for cosmetics and personal care applications. Key innovations and competitive advantages include 1) a patent-pending mixed culture fermentation process enabling the use of inexpensive feedstocks, and 2) improved downstream processing technologies that enable low-cost purification and derivatization to produce finished products. Our Ecovia™ Biopolymer platform can produce a range of different biodegradable and eco-friendly materials customized for different applications. Ecovia's bioprocess has the potential to reduce overall production costs by an order of magnitude or more compared to conventional routes for our biopolymer products, enabling new applications and markets for our material that were not previously addressable. Ecovia's biopolymer materials closely mimic the performance profiles of synthetic polyacrylate, polyacrylamide, and co-polymer materials used in personal care products, and exceed the benchmarks for current biobased materials, which are mainly based on polysaccharide chemistries.
Scalable, Low-Cost Electrospinning of Metal and Ceramic Nanofibers
A compact nanofiber production unit with capability to produce a variety of ceramic nanofibers using very low power output, low voltage DC input, inexpensive DC-DC voltage converter with dual polarity high voltage DC supply. The device is much smaller lighter weight and simpler than conventional electrospinning units. The device is much safer to use as it limits the output power to only few watts and can be operated on a 9V battery as well as 12V DC adapter. System is a versatile unit employing syringe needled spinneret for prototype nanofiber and needleless helical spinneret for mass production. It also produces thicker nanofiber mat using specially designed corona ionizer.
Environmental Friendly Smart Coating with Endless Applications
Historically corrosion protection has been achieved through use of hexavalent chromium ions along with heavy metals in paints. These chemical ingredients are highly toxic to environment and human health. In-fact, Hex-Chrome is a known human carcinogen. DoD and commercial market is aggressively looking for safer alternates. EPA in USA and REACH regulation is Europe have already posted sun-set date for the use of toxic hex chrome and other harmful ingredients in paints. On the other hand, human health is severely affected by infection through bacterial attacks. There is a huge demand of environmental friendly coatings to combat corrosion and microbial activities. There are more than 23,000 commercial aircraft in operation that need protection from corrosion and aggressive microbial activities. Our company Flora Coatings has developed an environmental and user friendly, transparent, ready to use (no mixing needed), multifunctional, quasi-bioceramic, flexible coating to act as a barrier against corrosion and microbial activities. This liquid coating can be applied easily in ambient conditions and cures in ambient conditions without the need of external heating. It can act as a standalone coating, a primer as well as a topcoat for the existing surface paint & coatings.
Stretchable Electronic Materials and Devices
Background: Stretchable microelectronics has garnered significant attention from research and industry due to its essential role in large-area, wearable, epidermal and biomedical electronics. However, this technology and its manufacturing processes have been severely constrained by their complexity and lack of scalability. mobility via a simple and robust, fully solution-processed methodology. Georgia Tech inventors present a new, versatile approach consisting of directly integrating stretchable components for a large-area transistor array through solution processing and a final single, mechanical peel-off step. As a result, the team has successfully fabricated semiconducting films with significantly improved mechanical elasticity and optical transparency, without affecting the film’s electronic conductivity, even under 100% strain (see figure below). The semiconducting films are prepared by blending only a small amount (below 1 wt %) of either p-type or n-type commercial semiconductor polymers. The product is a self-organized versatile conjugated polymer film displaying an interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) formed in the semiconducting films, which is crucial for the observed enhancement of elasticity, optical transparency and charge-carrier mobility. In fact, the developed robust transistor arrays exhibit charge carrier mobilities above 1.0 cm2/V∙s with excellent durability, even under 100% strain.
Substrate-free graphene platelets directly from natural gas
H Quest Vanguard, Inc. is developing continuous conversion processes that apply microwave energy to rapidly pyrolyze low-cost hydrocarbons (natural gas and coal) to produce higher-value products: liquid fuels, chemicals, hydrogen, and advanced materials in modular, energy-efficient reactors that lend to small-scale distributed deployment. H Quest’s proprietary microwave plasma reactor operating at atmospheric pressure does not employ dielectric heating. Instead, microwave energy is coupled into process gas via collisions of the gas molecules with free and liberated electrons, which are accelerated by the rapidly changing electromagnetic field. The reactor can be deployed at small scale (processing 6 mcf/hour or less), is energy efficient, and does not generate CO2. It can generate highly heterogeneous plasmas, with hot and relatively cold gas regions within the same chamber, rate-controlled decomposition by quenching reactions within the reactor. Conventional processes have uncontrollable carbon production and tend to produce undifferentiated, low-value carbon soot. In contrast, H Quest’s system produces highly ordered carbon materials: graphene, graphitic ribbons, multilayer shells, rosette structures, and ordered carbon blacks. Rate of carbon co-production with higher hydrocarbons and/or hydrogen can be varied between 0 and 80%. Unoptimized reactor requires only 22 kWh to convert 1 kg of methane.
Lab Testing of Enhanced Oil Recovery Materials at Pore Scale
Materials for enhancing oil recovery are widely used in production today, however, their efficiency is reservoir specific. O&G reservoirs consist of microscopic porous networks in, for example, sandstone, carbonate, or shale rock. Therefore, the functionality of a certain oilfield chemical depends on a reservoir’s unique pore scale fingerprint. Our method evaluates the efficiency of a chemical cocktail based on reservoir-specific pore scale features and the chemical specifics of the EOR cocktail to be considered for application. IBM’s patented Nano-EOR technology portfolio, backed by decades of leadership in scientific computing and nanotechnology, leverages molecular scale liquid-solid interactions in dedicated computer simulation and lab testing platform. Potential Impact: Global O&G consumption expected to increase for +20 years and global proved oil reserves > 1.6 trillion barrels. EOR has a potential of 8% of recovery increase, leveraging existing infrastructure and reducing exploration and production cost.
