Advanced Ceramics

Blastcrete acquires Neal Mfg.

  Blastcrete Equipment Co. has acquired Neal Mfg., a manufacturer of asphalt sealcoating equipment. Neal has moved its operations to Blastcrete’s 70,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility in Anniston, Ala., and will operate as a division of Blastcrete. Neal’s products include both self-propelled and trailer-mounted machines in several sizes, as well as skid-mounted machines. Established in 1950, Blastcrete manufactures mixing, pumping, and spraying equipment for refractory, shotcrete, concrete construction and repair, underground mining and tunneling, and power generation applications.

  Advanced Ceramics Mfg. receives federal research awards

  (The Arizona Star) Research into new ceramic composite materials for energy, aerospace, and other applications is underway at Advanced Ceramics Mfg. Co., Tucson, Ariz., after the company received multiple federal grants. Majority-owned by the tribal San Xavier Development Authority, the company employs about 20 people, many of them tribal members. It has been awarded a total of more than $1 million by the US National Science Foundation, NASA, a Navy agency, and the Naval Sea Systems Command this year. Projects include research for NASA to develop refractory materials that can withstand temperatures to 4,000°F, an NSF project to develop a new manufacturing process for composite parts, and a study of the use of high-power capacitors as alternatives to batteries for energy storage for the Navy.

  High-tech ceramic production starts in Siberia

  (Moscow Times) A factory producing nanostructured ceramics for orthopedics and dental implants, armor, and circuit boards recently opened its doors in Novosibirsk as part of the Russian government’s effort to breathe life into domestic manufacturing facilities. NEVZ-Ceramics is a 1.5-billion ruble ($45.9 million) joint venture between Rusnano and a 72-year old Siberian electronics and ceramics factory, NEVZ-Soyuz. Rusnano invested 790 million rubles ($24.2 million) in the project, with the rest coming from private investors and the federal government. German engineering firm BBL Technology Transfer provided production machinery.

  Cliffs Natural Resources halts Ontario chromite project

  Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. said it will suspend “indefinitely” the Ontario chromite project of its affiliate, Cliffs Chromite Ontario Inc., by the end of this year. Last June, the Cleveland, Ohio, producer of iron ore and metallurgical coal announced a temporary halt to environmental assessment activities for the project, citing delays related to the assessment process, land surface rights, and negotiations with the province. Now the company says it will not put more resources into the project considering the “uncertain timeline and risks associated with the development of necessary infrastructure to bring this project online.” There is no restart date for work on the project, which would include a feasibility study and development and exploration activities.

  Market report covers NDT services in the US

  A new report from market research firm IbisWorld covers the latest industry statistics and trends for nondestructive testing services in the US, identifying leading companies and offering analysis of key factors influencing the market. According to the publication, the NDT services industry has experienced strong growth in the past five years despite the significant economic slowdown caused by the recession. NDT service companies provide testing services across a wide range of industries and thus benefit from stable demand. Industrial facilities such as petroleum refineries, power generation plants, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and aerospace and automotive manufacturers test their equipment regularly to prevent equipment failure and lost production.

  www.ceramic.org


O'odham aerospace firm sharpens its cutting edge

O'odham aerospace firm sharpens its cutting edge 

November 17, 2013 12:00 am • By Ashley Powell Arizona Daily Star

Research into new composite materials to store energy, build better rocket-launch pads and make special underwater tools is underway on the Tohono O’odham Nation, after an aerospace company there received multiple federal grants.

  Advanced Ceramics Manufacturing was awarded more than $1 million by the National Science Foundation, NASA, a Navy agency and the Naval Sea Systems Command earlier this year.

  Majority-owned by the tribal San Xavier Development Authority, the company employs about 20 people, many of them tribal members.

  Advanced Ceramics’ main business has been producing water-soluble molds and tooling at its plant at 7800 S. Nogales Highway.

  Now the company is branching out into four new research areas.

