Journal News

3D Systems adds Boeing president to board
http://www.materialstoday.com/additive-manufacturing/news/3d-systems-adds-boeing-president-to-board/

3D Systems has appointed John J Tracy to its board of directors. Dr Tracy has more than 37 years of experience in the aerospace industry, most recently as chief technology officer and senior vice president, engineering, operations and technology at Boeing. Dr. Tracy has also authored more than 40 publications in the areas of structural mechanics, launch vehicle structures, smart structures and aging aircraft, and has received numerous awards and recognitions from the Hispanic community, including being named the 2006 Hispanic Engineer of the Year.

‘We are a technology company focused on key verticals and the addition of Dr Tracy to our board reinforces our commitment to enhance management and the board in line with our customer centric strategy to drive profitable growth through focused execution,’ said Vyomesh Joshi (VJ), 3D Systems’ president and CEO. ‘We expect that his invaluable experience and deep knowledge of technology and aerospace will be a valuable addition to our board.’

This story is reprinted from material from 3D Systems, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

Pentaxia to expand
http://www.materialstoday.com/composite-industry/news/pentaxia-to-expand/

UK composite tooling company Pentaxia says that it plans to expand, adding more than 20 new jobs and moving to new manufacturing and office space later in 2017.

This follows growth of more than 60% during the past twelve months, the company says, due to an increase in demand for components from the aerospace, automotive and motorsport industries.

The team is currently recruiting for a composites project engineer, a management accountant and trainee laminators, with more recruitment planned next year. The firm has also invested in two new Italmatic autoclaves, a new clean room and fitting complex for the new site. Current plans also include new machine tools and additional paint facilities.

‘The National Composites Centre predicts huge growth in this market and if that’s correct, then we will need all this available space in the future,’ said managing director Stephen Ollier.

This story is reprinted from material from Pentaxia, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

Chromium triiodide still magnetic in two dimensions
http://www.materialstoday.com/crystalline-materials/news/chromium-triiodide-magnetic-two-dimensions/

This is a top-view depiction of a single layer of chromium triiodide; grey balls represent chromium atoms and purple balls represent iodine atoms. Image: Efren Navarro-Moratalla.
This is a top-view depiction of a single layer of chromium triiodide; grey balls represent chromium atoms and purple balls represent iodine atoms. Image: Efren Navarro-Moratalla.

Magnetic materials form the basis of technologies that play increasingly pivotal roles in our lives today, including sensing and hard-disk data storage. But driven by the desire for ever smaller and faster devices, researchers are seeking new magnetic materials that are more compact, more efficient and can be controlled using precise, reliable methods.

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington (UW) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has for the first time discovered magnetism in the two dimensional (2D) world of monolayers, or materials that are formed by a single atomic layer. Their findings, published in a paper in Nature, demonstrate that magnetic properties can exist even in the 2D realm – opening a world of potential applications.

"What we have discovered here is an isolated 2D material with intrinsic magnetism, and the magnetism in the system is highly robust," said Xiaodong Xu, a UW professor of physics and of materials science and engineering, and a member of the UW's Clean Energy Institute. "We envision that new information technologies may emerge based on these new 2D magnets." Xu and MIT physics professor Pablo Jarillo-Herrero led the international team of scientists who proved that the material – chromium triiodide (CrI3) – has magnetic properties in its monolayer form.

Other groups, including co-author Michael McGuire at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, had previously shown that CrI3 – in its multilayered, three dimensional (3D), bulk crystal form – is ferromagnetic. In ferromagnetic materials, the ‘spins’ of constituent electrons, analogous to tiny, subatomic magnets, align in the same direction even without an external magnetic field.

But no 3D magnetic substance had previously retained its magnetic properties when thinned down to a single atomic sheet. In fact, monolayer materials can demonstrate unique properties not seen in their multilayered, 3D forms. "You simply cannot accurately predict what the electric, magnetic, physical or chemical properties of a 2D monolayer crystal will be based on the behavior of its 3D bulk counterpart," explained co-lead author and UW doctoral student Bevin Huang.

Atoms within monolayer materials are considered ‘functionally’ two-dimensional because the electrons can only travel within the atomic sheet, like pieces on a chessboard. To discover the properties of CrI3 in its 2D form, the team used Scotch tape to shave a monolayer of CrI3 off the larger, 3D crystal form.

"Using Scotch tape to exfoliate a monolayer from its 3D bulk crystal is surprisingly effective," said co-lead author and UW doctoral student Genevieve Clark. "This simple, low-cost technique was first used to obtain graphene, the 2D form of graphite, and has been used successfully since then with other materials."

In ferromagnetic materials, the aligned spins of electrons leave a tell-tale signature when a beam of polarized light is reflected off the material's surface. The researchers detected this signature in a single layer of CrI3 using a special microscopy technique, providing the first definitive sign of intrinsic ferromagnetism in an isolated monolayer.