Ultra-high Performance Thermal Interface Materials for Electronic Cooling
Overheating is one of the biggest problems of electronic devices that causes loss of performance and reduces the lifetime. Introduction of smaller and more powerful electronic devices have made the electronic industry seek better thermal management strategies. The dissipation of heat during the operation is often facilitated by thermal interface materials (TIMs), which are placed between devices to heat sinks. Currently used TIMs include thermal greases, polymer-composites and solders. Limitations of these TIMs - such as low thermal conductivity in thermal greases and polymer composites, and thermally-induced stress failures due to high thermal expansion in solder TIMs – have led to failures in electronics. We are dedicated to developing novel TIMs to overcome these limitations For this purpose, we aim to develop and fabricate metal nanocomposite TIMs, involving integration of boron nitride nanosheets (BNNS), soft organic linkers, and copper matrix. The developed hybrid nanocomposites demonstrate an exceptional combination of thermal and mechanical properties (elastic modulus); over 210 W/(m K) and 20 GPa, respectively. The developed TIMs show a compatible thermal expansion, forming a mediation zone with low thermally-induced axial stress on the mating surfaces. Exceptional properties of the developed TIMs will enable enhanced efficiency in electronics cooling.
Nano-engineered silica: A non-halogenated flame retardant additive
INFINGENT is one of the world's leading manufacturers of silica-based nanoparticles and nanocomposites for fire resistant applications. Headquartered at Medeon Science Park, Sweden, we are pioneers in the use of nanotechnology to create unique, innovative and cost-effective products.The flame-retardant nanoparticles of Infingent Silica have been developed using state-of-the-art proprietary technologies, to hinder (or even fully prevent) combustion no matter which portion of the fire cycle it is in - be it heating, ignition, spread or decomposition. Our nanostructured silica is a non-halogenated product, which is highly effective because of the natural self-insulating properties of amorphous silica - properties which it retains even in its nano-sized form. Unlike current halogenated flame-retardants, Infingent silica offers no toxic by-products and extremely stable under extreme conditions. The flame-retardant effect of Infingent Silica is active at below 5wt%, ensures high compatibility and less processing issues. INFINGENT silica being the first commercial flame-retardant chemical of its type has a great potential for a majority of flame retardant markets but primary supplying to wires and cables industry.
Novel Antimicrobial Coatings
Inhibit Coatings uses novel silver nanofunctionalization to produce highly antimicrobial coatings. Independent testing of these coatings using the JIS-Z-2801 standard have shown a > 99.997% reduction in CFU against E. coli, S. aureus and L. monocytogenes within 24 hours. These were tested against commercially available antimicrobial coatings which only achieved an 83.3% reduction in CFU. These coatings have proven to retain their antimicrobial activity after numerous cleanings with common cleaning agents, making them ideal for food safety, medical and HVAC applications. The novel nanotechnology used in coatings utilizes low biocide concentrations (< 0.1%) exhibiting an extremely low leach rate of < 0.8 ppb/cm2/day. This low leach rate and biocide concentration gives rise to robust coatings with a long antimicrobial lifetime that withstand wash cycles without compromising the physical properties such as hardness, abrasion resistance.
A Wearable Microwave Meta-Skin with Tunable Frequency Selective and Cloaking Effects
See listed publications: From Flexible and Stretchable Meta-Atom to Metamaterial: A Wearable Microwave Meta-Skin with Tunable Frequency Selective and Cloaking Effects. Siming Yang, Peng Liu, Mingda Yang, Qiugu Wang, Jiming Song & Liang Dong. Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 21921 (2016) Tunable meta-atom using liquid metal embedded in stretchable polymer. Peng Liu, Siming Yang, Aditya Jain, Qiugu Wang, Huawei Jiang, Jiming Song, Thomas Koschny, Costas M. Soukoulis and Liang Dong. J. Appl. Phys. 118, 014504 (2015)
Autonomously self-healing and self-strengthening polymer-metal composites
Self-healing materials are "smart" materials that can repair damage incurred throughout the materials lifetime. Despite self-healing materials being available since 2001, there are limited commercial examples of the technology. Iowa State University researchers have demonstrated the the application of undercooled particles in producing mechanically responsive and reconfigurable composites. The composite exploits the metastable nature of the particles, whereby the undercooled liquid metal trapped within the particles undergoes solidification when the oxide shell is broken or significantly deformed. Thus, the composite is capable of self-healing due to passivization of cracks by the metastable liquid and simultaneously self-strengthening, since the solidified metal will typically be stronger than its matrix.
Rapid enrichment of Viable Bacteria Using Magnetic Ionic Liquids for PCR Amplification and Culture-Based Diagnostics
The detection of viable bacteria in food, environmental, or clinical samples is limited by time-consuming enrichment procedures (e.g., overnight cultures) that are often mandatory for the analysis of extremely small quantities of microorganisms. Iowa State University researchers have developed new molecules to act as magnetic ionic liquids (MILs) and an method of use thereof to isolate, extract, and concentrate bacteria in an efficient manner for rapid testing purposes. These tunable MILs present unique physiochemical properties, resulting in materials that are responsive to external magnetic fields. Using this magnetism allows for easy separation of the MILs and extracted material from non-magnetic media. ISU inventors have demonstrated the ability of their specially designed MILs to be able to extract bacteria with high specificity. After a simple separation and culturing in broth, quantifiable colonization of recovered bacteria begins within two hours. This enrichment approach can be coupled with PCR amplification to further increase sample throughput. Regardless of downstream detection methods, MIL-based preconcentration of bacteria constitutes an enrichment strategy that allows for significantly faster detection of relevant bacteria for the food safety testing industry.
Manufacturing methods of SiOx nanoparticles and active materials for Li-ion battery’s longer life for EV
- New cost-effective manufacturing processes for SiOx nanoparticles and high performance-active material as a Li-ion battery’s anode - SiOx nanoparticles can be produced in normal pressure (1 atm) from cheap metal Si chunk in simple induction furnace.
Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis using KIER SponCat Technology for Flexible Production of Liquid Fuels and Chemicals from Syngas
Conventional FTS (Fischer-Tropsch synthesis) processes have used different combinations of catalysts and reactors depending on the desired products. KIER SponCat is a unique catalyst technology for the use of commercial type slurry bubble column reactors, which generates spontaneous and quick catalyst activation in the reaction condition without requiring an extra catalyst pre-activation treatment. Furthermore, KIER SponCat can flexibly control the hydrocarbon product distribution, e.g. (i) wax selective, (ii) oil selective, and (iii) olefin selective, simply by adjusting the catalyst formulation and reaction condition.