  In January, NASA awarded ACM a $125,000 Small Business Innovation Research Program grant to explore new materials for launch pads that could withstand high temperatures.

  “We’re using new materials to provide advances in these areas,” said Ed Biggers, ACM’s acting president. “We hope to provide new products or designs for the government.”

  NASA had put out a request for new materials research after a previous launch pad broke apart. The space agency believed it to be an issue with temperature inaccuracy.

  Existing launch pads were built to withstand temperatures of up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Advanced Ceramics is working to develop launch-pad material that can withstand 4,000 degrees, said Biggers, a company investor and board member who has been acting president since former President Steve Turcotte resigned for health reasons in August.

  Launch pads need to be repaired periodically, and ACM’s new material would reduce repair costs, Biggers added.

  Since NASA’s Small Business Technology Transfer Program requires a partnership with an institution like a university, ACM partnered with Villanova University of Philadelphia for the effort.

  The grant for the phase-one SBIRP project will expire in spring 2014. The company can decide whether to it wants to submit a phase-two proposal, but the selection is competitive, according to Richard Leshner, SBIRP and SBTTP director.

  Also in January, the NSF awarded the company $150,000 for a phase-one project to develop a new manufacturing process for composite parts. With a supplemental award, the value increased to $180,000.

  Composites are increasingly being used as a strong, lightweight alternative to metal to build things like airplanes, cars and bicycles, Biggers said. To make a composite part, some material is fused with another type of material. Once heated and under pressure, the part can be molded.

  Composites are typically are using a large, industrial autoclave, a high-tech oven. With the NSF’s grant, ACM is working to make the parts without one. The company is working with aircraft giant Boeing Co., and has already provided the government with some parts for review.

  “They’re (NSF) very interested, because we have a commercial partner working with our team, so we will likely use it on commercial aircraft,” Biggers said.

  Ben Schrag, the director overseeing ACM’s grant from the NSF’s SBIRP, said he looks for two things when reviewing proposals: technical innovation and high commercial impacts.

  “So those were the two things we saw in the Advanced Ceramics Manufacturing project,” Schrag said.

  “The technology is new and innovative, and we did see that if it were to work, this process could potentially be used in our market.”

  According to Schrag, the products are important, because the lightweight, high-performance composites are in increasingly more products every year.

  “The materials that they are hoping to work on are definitely a growing piece of the market,” he said.

  The grant will expire at the end of the year, but the company has already submitted a phase-two proposal, which would fund the same project for two years.

  “We have significant hopes that this new way of manufacturing composites will catch hold and people can save a lot of money,” Biggers said. “We would like to be a part of that.”

  In April, the Navy awarded ACM $150,000 to study the use of high-power capacitors as an alternative to batteries for energy storage.

  Capacitors are electrical components that are typically used to store energy for short periods of time.

  The Navy award was funded by the Rapid Innovation Fund, which is administered by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and the Office of Small Business Programs.

  In another Navy-related program, the Naval Sea Systems Command awarded ACM $797,000 to look for new tools that don’t spark and are not magnetic for people who disable underwater mines, like those found in the Persian Gulf.

  “If you’re operating and disabling a mine and something generates a spark, you’re in trouble — you might get blown up,” Biggers said.

  Tools made with beryllium have been used because they are not magnetic and don’t spark, but beryllium particles have been found to be cancer-causing, so the tools are no longer available.

  “We have a contract to develop ceramic tools, which are also much lighter,” Biggers said.

  ACM already delivered six of the tools to the government for evaluation. Now the company hopes to receive more contracts for its products.

  “We expect to continue doing research and grow in our commercial products,” Biggers said.

  www.azstarnet.com


Gum-like material could improve lithium ion battery safety

Gum-like material could improve lithium ion battery safety

7 February 2014

  A group of Washington State University researchers has developed a chewing gum-like battery material that could dramatically improve the safety of lithium ion batteries.