Surprisingly, in CrI3 flakes that are two layers thick, the optical signature disappeared. This indicates that the electron spins in different layers are oppositely aligned to one another, a term known as anti-ferromagnetic ordering.

Ferromagnetism returned in three-layer CrI3. The scientists will need to conduct further studies to understand why CrI3 displayed these remarkable layer-dependent magnetic phases. But to Xu, these are just some of the truly unique properties revealed by combining monolayers.

"Two-dimensional monolayers alone offer exciting opportunities to study the drastic and precise electrical control of magnetic properties, which has been a challenge to realize using their 3D bulk crystals," said Xu. "But an even greater opportunity can arise when you stack monolayers with different physical properties together. There, you can get even more exotic phenomena not seen in the monolayer alone or in the 3D bulk crystal."

Much of Xu's research centers on creating heterostructures, which are stacks of two different ultrathin materials. At the interface between the two materials, his team searches for new physical phenomena or new functions that could find potential application in computing and information technologies.

In a related advance, Xu's research group, together with colleagues, published a recent paper in Science Advances showing that an ultrathin form of CrI3, when stacked with a monolayer of tungsten diselenide, creates an ultraclean ‘heterostructure’ interface with unique and unexpected photonic and magnetic properties. "Heterostructures hold the greatest promise of realizing new applications in computing, database storage, communications and other applications we cannot even fathom yet," said Xu.

Xu and his team would next like to investigate the magnetic properties unique to 2D magnets and heterostructures that contain a CrI3 monolayer or bilayer.

This story is adapted from material from the University of Washington, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.

Oyster shells inspire tough and strong polymer nanocomposite
http://www.materialstoday.com/composites/news/oyster-shells-inspire-polymer-nanocomposite/

This image shows how polymer crystallization speed can be used to control the spatial distribution of nanoparticles. Impurities (here, the nanoparticles) will become engulfed by the crystal if it grows too rapidly; when the rate slows, however, the crystal will expel the defects. Image: Sanat Kumar/Columbia Engineering.
This image shows how polymer crystallization speed can be used to control the spatial distribution of nanoparticles. Impurities (here, the nanoparticles) will become engulfed by the crystal if it grows too rapidly; when the rate slows, however, the crystal will expel the defects. Image: Sanat Kumar/Columbia Engineering.

For the first time, researchers at the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science have demonstrated a new technique that takes its inspiration from the nacre of oyster shells, a composite material that has extraordinary mechanical properties, including great strength and resilience.

By changing the crystallization speed of a polymer that was initially well-mixed with nanoparticles, the team was able to control how the nanoparticles self-assemble into structures at three very different length scales. This multiscale ordering can make the base material almost an order of magnitude stiffer, while still retaining the desired deformability and lightweight behavior of the polymeric materials. The study appears in a paper in ACS Central Science.

"Essentially, we have created a one-step method to build a composite material that is significantly stronger than its host material," says Sanat Kumar, an expert in polymer dynamics and self-assembly who led the study. "Our technique may improve the mechanical and potentially other physical properties of commercially-relevant plastic materials, with applications in automobiles, protective coatings and food/beverage packaging, things we use every day. And, looking further ahead, we may also be able to produce interesting electronic or optical properties of the nanocomposite materials, potentially enabling the fabrication of new materials and functional devices that can be used in structural applications such as buildings, but with the ability to monitor their health in situ."

About 75% of commercially-used polymers, including polyethylene for packaging and polypropylene for bottles, are semi-crystalline. These materials have low mechanical strength and thus cannot be used for many advanced applications, including automobile fittings like tires, fanbelts, bumpers, etc.

Researchers have known for decades, going back to the early 1900s, that varying nanoparticle dispersion in materials like polymers, metals and ceramics can dramatically improve their properties. A good example in nature is nacre, which is 95% inorganic aragonite and 5% crystalline polymer (chitin); its hierarchical nanoparticle ordering – a mixture of intercalated brittle platelets and thin layers of elastic biopolymers – strongly improves its mechanical properties. In addition, parallel aragonite layers, held together by a nanoscale (10nm thick) crystalline biopolymer layer, form ‘bricks’ that subsequently assemble into ‘brick-and-mortar’ superstructures at the micrometer scale and larger. This arrangement, at multiple length sizes, greatly increases nacre’s toughness.

"While achieving the spontaneous assembly of nanoparticles into a hierarchy of scales in a polymer host has been a 'holy grail' in nanoscience, until now there has been no established method to achieve this goal," says Dan Zhao, Kumar's PhD student and first author of the paper. "We addressed this challenge through the controlled, multiscale assembly of nanoparticles by leveraging the kinetics of polymer crystallization."