Thermal Energy Storage System
Our novel Phase Change Material (PCM) have promising heat storage properties ( ∆Hf (J/g) >100 ) and target temperatures ideal for renewable energy storage (150 -200°C).This temperature range has been recognised as critical for storage of solar thermal energy, and waste or low grade heat from industry. The stored energy can be used to power a standalone Organic Rankine Engine to generate electricity on demand, or linked to other commercial modules for hot water heating and space heating or cooling. Our combined system using novel PCM offers a cheaper, more reliable alternative to current options: Lowering of CO2 emissions and maximised green energy Reduction in peak load demand Improvement in the overall efficiency of the energy system by balancing the fluctuating demand for energy Minimised usage of expensive ‘peak high cost’ energy Provide back-up power to the system The global thermal energy storage market has been valued at over US$0.6 bn and is expected to reach US$1.8 bn by 2020. The major focus for the industry has been higher temperatures for heat storage or ambient temperature for building materials.
Smart surface coatings material and process
The Monash research team has developed ultrathin multifunctional films comprised of multiple layers of tungsten oxide nanosheets that exhibit a large number of unique and desirable properties. To produce these smart film coatings, tungstate oxide (a typical semiconductor) is exfoliated into atomically-thin 2D nanosheets. The nanosheets are applied to a surface in a controlled process whereby the thickness of the film and its final properties are determined precisely by the number of applied layers. These films are able to block both IR and UV light, whilst being almost completely transparent to the visible spectrum.
TRUE Multiscale Technology for Modeling and Simulation of Advanced Materials
TRUE Multiscale(TM) drastically reduces the time and costs associated with testing and certifying new materials. Before this technology, testing new material designs took an average of $20M and three years. Even with the time and money spent on these tests, most new design ideas failed to meet requirements. Additionally, existing simulation tools were not meant to be used by material developers, which made virtual testing almost impossible. Materials certification was an even longer and more expensive process, particularly in the aerospace industry. On average, certifying a new aerospace material required $100M and ten years. MultiMech is our full finite element solver, and it empowers engineers with an unmatched level of accuracy in simulations of advanced materials. Run times that require 24 hours with traditional tools require only 12 minutes with MultiMech. Traditional simulation tools also require 54.5 GB of memory, while MultiMech requires only 2.2 GB, enabling engineers to perform complex material simulations on a laptop.
As the first and only known material capable of achieving the theoretical upper bound for isotropic elasticity, the Isomax™ material geometry can revolutionize the design of lightweight high performance engineered systems. Isomax™ is composed of two unique subgeometries that are individually maximally stiff but highly anisotropic. Their combination can achieve isotropy but also can be optimized for local density, stiffness, strength, and anisotropy--facilitating functionally graded and highly optimized designs, with unrivaled performance. The relatively simple geometry, composed of sheets of material, is amenable to manufacturing by sheet folding, allowing access to a wide range of constituent materials. Using available engineering materials, such as carbon fiber reinforced composites, titanium and aluminum alloys, Isomax™ can achieve moduli exceeding an order of magnitude above existing high performance material systems at the same density. When utilized as an internal geometry for 3D printed parts, designs with minimal mass, materials, and build time are achievable, reducing costs, energy usage, and the amount of raw materials used.
OFS provides Greeen technology and products
Through the employment of green chemistry and engineering design, the company has developed an award-winning process that can produce high value products with minimal release of waste and toxic material. The technology is inspired by chemical processes taking place inside the human cells and is therefore milder and more energy efficient than common forest related transformations processes. Additional uniqueness with the technology is its cost- and energy efficiency, sustainability and simplicity, avoiding using high pressure and temperature, environmental and high yielding process and it has been protected with five PCTs (World). The company's mission is to reduce and replace fossil oil-based products with renewable green products, therefore it will have a great impact on the society, but will also have the possibility to be a leading green-tech company that converts waste products and biomasses to green high value products. To give one example of the many product portfolio we have Capsaicin (an ingredient in chili fruits) with various applications and biological activity. The market for this compound is estimated to about 200 billion $/year. The market price for pure capsaicin is approx. 40 thousand $/Kg and we are the only one making capsaicin from wood.
Ladera Ranch, CA
Production of Radioactive Ingredients For Medical Applications
The availability of reactor produced radioisotopes in the U.S. relies on aging foreign resources, leading to an uncertainty in the future supply of these lifesaving radioactive ingredients. To address this, development of a technology that can be implemented in existing nuclear reactor infrastructure nationwide for local isotope production is being proposed. A challenge with traditional radioisotope production is, in most cases the target isotope and the produced radioisotope are both from the same element. Conventional separation techniques aren't effective for separating isotopes of the same element, therefore at the end of irradiation, the final product has limited purity. Furthermore, small-scale research nuclear reactors operate at lower capacities compared to commercial production facilities, therefore obtaining the required radioisotope purity is usually impossible. Purist has developed a patent pending plug and play technology for radioisotope production and separation, that can be easily adopted by nuclear reactors of any size for medical radioisotope production. This technology results in separation of the radioisotope from the inactive target upon production, followed by immediate collection of the product. The collected radioisotope can be harvested during this process and transported to a local radiopharmacy with little time delay, providing on-demand healthcare.
The ability to engineer strong nanofiber materials is of great interest in numerous fields including aerospace, automotive, biomedical and construction. Electrospinning is a simple method capable of producing polymer nanofibers. It is observed in conventionally manufactured and electrospun fibers that mechanical strength increases when diameter is reduced. However, electrospun nanofibers are weaker than conventionally manufactured fibers, despite greatly reduced diameters. This lack of mechanical strength in electrospun fibers is attributed to the absence of post-processing stages, such as drawing and tensioning, which are commonly used in fiber production to increase strength by 5-15x. The Automated-Track design is able to overcome the limitations of electrospinning by implementing a processing stage capable of simultaneous collection and drawing fibers. This design is able to draw individual fibers immediately as they are collected, tightly control processing parameters, and process thousands of nanofibers at once. This approach successfully combines electrospinning and a critical post-processing stage and has shown to increase the ultimate tensile strength of polycaprolactone fibers by 7.4x and polyacrylonitrile fibers by 4.5x. The method is compatible with most polymers which can be collected across parallel plates and is anticipated to be compatible with high-throughput methods for scalability.
MAPS Software Platform and Services (Contract Research / Consulting / Training)
Materials and Process Simulations (MAPS) Software platform is a multi-scale, multi-paradigm, and expandable platform that allows engineers and scientists to BUILD realistic models of all materials, SIMULATE processes and process conditions, and ANALYZE behavior and properties of the materials.