  High performance lithium batteries are popular in everything from computers to airplanes because they are able to store a large amount of energy compared to other batteries. Their biggest potential risk, however, comes from the electrolyte in the battery, which is made of either a liquid or gel in all commercially available rechargeable lithium batteries. Electrolytes are the part of the battery that allow for the movement of ions between the anode and the cathode to create electricity. The liquid acid solutions can leak and even create a fire or chemical burn hazard.

  While commercial battery makers have ways to address these safety concerns, such as adding temperature sensors or flame retardant additives, they “can’t solve the safety problem fundamentally,’’ says Katie Zhong, Westinghouse Distinguished Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

  Zhong’s research group has developed a gum-like lithium battery electrolyte, which works as well as liquid electrolytes at conducting electricity but which doesn’t create a fire hazard.

  "[Commercial battery makers] can’t solve the safety problem fundamentally...’’ Katie Zhong, Distinguished Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

  Researchers have been toying around with solid electrolytes to address safety concerns, but they don’t conduct electricity well and it’s difficult to connect them physically to the anode and cathode. Zhong was looking for a material that would work as well as liquid and could stay attached to the anode and cathode – “like when you get chewing gum on your shoe’’. Graduate student Yu “Will” Wang designed his electrolyte model specifically with gum in mind. It is twice as sticky as real gum and adheres very well to the other battery components.

  The material, which is a hybrid of liquid and solid, contains liquid electrolyte material that is hanging on solid particles of wax or a similar material. Current can easily travel through the liquid parts of the electrolyte, but the solid particles act as a protective mechanism. If the material gets too hot, the solid melts and easily stops the electric conduction, preventing any fire hazard. The electrolyte material is also flexible and lightweight, which could be useful in future flexible electronics. You can stretch, smash, and twist it, and it continues to conduct electricity nearly as well as liquid electrolytes. Furthermore, the gummy electrolyte should be easy to assemble into current battery designs, says Zhong.

  While the researchers have shown good conductivity with their electrolyte, they hope to begin testing their idea soon in real batteries.

  www.materialstoday.com


Graphene’s love affair with water

Graphene’s love affair with water

14 February 2014

  Graphene is hydrophobic – it repels water – but narrow capillaries made from graphene vigorously suck in water allowing its rapid permeation, if the water layer is only one atom thick – that is, as thin as graphene itself. One-atom-wide graphene capillaries can now be made easily and cheaply by piling layers of graphene oxide – a derivative of graphene – on top of each other. The resulting multilayer stacks (laminates) have a structure similar to nacre (mother of pearl), which makes them also mechanically strong.

  Researchers at the University of Manchester led by Dr Rahul Nair and Prof Andre Geim have tested how good such graphene membranes are as filters for liquid water. They report that, if immersed in water, the laminates become slightly swollen but still allow ultrafast flow of not one but two monolayers of water.

  Small salts with a size of less than nine Angstroms can flow along but larger ions or molecules are blocked. Ten Angstroms is equivalent to a billionth of a meter.

  “Our ultimate goal is to make a filter device that allows a glass of drinkable water made from seawater after a few minutes of hand pumping..." Dr Irina Grigorieva, University of Manchester.

  The graphene filters have an astonishingly accurate mesh that allows them to distinguish between atomic species that are only a few percent different in size. On top of this ultraprecise separation, it is also ultrafast. Those ions that can go through do so with such a speed as if the graphene membranes were an ordinary coffee filter.

  The latter effect is due to a property that the Manchester scientists call “ion sponging”. Their graphene capillaries suck up small ions as powerful hoovers leading to internal concentrations that can be hundreds of times higher than in external salty solutions.

  Dr Nair said: “The water filtration is as fast and as precise as one could possibly hope for such narrow capillaries. Now we want to control the graphene mesh size and reduce it below nine Angstroms to filter out even the smallest salts like in seawater. Our work shows that it is possible.”