While researchers focusing on polymer nanocomposites have achieved facile control of nanoparticle organization in an amorphous polymer matrix (i.e. the polymer does not crystallize), to date no one has been able to tune nanoparticle assembly in a crystalline polymer matrix. One related approach relied on ice-templating. Using this technique, investigators have crystallized small molecules (predominantly water) to organize colloid particles. Due to the intrinsic kinetics of this process, however, the particles are normally expelled into the microscale grain boundaries, and so researchers have not been able to order nanoparticles across the multiple scales necessary to mimic nacre.

Kumar's group are experts in tuning the structure and therefore the properties of polymer nanocomposites. They found that, by mixing nanoparticles in a solution of polymers (polyethylene oxide) and changing the crystallization speed by varying the degree of sub-cooling (namely how far below the melting point the crystallization was conducted), they could control how the nanoparticles self-assembled at three different scale regimes: nano-, micro- and macro-meter. Each nanoparticle was evenly covered by the polymers and evenly spaced before the crystallization process began. The nanoparticles then assembled into sheets (10–100 nm) and the sheets into aggregates on the microscale (1–10 μm) as the polymer crystallized.

"This controlled self-assembly is important because it improves the stiffness of the materials while keeping them tough," says Kumar. "And the materials retain the low density of the pure semi-crystalline polymer so that we can keep the weight of a structural component low, a property that is critical to applications such as cars and planes, where weight is a critical consideration. With our versatile approach, we can vary either the particle or the polymer to achieve some specific material behavior or device performance."

Kumar's team next plans to examine the fundamentals that allow particles to move toward certain regions of the system, and to develop methods to speed up the kinetics of particle ordering, which currently takes a few days. They then plan to explore other application-driven polymer/particle systems, such as polylactide/nanoparticle systems that can be engineered as next-generation biodegradable and sustainable polymer nanocomposites, and polyethylene/silica, which is used in car bumpers, buildings and bridges.

"The potential of replacing structural materials with these new composites could have a profound effect on sustainable materials as well as our nation's' infrastructure," Kumar says.

This story is adapted from material from the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.

Computer simulations unravel mystery of nickel nano-islands
http://www.materialstoday.com/computation-theory/news/computer-simulations-nickel-nanoislands/

Simulations by scientists at Purdue University have unraveled the mystery of a new electrocatalyst that could solve a significant problem associated with fuel cells and electrolyzers.

Both fuel cells, which use chemical reactions to produce energy, and electrolyzers, which convert energy into hydrogen or other gases, employ electrocatalysts to promote the necessary chemical reactions. Electrocatalysts that can activate such reactions tend to be unstable, however, because they corrode in the highly acidic or basic water solutions that are used in fuel cells and electrolyzers.

A team led by Jeffrey Greeley, an associate professor of chemical engineering at Purdue University, has now identified the structure for a novel electrocatalyst made of nickel nano-islands deposited on platinum that is both active and stable. This design conferred properties on the nickel that Greeley said were unexpected but highly beneficial. The team report their findings in a paper in Nature Energy.

"The reactions led to very stable structures that we would not predict by just looking at the properties of nickel," Greeley said. "It turned out to be quite a surprise."

"The reactions led to very stable structures that we would not predict by just looking at the properties of nickel. It turned out to be quite a surprise."Jeffrey Greeley, Purdue University

Greeley's team, together with collaborators working at Argonne National Laboratory, had noticed that nickel placed on a platinum substrate showed potential as an electrocatalyst. Greeley's lab then proceeded to work out how an electrocatalyst with this composition could be both active and stable.

Greeley's team simulated different thicknesses and diameters of nickel on platinum, as well as voltages and pH levels in the fuel cells. Depositing nickel just one or two atomic layers in thickness and one or two nanometers in diameter created the conditions they wanted. "They're like little islands of nickel sitting on a sea of platinum," Greeley said.

The ultra-thin layer of nickel is key, because all the electrochemical activity occurs at the point where the two metals come together. And since there are only one or two atomic layers of nickel, almost all of it is reacting with the platinum. That not only produces the required catalytic activity, but changes the nickel in a way that keeps it from oxidizing, providing the stability.

Their collaborators at Argonne then analyzed this nickel-platinum structure and confirmed the properties Greeley and his team expected the electrocatalyst to have.

Next, Greeley plans to test similar structures with different metals, such as replacing platinum with gold or the nickel with cobalt, as well as modifying the pH and voltages. He believes other more stable and active combinations may be found using his computational analysis.

This story is adapted from material from Purdue University, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.

Ceramic nanofibers produce deformable, heat-resistant sponge
http://www.materialstoday.com/hardmetals-and-ceramics/news/ceramic-deformable-heatresistant-sponge/

A porous, deformable sponge-like material made from ceramic nanofibers displays remarkable heat resistance. Here, flower petals are heated atop 7mm-thick discs of varying materials. After heating the materials from the bottom at 400°C, the petal atop the ceramic sponge is barely wilted, while the others are burnt to a crisp. Image: Gao/Li/Wu/Brown University/Tsingua University.
A porous, deformable sponge-like material made from ceramic nanofibers displays remarkable heat resistance. Here, flower petals are heated atop 7mm-thick discs of varying materials. After heating the materials from the bottom at 400°C, the petal atop the ceramic sponge is barely wilted, while the others are burnt to a crisp. Image: Gao/Li/Wu/Brown University/Tsingua University.