Low Cost - High Corrosion Resistance Aluminum Heat Exchanger Implemented by Nano Particle Dispersion Control
Compared with existing common 1XXX and 3XXX commercial aluminum heat exchangers, this developed material improves the corrosion service life by 1.5 to 2 times although there is almost no increase in cost (within 10%). Compared to advanced commercial products with equivalent level of corrosion service life, the unit cost of production is 50% to 70% level. Conventional technology improves corrosion resistance by suppressing corrosion of tubes of heat exchangers through surface treatment. It mainly uses cladding, zinc coating, chromium plating, electrodeposition coating and so on. These technologies improve the corrosion resistance of aluminum, but the additional cost increases are high. Also, when the surface layer breaks, propagation of corrosion cannot be prevented. Through the addition of an extremely small amount of alloy elements and improvement of the heat treatment process, this technique nanosizes and controls the particles in the aluminum metal structure. The corrosion propagation form was transformed from localized corrosion form to uniform corrosion form. This improves the resistance of the tube to corrosion penetration and delays the leakage time. This technology enables the development of low-cost, high-corrosion-resistant materials in a simple and effective manner.
Selectively reduced titanium dioxide(Blue TiO2) photocatalyst having visible light sensitivity.
Titanium dioxide is enormously consumed as white color of plastics and paint because of its high thermal-stablility and non-toxic properties. Also, its property as high-blocking ultraviolet rays can be applicable to optical materials, protective materials, and sensor materials. As its photocatalytic ability receives attentions recently, it is applied to antibacterial, waste water treatment, and air purification fields. But titanium dioxide has some problems when it used as photocatlysts. Titanium dioxide only absorbs ultraviolet ray(below 380nm). So, it is not effective indoors that is deficient-ultraviolet ray. Therefore, some research groups reduced the titanium dioxide for expanding absorption range. Although it can absorb light to the near-infrared region after reduction, procedures still have some disadvantages because of high pressure and high temperature condition. In contrast, this technology which is solution-based treatment with Lithium-ethylenediamine(Li-EDA), the strong reducing reagent in superbase, can selectively reduce TiO2 at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. By the facile treatment to commercial janus photocatlyst, Daegusa P-25, obtained partially reduced TiO2 nanoparticles show extended absorption range to near-infrared region (over 380nm) and high charge separation efficiency. And, the reduced TiO2 show high performance at hydrogen evolution reaction, algae disinfection and fine dust elimination.
SiOx anode material for Lithium ion batteries
- Innovation, differences, & impact on society This is a new cost-effective manufacturing process for SiOx nanoparticles and high performance-active material as a Li-ion battery’s anode; SiOx nanoparticles can be produced in normal pressure (1 atm) from
SiOx anode material for Lithium ion batteries
- Innovation, differences, & impact on society This is a new cost-effective manufacturing process for SiOx nanoparticles and high performance-active material as a Li-ion battery’s anode; SiOx nanoparticles can be produced in normal pressure (1 atm) from
A highly efficient, titanium dioxide based, visible light photocatalyst
Photocatalysts are materials that harvest energy directly from light to promote chemical reactions. To date, the majority of photocatalytic products have been based on pure titanium dioxide (TiO2), which can only be activated by UV light thus limiting their applications to exterior use or with a UV light source. We have developed a method to extend the absorption of TiO2 into the visible range, without compromising solar energy conversion efficiency, by cooperatively introducing cations (Niobium) and anions (Nitrogen) into TiO2. Unlike other methods of co-doping, our process allows the dopants to be introduced in balanced ratios as a ‘defect pair’ resulting in a synergistic and cooperative interaction thus avoiding the usual drawbacks of doping. Our method uses cheap and readily available raw materials and standard reaction conditions that are comparable to those currently used by industry for the synthesis of TiO2. Our photocatalyst has been tested in the photo-degradation of three different model pollutants (methyl orange, rhodamine B and methylene blue) and shows superior performance over the current industry standard photocatalyst, P25-TiO2. The optical absorption is from λ=200 to 800 nm and the average particle size is <10 nm.
Develop a low cost wrinkle resistant treatment for cotton with co-catalyst system
One of the main drawbacks of cotton is wrinkling after washing which is now overcoming by wrinkle resistant finish. N-methylol reagents such as dimethyloldihydroxyethyleneurea (DMDHEU) have long been used in the textile industry as a effective crosslinking agents to produce wrinkle resistant cotton fabrics because of the relatively low cost and superior results. However, DMDHEU produces free formaldehyde when it is used in this process. In this invention, we investigated the use of co-catalyst together with conventional wrinkle resistant (DMDHEU) recipe in order to improve the wrinkle resistant property with benefit of minimizing the side effects such as fabric strength loss, reduce in whiteness as well as free formaldehyde release. The technical advantages of this technology include: • Reduce the curing temperature and time used for wrinkle resistant treatment • Retain good wrinkle resistant property of cotton fabric even at a lower curing temperature and shorter curing time. • Minimizing the reduction in tearing strength and whiteness of cotton fabric after wrinkle resistant treatment. • Lower free formaldehyde content in fabric after wrinkle resistant treatment.
Develop a low cost flame retardant treatment for cotton with co-catalyst system
Generally speaking, fabrics made from cellulosic fibres, such as cotton and linen will burn easily with a high flame velocity. Many flame retardant (FR) agents and methods of application have been developed in attempts to produce FR textile materials. However, the FR agents are not efficiently fixed to the cotton fibres unless they are used in combination with a resin and catalyst. In this invention, co-catalyst will be used which can effectively enhance the flame retardant treatment and minimise the side effects of flame retardant treatment. The finishing formulation (recipe) proposed in this invention was applied to cotton fabric by conventional pad–dry–cure finishing techniques. The technical advantages of this technology include: • Reduce the curing temperature and time used for flame retardant treatment. • Retain good flame retardant property of cotton fabric even at a lower curing temperature and shorter curing time. • Minimizing the reduction in tearing strength and whiteness of cotton fabric after flame retardant treatment.
Composite multilayers capacitors with colossal permittivity for electronics and energy storage applications
Materials with colossal permittivity (CP) have shown great technological potential for advanced microelectronics and high-energy-density storage applications. Several types of CP materials have been studied. Still, it is challengeable to maximize their performance as they show drawbacks in two aspects: temperature/frequency dependent properties and high dielectric loss. In our work, original CP ceramic capacitors exhibited high-performance dielectric behaviors, including temperature and frequency stable CP value (10,000–100,000) and sufficiently low dielectric loss (0.03). These results indicate a high reliability of the capacitors. In addition, technology on ceramics were extended to multi-layer-structured ceramic/polymer composite films. Surface hydroxylated ceramic fillers, embedded in copolymer matrix achieved high dielectric constant up to 300 and exceptional low dielectric loss down to 0.04 over a broad frequency range, as well as a high energy density of 8.9 J/cm3 at breakdown field of 82 MV/m. Therefore, this composite film capacitors have great technological potential for many applications. In microelectronic systems, thin-film dielectric with high capacitance due to its minimal thickness and being located close to the microprocessor can reduce inductance. Thin-film capacitors can increase the capacitive density and drastically reduce the capacitor area, offering performance, volume, and cost advantages over discrete ceramic capacitors.
It is challenging to make and design sophisticated nanorobots with advanced functions. One difficulty in nanorobot design is to make these nanostructures sense and respond to the environment. Given each nanorobot is only a few micrometer in size which is ~50 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, it is impossible to squeeze normal electronic sensors and circuits into them with reasonable price. Currently, the only method to remotely control nanorobots is to incorporate ferromagnetic materials inside their bodies and guide their motion via external magnetic field. The Nanorobot developed by Dr Tang’s team use light as the propelling force, and is the first research team globally to explore light-guided nanorobot and demonstrate its feasibility and effectiveness. The research team demonstrated the ability of these light-controlled Nanorobots as they are “dancing” or even spell a word under light control. Dr Tang described the motions as if “they can “see” the light and drive itself towards it”. With size comparable to a red blood cell, these tiny Nanorobots have the potential to be injected into patients’ bodies, helping surgeons to remove tumors as well as enabling more precise engineering of targeted medications.
Omniphobic porous membrane and methods for preparing the same
This innovation is about a method for preparing porous membranes possessing omniphobic property. The porous membranes can repel a wide range of liquids including both water and oils, which as defined to be omniphobic (both hydrophobic and oleophobic). Such membrane contains uniform micro-pores packed densely in hexagonal arrays. The fabrication of a PVA porous membrane consists of 3 major steps: 1. Emulsion deposition 2. Solvent evaporation 3. Template removal
Super Steel - A method for the fabrication of a super-strong and ductile multi-phase steel
This innovation is the 3rd generation of the advanced high strength steels (AHSS) which has already been used in the automotive industry. The fabrication process is simple and low-cost with just 4-step : warm rolling, annealing, cold rolling and tempering, this simple process is highly suitable for the broad industrial production. This innovation provides super-strong, lightweight and high ductile multi-phase steel with a super-high yield strength and good ductility that comprises 8-12 wt.% Mn, 0.3-0.6 wt.% C, 1-4 wt.% Al, 0.4-1 wt.% V, and a balance of Fe.
A method to Initiate Radical Polymerisations Without Exogenous Initiators
Polymers produced by radical polymerisations make up 40-45% of all industrial polymers. A new method to generate radicals without the use of exogenous initiators has been developed. This eliminates the need to store and regularly monitor highly flammable and/or toxic initiators commonly used in industry. Further, in this new method no further purification is required to remove residual initiator from the final product. In this approach, ultra-sonication is simply used to generate radicals from the solvent itself, which can in-turn initiate radical polymerization. In showing proof of concept, ultrasonically derived initiators could be used to initiate controlled polymerizations. A range of industrially relevant polymers could successfully be fabricated. The resultant polymers observed high end fidelity, low dispersity and could be produced at high conversions within 1 hour. In showing versatility, the new method can also be used for free radical polymerizations-a very common method for the industrial synthesis of polymers.
Customized Rheometer Tools by 3D Printing
Rheometers measure a variety of mechanical properties in materials that are subjected to deformation and flow. A rotary rheometer’s "tool geometry" is an integral component that affects the torques generated. Available geometries are typically manufactured from metals such as titanium. Although metal tools have favorable durability and precision, they can be very expensive and they are also only available in limited in sizes and shapes. Because rheometer geometries have a high cost and restrictive shape and size limitations, developing a low-cost and versatile method of making customized and useful standard and new tool geometries would enable users of rheometers to expand the utility of their existing equipment inexpensively. Researchers at UCLA have developed a technique that employs 3D-printing (i.e. consumer-grade additive manufacturing) to fabricate solid plastic geometries for use in a rheometer. This technique enables the fabrication of inexpensive and complex geometries that can replace costly metal components. The researchers have overcome common limitations of 3D-printing, including warping and stair-stepping of layers of printed polymer material, in order to produce low-cost geometries that have dimensional accuracy and precision necessary for scientific rheometry of soft materials.
PolyProtek: Platform for Delivering and Stabilizing Therapeutic Biologics, Vaccines, and Industrial Enzymes
A UCLA team has developed a family of polymers that effectively stabilize industrial enzymes, therapeutic biologics, and vaccines against thermal and mechanical stress while improving their in vivo pharmacokinetic properties. The technology is based on a novel series of polymers that incorporate trehalose as a side chain. Trehalose is a disaccharide that is widely used by a variety of organisms to stabilize against environmental stressors such as a high temperatures, or dessication. Trehalose monomers have been used previously in formulations but are not optimal. The PolyProtek polymers are degradable, allowing safe and effective clearance in vivo. One major application is in drug delivery of therapeutic proteins and vaccines. PolyProtek provides significant advantages over the standard polyethylene glycol (PEG) in degradability and lack of immunogenicity, while still maintaining activity. Use of this polymer also eliminates the need for cold-storage supply chains for biologics and vaccines. The polymers have been validated in vivo, and initial PK and toxicology studies have been completed. Additionally, PolyProtek has significant value in the stabilization of enzymes against thermal and mechanical stress for industrial processes. Degradable polymers avoid unwanted environmental buildup while still enabling high stabilization of enzymes against thermal and mechanical stress.