Researchers have found a way to make ultralight sponge-like materials from nanoscale ceramic fibers. The highly porous, compressible and heat-resistant sponges could have numerous uses, from water purification devices to flexible insulating materials.

"The basic science question we tried to answer is how can we make a material that's highly deformable but resistant to high temperature," said Huajian Gao, a professor in Brown University's School of Engineering. "This paper demonstrates that we can do that by tangling ceramic nanofibers into a sponge, and the method we use for doing it is inexpensive and scalable to make these in large quantities." The work, a collaboration between Gao's lab at Brown and the labs of Hui Wu and Xiaoyan Li at Tsinghua University in China, is described in a paper in Science Advances.

As anyone who has ever dropped a flower vase knows well, ceramics are brittle materials. Cracks in ceramics tend to propagate quickly, leading to catastrophic failure with even the slightest deformation. While that's true for all traditional ceramics, things are different at the nanoscale.

"At the nanoscale, cracks and flaws become so small that it takes much more energy to activate them and cause them to propagate," explained Gao. "Nanoscale fibers also promote deformation mechanisms such as what is known as creep, where atoms can diffuse along grain boundaries, enabling the material to deform without breaking."

Because of those nanoscale dynamics, materials made from ceramic nanofibers have the potential to be deformable and flexible, while maintaining the heat resistance that make ceramics useful in high-temperature applications. The problem is that such materials aren't easy to make. One commonly-used method for making nanofibers, known as electrospinning, doesn't work well with ceramics. Another potential option, 3D laser printing, is expensive and time-consuming.

So the researchers turned to a method called solution blow-spinning, which had been developed previously by Wu in his lab at Tsinghua. This process uses air pressure to drive a liquid solution containing ceramic material through a tiny syringe aperture. As the liquid emerges, it quickly solidifies into nanoscale fibers that are collected in a spinning cage. The collected material is then heated to burn away the solvent material, leaving a mass of tangled ceramic nanofibers that looks a bit like a cotton ball.

The researchers used this method to create sponges made from a variety of different types of ceramic and showed that these materials possessed some remarkable properties. For example, the sponges were able to rebound after compressive strain of up to 50%, something that no standard ceramic material can do, and could maintain that resilience at temperatures of up to 800°C.

The research also showed that the sponges had a remarkable capacity for high-temperature insulation. In one experiment, the researchers placed a flower petal on top of a 7mm-thick sponge made from nanofibers of titanium dioxide (a common ceramic material). After heating the bottom of the sponge to 400°C for 10 minutes, the flower on top barely wilted. Meanwhile, petals placed on other types of porous ceramic materials under the same conditions were burnt to a crisp.

The ceramic sponges' heat resistance and deformability make them potentially useful as an insulating material where flexibility is important. For example, Gao says, the material could be used as an insulating layer in firefighters' clothing.

Another potential use could be in water purification. Titanium dioxide is a well-known photocatalyst, able to break down organic molecules and thus kill bacteria and other microorganisms in water. The researchers showed that a titanium dioxide sponge could absorb 50 times its weight in water containing an organic dye. Within 15 minutes, the sponge was able to degrade the dye under illumination. With the water wrung out, the sponge could then be reused – something that can't be done with the titanium dioxide powders normally used in water purification.

In addition to these applications, there may be others that the researchers haven't yet considered. "The process we used for making these is extremely versatile; it can be used with a great variety of different types of ceramic starting materials," said Wu, one of the corresponding authors from Tsinghua. "So we think there's huge prospect for potential applications."

This story is adapted from material from Brown University, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.

Hexion Introduces new phenolic resin for prepregs
http://www.materialstoday.com/composite-processing/news/hexion-introduces-new-phenolic-resin-for-prepregs/

Hexion Inc says that it has developed a phenolic resin for prepreg composites with a free formaldehyde (ULEF) content of less than 0.1%.

The new, lower volatile organic compound (VOC) Cellobond J 6021X01 resins have been designed for prepreg manufacturing. The ULEF resin systems have 90% less free formaldehyde than previous systems. This new system helps reduce emissions during composite manufacturing and allows the development of prepreg composite systems with further reductions in free formaldehyde content.

‘Phenolic composites are universally accepted as the best option for meeting the most stringent fire safety standards, such as FAR 25.853,’ claimed Neil Smallwood, managing director at FTI Group. ‘With Cellobond J6021X01 phenolic resin, we have been able to combine fire safety with safer prepreg manufacturing and handling. Our new FibaRoll PH prepregs and SMC formulations have a residual free formaldehyde of <0.01%. FST results are excellent, with outstanding peak heat release of <10 kW/m2.’

This story is reprinted from material from Hexion, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

 

Coach manufacturer acquires Carlson Engineered Composites
http://www.materialstoday.com/composite-industry/news/coach-manufacturer-acquires-carlson/

New Flyer Industries Inc, a large transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor based in the US, has acquired Carlson Engineered Composites Inc and the assets of its US affiliated companies, a privately-owned composites company, headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba for US$13 million.

Carlson makes glass fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) components primarily for original equipment manufacturers of transportation vehicles and agricultural equipment, with 2016 sales exceeding US$38 million. It currently employs over 300 people at three production facilities totaling 235,000 ft2.

‘The acquisition of Carlson will allow us to control of one of the more critical commodities in our manufacturing supply chain,’ said David White, New Flyer Group’s Executive vice president, supply management. ‘As we think about the businesses of Carlson and Frank Fair Industries Ltd, the Winnipeg FRP business owned by Motor Coach Industries Limited since 1991, we can explore sharing best practices in composite part manufacturing, optimizing processes, and pursuing new technologies.’

This story is reprinted from material from New Flyer, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

 

Carpenter broadens reach in 3D printing
http://www.materialstoday.com/additive-manufacturing/news/carpenter-broadens-reach-in-3d-printing-/

Carpenter Technology Corporation has entered into a supply relationship with Desktop Metal, Inc allowing for more than 20 of its CarTech alloy grades to be used in Desktop Metal’s end-to-end metal 3D printing systems.

‘As we develop technology for next generation manufacturing solutions, it is essential to collaborate with innovative partners,’ said Tony R Thene, Carpenter Technology’s CEO. ‘Leveraging the combined capabilities of Desktop Metals and Carpenter Technology, we will undoubtedly bring enhanced value to this rapidly growing market.’

This story is reprinted from material from Carpenter, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

Online crystal cookbook brought back by popular demand
http://www.materialstoday.com/computation-theory/news/online-crystal-cookbook-brought-back/

In response to popular demand, materials scientists at Duke University have resurrected an online cookbook of crystalline structures that started when the World Wide Web was Netscape Navigator and HTML 1.0.

In 1995, Michael Mehl, then a scientist at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), began collecting, cataloguing and sharing information about crystalline structures on a basic website for colleagues. Researchers need a reference catalogue to guide their efforts because crystals form hundreds of different structures in nature. Chemists use crystals as handy building blocks for new materials because of their rigid, ordered molecular shapes, which help to determine a material's properties.

Mehl's website, called Crystal Lattice Structures, provided detailed information that, while available from other sources, was more useful to researchers unfamiliar with crystallographic conventions. If crystalline databases were cookbooks and each crystal structure a recipe, researchers had mainly written references suitable for accomplished French chefs with specialized training. Crystal Lattice Structures, on the other hand, was for your average home cook.

"The library showed how crystallography relates to crystals in the real world," explained Mehl, now at the US Naval Academy. "It also gave a broad overview of structures seen experimentally, which is always a good place to start looking for something new."

Mehl took the website down in 2010, however, due in part to security upgrades made at NRL, and because the website's haphazard growth over 15 years had left its organization unnecessarily complicated and its entries unstandardized.

"There were a lot of people in the community asking where the database had gone and whether or not it could be brought back," said Stefano Curtarolo, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke University. "We decided to put all the information together into a paper and also bring back the website in a more robust and open-source version."

With Mehl's help, Curtarolo and his team have resurrected Crystal Lattice Structures, launching a new and improved online catalogue and publishing a paper containing all of its data (the first of a longer collection).

This paper, which took more than a year to compile and is published in Computational Materials Science, contains 288 entries for various crystalline structures. Each entry contains data on the symmetry of the structure, its crystalline properties and the shape of a unit cell. It also contains generic mathematical equations describing each atom's placement, rather than providing that information in a specialized form as other databases typically do.

"Having the equations for the atomic placements written out gives more flexibility to include slight variations and to specifically tune each structure," said Cormac Toher, assistant research professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke. "We're also going to have a 3D viewer of the structures at the top of each entry so that people can see the structures at different angles."

Making the new website even more robust, each entry is directly linked to the Duke Center for Materials Genomics AFLOW library – an online database of two- and three-element compounds that lets users predict the properties of yet-to-be-discovered materials. With the incorporation of the new database, users can simply choose which elemental atoms to place at which positions in any of the 288 crystalline structures, and the program will compute the resulting material's likely properties.

"We had to decide what format to present the information in, get all of the data, and 800 pages later make sure there weren't any errors," said David Hicks, a graduate student in Curtarolo's laboratory. "And then implementing everything within AFLOW took another 288 files of C++ coding. It was a lot of work, but we think it will be a very useful resource for the community."

This story is adapted from material from Duke University, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.