Improvement of the yield and selectivity of catalytic reactions using microwaves
We offer an inclusive method that successfully optimises gas –solid catalytic reactions using microwave heating methods. We managed to improve the yield and selectivity of the desired product by promoting the catalytic reaction between the gas and the solid instead of a parasitic gas reaction. Indeed, we managed to perform the coating of usual bed particles with dielectric materials using a fluidized-bed chemical vapor deposition process. The new bed particle produced, is thus able to act as a receptor that directly interacts with the magnetic microwaves. In addition, this versatile material can also directly be used as a catalyst itself or be coated with a catalyst depending on the desired reaction. For instance, in order to produce syngas using microwaves, receptor sand particles coated with a uniform carbon layer were proven an efficient catalyst as well as an effective bed material. Indeed, the process allows a better distribution of the temperature in the reactor because the heat source (the dielectric particles interacting with the magnetic waves) is located directly inside it. There is also an improvement in selectivity and efficiency because the microwaves do not interact with the desired gas produced which limits the undesirable reactions.
Innovative metallic catalyst deposition method
We offer an innovated method that manages to deposit active catalyst over low or non-porous supports such as silica and carbon coated particles. The process uses ultrasonic waves through a liquid media in order to both enhance the porosity of the support and to distribute the active metal towards the surface of the support. The technology includes an ultrasonic reactor, a support (such as silica) that can be of various shapes and sizes, and a liquid solvent where the metal is dissolved. The typical deposition time ranges from one hour to a day but is usually close to three hours which is significantly faster than most traditional deposition techniques. Eventually it allows for a good catalyst impregnation as well as a significant increase of the surface area of the support. The method does not require mechanical stirring or external heating which translates into substantial energy savings. In addition the process allows the combination of an efficient metal catalyst with an inexpensive support hence triggering important materials cost reductions.
Green chemicals derived from sugars for the production of bioplastics
We propose a catalytic conversion process for the production of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) from low-cost abundant sugars (glucose or fructose). FDCA is used as a precursor for PEF (polyethylene furanoate), a 100% bio-sourced plastic that could potentially replace PET (polyethylene terephthalate) in a near future. Our process is based on heterogeneous catalysis in gas phase. A liquid solution containing carbohydrates (glucose or fructose) is fed through a nozzle that forms a spray directly inside a fluidized bed of catalyst particles. When heated, the small droplets vaporize rapidly and then react with the solid catalyst to produce FDCA. The process has been optimized such that vaporization and reaction rates are superior to the sugar thermal decomposition rate in order to avoid caramelization problems. This approach favours high yields by taking advantage of the high reaction kinetics associated with a thermochemical approach without some of its undermining characteristics because the reactions are performed at a lower temperature. By reacting in gas phase rather than liquid phase, we expect reaction rates about 50 times faster. This also allows using smaller reactor volumes for a given production level, thus significantly lowering capital requirements.
Natural based coating for food packaging
We offer a discontinuous chitosan based film coating that provides naturally antibacterial proprieties to food packaging and increase the shelf life of food up to one week. Chitosan is a non-toxic polysaccharide from marine origin that has great potential to be used as antibacterial biomaterial given its bioactivity. Chitosan is considered as a “Generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) food additive by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), wherewith can be considered as candidate for food related applications. Nevertheless, the main drawback of chitosan is its poor processability. We have overcome this issue, by preparing chitosan film through the solution casting/solvent evaporation approach. This method requires dissolving chitosan solutions in aqueous acidic solutions (based on acids such as acetic, lactic, citric, etc.), pouring of the solution in a very thin layer followed by solvent evaporation. Chitosan film are then deposited on top of a previously surface treated conventional packaging. This process allows the chitosan coating to be directly integrated to a multi-layer packaging fabrication process without undergoing heavy manufacturing modifications. Indeed, the process is designed to be performed discontinuously to target an optimum sealing of the activated packaging films.
Room temperature 3D printing metallic material
Our method enables the fabrication of dense metallic structures, such as fully-filled, porous, interlocked and overhung structures. The technology presented here is based on a specific technique called solvent-cast 3D printing where the ink is a polymer or a polymer-based composite dissolved in a solvent that later evaporates during the printing process. We have developed a process based on composite mixing of nanoparticles in a host polymer suitable for 3D printing. Thus, we are able to produce various types of inks suitable for 3D printing and with excellent mechanical properties. Here, a mixture of polylactic acid (PLA) and metal powders (steel, steel / copper, titanium etc.) dissolved in dichloromethane is placed in a ball mill in order to reduce the particle size and increase the viscosity. The mixture is then printed at room temperature in the desired form. The parts undergo additional treatments in order to strengthen its mechanical properties. This process allows a highly concentrated metallic material while requiring simple and accessible equipment.
Hybrid Molecule-Nanocrystal Photon Upconversion
UCR researchers have developed a hybrid composite material – combining inorganic semiconductor nanoparticles with organic compounds. Organic compounds cannot absorb in the infrared but are good at combining two lower energy photons to a higher energy photon. By using a hybrid material, the inorganic component absorbs two photons and passes their energy on to the organic component for combination. The organic compounds then produce one high-energy photon. Put simply, the inorganics in the composite material take light in; the organics get light out. Besides the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of solar energy, the ability to upconvert two low energy photons into one high energy photon has potential applications in biological imaging, data storage and organic light-emitting diodes. The ability to move light energy from one wavelength to another, more useful region, for example, from red to blue, can impact any technology that involves photons as inputs or outputs.
Impact and Abrasion Resistant Light-Weight Ceramic/Fiber Composite Materials
UCR researchers have developed novel fiber reinforced composite materials that can combine shock resistance and shock attenuation in to the same material design. The fiber reinforced composite can be made using a variety of fibers such as glass, carbon, aramid, organic polymer, etc., while the surrounding reinforced matrix can be made using materials such as ceramic or epoxy. This fiber reinforced composite has a proprietary stacked fiber design within the elastic material. This novel architecture and design has shown the ability to reflect or deflect shock waves along with the mutual benefit of absorbing energy. This material can be used in aerospace, automotive, defense, and consumer products such as athletic equipment and consumer electronics to resist physical damages caused by abrasion, impact, and shock, thereby improve safety and reliability as well as reduce material weight and thickness, thereby improve comfort and reduce energy use in transportation related applications.
Color Changing Materials with Tunable Photonic Crystals
UCR researchers discovered when chemically manufactured at nanoscale, iron oxide (rust) takes on extraordinary properties, including a brilliant palette of magnetically and physically tunable colors that can be used for a wide variety of interesting applications including color printing, making electronic displays, paints and cosmetics.Existing methods of synthesizing magnetite nanocrystals suffer from drawbacks such as low magnetization per particle. Larger crystals can be made with increased magnetization, but these are not dispersible in solution because they become ferromagnetic and lose their superparamagnetic properties. UCR Researchers have developed methods for the creation of nanocrystals that are superparamagnetic at room temperature. The size of the nanocrystals is controllable for a wide range and increasing the size of the particles does not result in the loss of paramagnetic properties. Thus, particles of varying magnetization can be readily and controllably synthesized. The nanocrystals are highly dispersible in water and can be made using simple and inexpensive synthetic methods.The potential impact of this technology would as a breakthrough platform for coloring changing consumer products, display, security documents, cosmetics, and biomedical devices.
Graphene-enhanced Thermal Interface Materials for Electronic Heat Removal
UCR researchers discovered the superior heat conduction properties of graphene and developed graphene-enhanced thermal interface materials (TIM) and thermal phase change materials (PCMs) together with the scalable methods of their manufacturing and application including producing and functionalizing graphene powder from raw graphite. UCR offers a unique technology of aligning graphene fillers with an external field during TIM dispersion on heat conducting surfaces. As little as 1% of oriented graphene in TIM has been demonstrated to succesfully reduce processor temperature by 10°C. Substantial reduction of Li-ion battery pack temperature was also achieved by replacing conventional PCMs with the invented graphene-enhanced PCM. The potential impact of this technology is as a market leading product that can help reduce problems caused by overheating electronics. The global market for TIMS was estimated to be worth $669 million in 2013 This market was estimated to grow at CAGR of 10.7% between 2012 and 2017 Largest end-use segments for TIMS are computers; energy; mobile communication devices; medical and office equipment; electric vehicle
(SMaLL): A Process for Rapid, Continuous 3D Printing and Long-Range Selective Curing
Continuous 3-dimentional (3D) printing of multiple components simultaneously and selectively has not previously been possible. The Solution Mask Liquid Lithography (SMaLL) is an approach using readily available dyes to print components differing in chemical and mechanical properties simultaneously. Layer-by-layer 3D printing results in parts with anisotropic properties (e.g. mechanical properties that differ by orientation to the print). Continuous 3D printing overcomes this limitation and prints materials that have uniform mechanical properties. The only available form of continuous 3D printing currently is Continuous Liquid Interface Printing (CLIP). The CLIP process operates by balancing oxygen diffusion, photoabsorption, irradiation intensity, resin viscosity, and stage translation with an ultraviolet (UV) curing process to provide feature resolution and fast build-times of monolithic parts. The SMaLL is a newer approach that adds the ability to program multiple chemical compositions and mechanical properties (e.g., hard and soft) in a single part. Additionally, this technique provides rapid build rates, mild build conditions, as well as excellent resolution that outperforms state-of-the-art techniques. This technique allows for the rapid printing of multi-materials such as joints, truss structures, and soft exteriors covering hard interiors. These parts can easily be incorporated into products like shoe soles or be standalone devices.
Mechanocatalysis Conversion of Biomass to Value Products
Using various solid catalysts, raw biomass may be milled to produce a variety of useful starting materials for multiple processes. Four primary processes exist. The first (1), uses any cellulose containing material and any type of solid/semi-solid acid material having a surface acidity (H0) below -5.6 and sufficient water content to aid in hydrolysis. Examples of suitable acids include, without limitation, kaolin or acid treated clay material. Super acids are also suitable (i.e. alumina treated with sulfuric acid). The second process (2) converts lignin-containing material to vanillin, syringaldehyde, and their respective acids using a solid metal oxide (i.e manganese oxide or cerium oxide) or a porphyrin-like material. The third process (3) begins with a hexose (i.e. glucose) or pentose (i.e. xylose) and a lanthanide metal oxide to obtain dihydroxyacetone, glyceraldehyde, and glycolaldehyde. Finally, a fourth process (4) begins with any proteinaceous starting material (i.e. albumin, gelatin, etc.) and the same acids used in (1) to produce pure amino acids and polypeptides. All of the above processes (1, 2, 3, and 4) require only aqueous extraction to obtain their respective products. Additionally, they are conducted under ambient conditions. All kinetic energy is provided by agitation during milling.
“Artificial Photosynthesis” for Clean Air and Energy Production using Titanium-Based Metal Organic Framework (MOF) and Visible Blue Light
The accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is a major environmental concern and contributor to global warming. Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) have emerged as a promising next generation technology for carbon capture and storage. Current titanium-based MOFs for photocatalytic reduction of CO2 typically use ultraviolet (UV) light. Because UV light represents only a small percentage of the sun’s rays, the applicability of these MOFs is limited. UCF’s technology is a new and low-cost technique for synthesizing titanium-based MOFs with the unique capability to reduce carbon dioxide under visible light (which is more abundant compared to UV light). The safe, non-toxic MOF is a crystalline porous material that exhibits high surface area and large pore volume. Tailored to absorb a specific color of visible light, the MOF consists of titanium oxide clusters connected through organic linkers, such as 2-amino-terephthalate. For example, the MOF’s linkers can be N-alkyl groups of increasing chain length (from methyl to heptyl) and varying connectivity. When illuminated under blue light, the MOF acts as a catalyst to effectively reduce carbon dioxide into solar fuels: formate and formamide derivatives.
Magnesium-Based Metal Composite
This technology is a novel process for producing magnesium matrix nanocomposites reinforced with high-volume fraction nano-scaled ceramic particles and a unique bi-model structure. Additionally, the process can be utilized for other combinations of metals and ceramic materials. Synthesis of this material is performed using the following steps. First, the appropriately selected micrometer-sized flake metal powders for the metal alloy matrix are chosen, along with the nanometer sized ceramic powders, which act as the reinforcements. The powdered mixtures are then milled for a controlled period of time to embed the ceramic nanoparticles into the flake metal powders, with added surfactants. This creates the unique bi-model structured nanoparticles, comprised of a metal core and ceramic-reinforced metal shell. Finally, the powdered material is sintered into a bulk form, which can be formed into the end product or machined into specific shapes. The nanocomposite exhibits higher stiffness and yield strength with retained ductility. The yield strength of Mg-5vol.%SiC nanocomposite approaches 290 MPa, and is twice as strong as pure Mg as well as having 3.5 times the yield strength of pure Mg. As the volume fraction of ceramic nanoparticles increases, the ductility of the nanocomposite is retained without further sacrifice.