One example of the sorts of 3D crystalline structures included in a relaunch of Crystal Lattice Structures, a venerable online 'cookbook' for chemists. Image: Cormac Toher, Duke University.
One example of the sorts of 3D crystalline structures included in a relaunch of Crystal Lattice Structures, a venerable online 'cookbook' for chemists. Image: Cormac Toher, Duke University.

Novel nanomaterial combination could best silicon
http://www.materialstoday.com/nanomaterials/news/novel-nanomaterial-combination-could-best-silicon/

An illustration showing the combination of C60, graphene and hBN in the new van der Waals solid.
An illustration showing the combination of C60, graphene and hBN in the new van der Waals solid.

A researcher at Queen’s University Belfast in the UK has led an international team of scientists to the discovery of a new material that could finally bring an end to the misery of cracked smartphone and tablet screens.

Currently, most parts of a smartphone are made of silicon and other compounds, which are expensive and break easily, but with almost 1.5 billion smartphones purchased worldwide last year, manufacturers are on the lookout for materials that are more durable and less costly.

Elton Santos from Queen’s University’s School of Mathematics and Physics has been working with a team of scientists from Stanford University, University of California and California State University in the US and the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan. Their aim is to create new dynamic hybrid devices that are able to conduct electricity at unprecedented speeds and are light, durable and easy to manufacture in large-scale semiconductor plants.

The has team found that by combining semiconducting molecules of C60, commonly known as buckyballs, with layered materials such as graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) they can produce a unique material that could revolutionize the concept of smart devices.

The winning combination works because hBN provides stability, electronic compatibility and isolation charge to graphene, while C60 can convert sunlight into electricity. Any smart device made from this combination would benefit from this unique mix of features, which do not exist in materials naturally. This process for fabricating these so-called van der Waals solids allows compounds to be brought together and assembled in a predefined way.

“Our findings show that this new ‘miracle material’ has similar physical properties to silicon but it has improved chemical stability, lightness and flexibility, which could potentially be used in smart devices and would be much less likely to break,” explains Elton Santos. “The material also could mean that devices use less energy than before because of the device architecture so could have improved battery life and less electric shocks.

“By bringing together scientists from across the globe with expertise in chemistry, physics and materials science we were able to work together and use simulations to predict how all of the materials could function when combined – and ultimately how these could work to help solve everyday problems. This cutting-edge research is timely and a hot-topic involving key players in the field, which opens a clear international pathway to put Queen’s on the road-map of further outstanding investigations.”

The project initially started with simulations predicting that an assembly of hBN, graphene and C60 could result in a solid with remarkable new physical and chemical properties. Following this, Santos talked with his collaborators Alex Zettl and Claudia Ojeda-Aristizabal at the University of California and California State University in Long Beach about the findings. There was a strong synergy between theory and experiments throughout the project.

“It is a sort of a ‘dream project’ for a theoretician since the accuracy achieved in the experiments remarkably matched what I predicted and this is not normally easy to find,” says Santos. “The model made several assumptions that have proven to be completely right.”

The findings, which have been published in a paper in ACS Nano, open the doors for further exploration of new materials. One issue that still needs to be solved is that graphene and the new material architecture lack a ‘band gap’, which is key to the on-off switching operations performed by electronic devices.

However, Santos’ team is already investigating a potential solution – transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs). These nanomaterials are a hot topic at the moment, as they are very chemically stable, have large sources for production and band gaps that rival silicon.

“By using these findings, we have now produced a template but in future we hope to add an additional feature with TMDs,” says Santos. “These are semiconductors, which bypass the problem of the band gap, so we now have a real transistor on the horizon.”

This story is adapted from material from Queen’s University Belfast, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.

Composite cutting center opens in Atlanta
http://www.materialstoday.com/composite-processing/news/composite-cutting-center-opens-in-atlanta/

Web Industries Inc has opened a ply cutting and kitting operation at its Atlanta-based Composites Center of Excellence.

The new facility includes five cutting tables, laser guidance devices and quality control systems with video systems positioned above the cutting tables for records management and traceability for every product.

According to CAD Cut General Manager Ben Winters, growing market needs for formatted composite materials and related support services prompted the company’s US$2 million investment in factory space, equipment and highly trained personnel.

‘The Atlanta ply cutting and kitting operation mitigates the risk of supply shortages,’ he said. ‘Here in Georgia, we produce the same product as our Denton, Texas and Montpelier, Vermont plants. If for any reason one plant should experience a disruption, production can shift to the other sites, providing customers with an uninterrupted supply chain.

‘Boeing’s mid-2016 Current Market Outlook forecasts overall demand for nearly 40,000 new commercial airplanes during the next 20 years,’ Winters notes. ‘The report also says the aviation sector will continue to see long-term growth with the commercial fleet doubling in size, and that we can expect to see passenger traffic grow 4.8% a year over the next 20 years. We are equipped and ready to support the aerospace industry’s expanding needs for product and vendor managed inventory solutions over the next decade and beyond.’