Ferroelectric / Piezoelectric Polymers from Modified PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride)
The ferroelectric β-phase of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) has only been obtained through the use of a post-fabrication drawing process (typically 300-400% elongation) and thus only thin films can be effectively produced, which limits applications for the material and restricts the design of the transducer. Dr. Sodano's lab has developed a pretreatment process that preferentially induces crystallization in the β-phase without the need for drawing. Furthermore, the value of the d33 is higher than any value reported in the literature for a piezoelectric polymer film and the G coefficient is the highest of any material ever reported. The production of as-cast PVDF films with high β-phase and piezoelectric coupling has not been demonstrated before and opens up numerous applications and transducer designs that have not been previously possible. The production process can be combined with 3D printing, making this new technology a great candidate to combine with printed electronics in applications that require a piezoelectric sensor or ferroelectric memory switches. In addition, the PVDF polymer is non-toxic and can be used as a sensor, actuator, or energy harvester for devices - potentially including implantable devices.
Ann Arbor, MI
Hedgehog Particles for Catalysis
Hedgehog particles (HPs) are made of zinc oxide (ZnO) needles, a highly active material that can be used to speed up (catalyze) reactions and adsorb admixtures. The needles are grown around a spherical core permitting the formation of suspensions in both water and oil. The particles morphologically resemble “hedgehogs” and feature heavily corrugated nanoscale inorganic surface topography. The main advantage of particles with a surface of nano-spikes is their ability to disperse and conduct reactions in nonpolar (water-hating) solvents such as oil while retaining their water-loving surface states. In most cases, nanoscale (photo) catalysts improve efficiency and selectivity, reduce energy costs and simplify manufacturing operations for many important industrial processes. However many nanoscale photo-catalysts work only in water and other polar solvents while important starting materials and reaction products are only compatible with nonpolar solvents. The ability of HPs to perform catalysis and other chemical functions in hydrocarbons may improve the efficiency of plastics manufacturing and open up new reaction pathways that improve chemical and pharmaceutical production. The practicality of omni-dispersible HPs was demonstrated by 80-100% oxidative desulfurization of thiophene from liquid hydrocarbons, a major contaminant of fuels which carries a large environmental impact.
Portable instant test kit for detection of lead paint
Lead, a widely used heavy metal in paints, plumbing, fuel and several other applications was discontinued due to the dangers of lead poisoning in the late 1970s. Several detection methods and do-it-yourself test kits have been developed to test for the presence of lead in households and limit exposure to lead, but none currently meet both of EPAs criteria regarding positive and negative response. Portable Field Sensor for Lead Paint based on Gelation Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a novel and portable sensor to detect lead in paint samples. The detection kit incorporates a special ligand that selectively binds to lead and causes gelation of the sample, which is easily observed solely by visual inspection. The kit thus enables the unambiguous detection of lead by naked eye with no training or additional instrumentation. The kit has the ability to detect very low concentrations of lead with few false positives or false negatives. Applications: Do-it-yourself lead test kit for detection of lead or lead compounds in: Lead paint during renovation of older houses or buildings Children’s toys and play area Potential application in detection of lead in: Drinking water Pipes, solders and plumbing Cosmetics
Bio-based Isoprene from Two Step Conversion of Citric Acid
The overall transformation from citric acid to isoprene can be performed in two steps. Citric acid is first dehydrated to form aconitic acid, which will readily decarboxylate to form itaconic acid. Itaconic acid is then subsequently hydrogenated to form 3-methyl tetrahydrofuran (3-MTHF), which can then be taken to the vapor phase to undergo a dehydra-decyclization which yields isoprene.
Particulate Absorbent Used to Lower Energy and Capital Requirements in Ammonia Production
This technology utilizes cheap and readily available salts such as magnesium chloride (MgCl2) and particulate supports to absorb ammonia selectively as the ammonia is formed. Key Features and Benefits of this technology when compared to conventional Haber Bosch processes are: • Lower operating pressures • Lower operating costs • Lower capital costs • Small scale ammonia production Other key features and benefits of this technology include: • Ammonia is a more efficient storage medium than hydrogen • Cost effective storage medium for electrical energy Once absorbed, ammonia is rapidly released from the salt by simply lowering the pressure. Traditional ammonia synthesis catalysts and absorbents can be combined into a single absorbent bed system. It is possible to achieve greater than 85% conversion to ammonia in a single operation—much greater than the typical ~15% conversion currently achieved. Significantly lower reaction pressures are expected. Such high conversions and lower reaction pressures eliminate the necessity for costly recycle streams and high-pressure reaction vessels, leading to lower energy requirements, and reduced capital costs. In addition, where excess electrical energy is available, this technology could be used to store energy as ammonia.
Versatile Biocatalyst Technology for Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Food Ingredient Synthesis
Multi-enzyme biocatalytic cascades represent an attractive and powerful approach to synthesis of valuable chemicals, pharmaceuticals or food ingredients. Optimal reaction cascade efficiency requires spatial organization of the enzymes. This technology is an easy-to-adapt, genetically-encoded, and programmable self-assembling protein scaffolding system designed and built to be a platform for the spatial colocalization of biocatalytic cascades. The developed platform exploits the self-assembling properties of the bacterial microcompartment shell protein EutM as scaffold building blocks, which was found to form robust, self-assembling protein arrays under a range of conditions suitable for biocatalysis. Further, N- terminal or C-terminal modifications of the EutM scaffold building block facilitate purification, facilitate cargo enzyme loading, and did not impede self-assembly. Different types of cargo proteins were successfully co-localized onto protein scaffolds in vitro (with isolated scaffold building blocks and cargo protein) and in vivo (by co-expression of scaffold building block and cargo protein in recombinant E. coli). Moreover, an industrially-relevant enzyme system for chiral amine synthesis was co-localized onto the protein scaffolds and shown to significantly improve the reaction efficiency by up to 300X over a soluble dual-enzyme cascade