This story is reprinted from material from Web Industries, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

 

Gurit renews foam distribution agreement
http://www.materialstoday.com/composite-applications/news/gurit-renews-foam-distribution-agreement-/

Gurit says that it has renewed its distribution agreement with Maricell Srl, an Italian producer of closed-cell PVC structural foam.

Under the terms of the agreement, Gurit will continue to distribute all Maricell PVC globally until 31 December 2020, with further extension options.

Gurit will also continue to produce and distribute its existing Corecell, PVC, Balsaflex and Kerdyn PET core materials ranges globally. Gurit also offers regional stock as well as slicing and finishing capacities for structural foam to customers in Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region.

This story is reprinted from material from Gurit, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

 

3D Systems partnership focuses on medical devices
http://www.materialstoday.com/additive-manufacturing/news/3d-systems-partnership-focuses-on-medical-devices/

Additive manufacturing (AM) specialists 3D Systems have created a certified partner program for medical device additive manufacturing companies. rms Company is the first to join this new quality supply network and will focus on design, development and manufacturing of medical implants using 3D Systems’ direct metal printing (DMP) technology.

 ‘We want customers to be able to choose among multiple partners with the same level of medical device manufacturing expertise as 3D Systems,’ said Kevin McAlea, executive vice president, general manager, metals and healthcare, 3D Systems. ‘With our new certified partner program and our ability to insource models for large medical device companies at our certified facilities in Denver, CO, and Leuven, Belgium, we are able to offer the same quality experience to a broader set of customers.’

As part of the new certification process, rms has validated its ProX DMP 320 printer, materials and support processes. The company is already engaged with several of its orthopedic customers to develop and manufacture implants using titanium powder. 

This story is reprinted from material from 3D Systems, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

 

Renishaw at EMO Hannover
http://www.materialstoday.com/additive-manufacturing/news/renishaw-at-emo-hannover/

Renishaw's XM-60 multi-axis calibrator.
Renishaw's XM-60 multi-axis calibrator.

UK 3D printing specialist Renishaw says that it will exhibit at range of metrology and additive manufacturing systems at EMO Hannover 2017, taking place in Germany from 18–23 September 2017.

Renishaw will exhibit in the new Additive Manufacturing Zone, where it will demonstrate software and systems for metal part manufacture. This includes the latest version of the company's build file preparation software, QuantAM 2017, which has been designed for Renishaw metal additive manufacturing systems’ RenAM 500M and AM 400.

It also plans to showcase a new contact scanning system for CNC machine tools, new software for the Equato flexible gauge, new on-machine and mobile apps that simplify the use of machine tool probing, an improved non-contact tool setter for machining centres, a new multi-probe optical interface system, a new surface finish probe for co-ordinate measuring machines (CMMs), and new software that helps improve the functionality of Renishaw's XM-60 multi-axis calibration system.

This story is reprinted from material from Renishaw, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

GKN Hoeganaes supplies 3D printing metal powder in the US
http://www.materialstoday.com/additive-manufacturing/news/gkn-hoeganaes-supplies-3d-printing/

The main AncorAM production hall.
The main AncorAM production hall.

GKN Hoeganaes, which makes metal powders, has started production of titanium powder at its additive manufacturing (AM) facility in New Jersey, USA. 

This new powder atomizing facility is part of the joint venture with TLS Technik of Germany announced last year and provides customers with a North American source for titanium and other powders for additive manufacturing.

This facility full scale atomizing and powder finishing for titanium alloys and other specialty powders for metal additive manufacturing including AncorAM powder products. The AM powder production lines are housed in a 930 m2 facility that is climate controlled for quality and consistency.  The powder atomizing process uses a refractory-free melting method to produce powders suitable for aerospace and medical applications.  All production is certified and completed according to the AS9100 quality management system with medical quality management system certification now underway, the company says.

Advanced devices

GKN Hoeganaes says that it is also developing a range of new powder alloys for additive manufacturing including titanium powders to be used in applications that require high oxidation-resistance, nickel-based alloys to be for high temperature applications, and nickel-titanium powders for use in advanced medical devices.

‘The launch of titanium powder production is a key part of GKN’s continued drive to offer a comprehensive set of products, services and technologies that enable the growth of metal additive manufacturing into a major industry and positions GKN Hoeganaes to enable its customers to launch demanding additively manufactured components for aerospace and medical applications,’ said Peter Oberparleiter – CEO, GKN Powder Metallurgy.

This story is reprinted from material from GKN, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

 

New version of AM software
http://www.materialstoday.com/additive-manufacturing/news/new-version-of-am-software/

Simufact Engineering, an MSC Software company, has released Simufact Additive 2, a new version of its simulation solution for metal-based additive manufacturing.  

The software provides a new series of capabilities covering powder bed fusion processes. This includes an algorithm which can calibrate the inherent strain values, individual positioning of parts in virtual build space and a simulatation of the hot isostatic (HIP) processes. 

Comparison with physical testing is also available to help enable the comparison of simulated parts with the target design or 3D measurement data as a reference.  

This story is reprinted from material from Simufact, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

 

Hexion president retires
http://www.materialstoday.com/composite-industry/news/hexion-president-retires/

Hexion reports that Craig O. Morrison has retired from the position of chairman, president and CEO of Hexion after more than twelve years of service.

He will be replaced by Craig A. Rogerson, the former chairman, president and CEO of Chemtura Corporation. Prior to Chemtura, Rogerson had a 27 year career at Hercules Incorporated serving in various senior management. He also serves on the boards of PPL Corporation, the American Chemistry Council, the Society of Chemical Industry, and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

‘We would like to thank Craig Morrison for his leadership, dedication and service to Hexion since its formation in 2005,’ said Scott Kleinman, lead partner, Apollo Global Management. ‘Craig has built a leading global specialty chemical company and world-class management team and we wish him well in his retirement. In addition, we would also like to welcome Craig Rogerson to Hexion and believe he is uniquely qualified to serve as chairman, president and chief executive officer. Craig Rogerson is an outstanding leader with deep operating expertise and proven track record of successfully managing complex, global business portfolios.’ 

This story is reprinted from material from Hexion, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

New method can monitor irradiated materials in real time
http://www.materialstoday.com/characterization/news/new-method-monitor-irradiated-materials/

This shows the instrumentation used for the real-time monitoring of irradiated materials by transient grating spectroscopy. Photo courtesy of the researchers.
This shows the instrumentation used for the real-time monitoring of irradiated materials by transient grating spectroscopy. Photo courtesy of the researchers.

A new advance on a method developed by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) could enable continuous, high-precision monitoring of materials exposed to a high-radiation environment. This method may allow these materials to remain in place much longer, eliminating the need for preventive replacement; it could also speed up the search for new, improved materials for these harsh environments.

The new findings appear in a paper in Applied Physics Letters by graduate student Cody Dennett and assistant professor of nuclear science and engineering Michael Short. This study builds on the team's earlier work that described the benchmarking of the method, called transient grating spectroscopy (TGS), for nuclear materials. The new research confirms that the technique can indeed perform with the high degree of sensitivity and time-resolution that the earlier calculations and tests had suggested should be possible for detecting tiny imperfections.

"Our whole goal was to monitor how materials evolve when exposed to radiation," Short explains, "but do it in a way that's online," without requiring samples to be extracted from that environment and tested in outside devices. Such an external testing process can be time-consuming and expensive, and doesn't provide information about how damage occurs over time.

The new testing approach can reveal changes in, for example, thermal and mechanical properties that affect the material's response to temperature surges or vibration. "What we're working toward is a real-time diagnostic system that works under radiation conditions," Short says.

Their earlier work, he says, showed that the technique was capable of detecting such radiation-induced changes. The new work, which included making some modifications to the method, makes it possible to take measurements at high speed under real-time, dynamic conditions, and to produce the kind of detailed information needed for a practical monitoring system.

The method works without requiring any physical contact between the monitoring device and the metal surfaces being monitored. Instead, it relies purely on optical probes. One set of laser beams stimulate vibrations in the surface of the material, while others probe the properties of those vibrations by using the interference patterns of the beams. These patterns can reveal details about not just surface properties but also the bulk material.

The technique could also have broad applications in monitoring other kinds of materials, the researchers say. For example, it could be used to monitor the behavior of phase-change materials that are being developed for new kinds of magnetic data storage. "The ability to do characterization of dynamically-changing systems is of interest to a wider materials processing community," Dennett says. Since the team published details of the initial work, researchers around the world have contacted them with requests for help in applying the technique to different kinds of materials and environments.

"We have particular applications in mind for our next steps," Dennett says, "but the relative ease of implementation should make it interesting to a wide range of materials scientists."

Compared to existing methods for studying radiation-induced changes in materials, which involve using multiple samples exposed over long periods of time before testing, this technique can provide "more data from one sample, in one experiment, in about 1% of the time”, says Short.

That ability to conduct rapid testing could be a significant boon for those attempting to develop new materials for new generations of nuclear reactors, Dennett says. Such development is currently a slow and painstaking process, because even tiny changes in the relative percentages of different alloying metals can dramatically affect a material's properties. The new technique's ability to provide rapid, real-time answers could open up much broader possibilities for developing and refining new options.

"There are a lot of groups working on more radiation-resistant alloys," Short says, "but it's a long process. Instead, this allows you to make a lot of variations and test them as you go." This method could allow these researchers to come up with significant characterization data on new materials "in weeks instead of years", he says.

This story is adapted from material from MIT, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.