  Dr Irina Grigorieva, a co-author of the study, added: “Our ultimate goal is to make a filter device that allows a glass of drinkable water made from seawater after a few minutes of hand pumping. We are not there yet but this is no longer science fiction”.

  www.materialstoday.com


A new way to create porous materials

A new way to create porous materials

24 February 2014

  Team of UConn chemists has discovered a new way of making a class of porous materials that allows for greater manufacturing controls and has significantly broader applications than the longtime industry standard.

The process has resulted in the creation of more than 60 new families of materials so far, with the potential for many more. The key catalyst in the process is recyclable, making it a ‘green’ technology.

  Suib’s research involves the creation of uniform, or monomodal, mesoporous metal oxides using transition metals such as manganese, cobalt, and iron. Mesoporous describes the size of the pores in the material. In this case, they are between 2 and 50 nanometers in diameter and are evenly distributed across the material’s surface, similar to what one might see if a pin is used to poke numerous holes in a material. Only the UConn process allows scientists to use nitric oxide chemistry to change the diameter of the “pin,” in order to change the size of the holes. This unique approach helps contain chemical reactions and provides unprecedented control and flexibility.

  “Professor Suib and his colleagues report an unexpected and novel route to generation of mesoporous metal oxides,” says Prabir Dutta, distinguished university professor of chemistry and biochemistry at The Ohio State University. “Professor Suib’s discovery and the extension of mesoporosity to a much broader range of metal oxides is bound to push this area to new heights, with all sorts of potential applications, making this study a most important development in materials science.”

  “Professor Suib and his colleagues report an unexpected and novel route to generation of mesoporous metal oxides...” Prabir Dutta, distinguished university professor of chemistry and biochemistry at The Ohio State University.

  Having materials with uniform microscopic pores allows targeted molecules of a particular size to flow into and out of the material, which is important in such applications as adsorption, sensors, optics, magnetic, and energy products such as the catalysts found in fuel cells.

  “When people think about these materials, they think about lock-and-key systems,” says Suib. “With certain enzymes, you have to have pores of a certain size and shape. With this process, you can now make a receptacle for specific proteins or enzymes so that they can enter the pores and specifically bind and react. That’s the hope, to be able to make a pore that will allow such materials to fit, to be able to make a pore that a scientist needs.”

  UConn’s chemists took a new route, choosing to replace the water-based process with a synthetic chemical surfactant similar to a detergent to create the mesopores. By reducing the use of water, adding the surfactant, then subjecting the resulting nanoparticles to heat, the research team found that it could generate thermally-controlled, thermally-stable, uniform mesoporous materials with very strong crystalline walls. The mesopores, Suib says, are created by the gaps that are formed between the organized nanoparticles when they cluster together. The team found that the size of those gaps or pores could be tailored – increased or decreased – by adjusting the nanostructure’s exposure to heat, a major advancement in the synthesis process.

  Perhaps just as importantly, the team found that the process could be successfully applied to a wide variety of elements of the periodic table. Also, the surfactant used in the synthesis is recyclable and can be reused after it is extracted with no harm to the final product.

Suib believes the process will be attractive to industry because it is simple, cost-effective, and green.

  www.materialstoday.com


Argonne scientists are first to grow graphene on silver

Silver linings: Argonne scientists are first to grow graphene on silver BY JUSTIN H.S. BREAUX • FEBRUARY 24, 2014

Silver, meet graphene. Super strong, super light, near totally transparent and one of the best conductors of electricity ever discovered, graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms that owes its amazing properties to being two-dimensional.

  Graphene, meet silver. Silver is a high-quality noble metal that corrodes very slowly in moist air and doesn’t typically interact chemically with other substances. Graphene, meanwhile, is a sought-after platform for new physics and device applications.

  “You have one material, silver, that’s really good at confining light and another, graphene, that’s really good with efficiently moving electrons,” said Northwestern University graduate student Brian Kiraly, who discovered the new process making the growth of graphene on silver possible.

  Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, in collaboration with scientists at Northwestern Universit, are the first to grow graphene on silver, which until now posed a major challenge to many in the field. Part of the issue has to do with the properties of silver; the other involves the process by which graphene is grown.

  Chemical vapor deposition is currently the industry standard for growing graphene. The technique allows hydrocarbons, like methane or ethylene, to decompose onto a hot platform in order to form carbon atoms that become graphene. However, this technique doesn’t work with a silver platform.

  “The traditional method of decomposing hydrocarbon onto a transition metal wasn’t working,” said Nathan Guisinger, a staff scientist at Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials. “The methane won’t break down, it’ll just hit the hot silver and bounce off and remain methane, so there’s no carbon source to actually grow the graphene.”

  At this point, to figure out how to grow graphene on silver, the researchers needed to understand the atomic and molecular properties of the material. For instance, atomic carbon evaporates at extremely high temperatures—over 2,400 degrees Celsius—forcing the researchers to account for a number of different parameters to create a layer one atom thick.

  Additionally, whereas graphene is conventionally grown at temperatures of 1,000 degrees C or above, the new Argonne-Northwestern technique grows it at a lower temperature of 750 degrees, giving researchers more options for working with the material. This method also slows down the process to determine the right growth rate and distribution for a single layer of carbon atoms landing on the silver.

  The first step in growing the graphene layer was making sure the silver substrate was “atomically clean”—a hard standard to meet.

  “It’s very difficult to make an atomically clean platform,” Guisinger said. “Almost all platforms exposed to air will get covered with a water layer and oxidize.” To prevent this phenomenon from occurring, the researchers work in a specially designed ultra-high vacuum environment.

  To initially clean the platform, Kiraly used a technique called “sputter annealing.” This is where the platform used to grow the graphene is sprayed with ions that chew up the surface and rids it of any organic or inorganic material. The next step is to anneal the metal, a process “that heals it and allows for atomically clean and flat surfaces,” said Kiraly.

  After a series of examinations, the researchers discovered that they had successfully deposited a single layer of graphene on silver.

  Encouraged by this result, the researchers hope to demonstrate how to layer graphene with other one-atom-thick materials, such as silicone, into stacked atomic layers to create hybrid materials.

  Because of silver’s excellent optical properties, Kiraly envisions this research having applications in detectors.

  “Conventionally, you can make things with both optical and electronic components to them, as in opto-electronics devices,” said Kiraly. “Anything like a photo-detector or a solar cell has some type of light interaction that corresponds with an electronic effect or vice versa.”

  There is increased interest in moving graphene from the lab to into lighter, more energy-efficient consumer devices. The University of Manchester in England, for example, will finish their National Graphene Institute next year to the tune of £61 million.

  “With the discovery of how to make graphene, now there’s a hunt for more two-dimensional materials. Once they’re discovered, we want to know how to combine them,” said Guisinger.

  But for now, it is up to scientists like Guisinger and Kiraly to figure out how those atom-sized pieces fit together to create the next technological breakthroughs.

  The work is outlined in a paper, “Solid-source growth and atomic-scale characterization of graphene on Ag(111)”, published in the journal Nature Communications .

  This work was supported with funding by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

  Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

  The Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs), premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale, supported by the DOE Office of Science. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative.

  Argonne national laboratory (http://www.anl.gov/articles/silver-linings-argonne-scientists-are-first-grow-graphene-silver)

  Producer: Eng. Parinaz Tabrizian


Lawrence Livermore team improves 3-D-printed graphene aerogel supercapacitors

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers, along with a team from UC Santa Cruz (UCSC), have devised a method for doubling the performance of 3-D-printed graphene-based supercapacitors.

The method, which involves sandwiching lithium ion and perchlorate ion between layers of graphene in aerogel electrodes, substantially improved the capacity of the electrodes while still maintaining the devices’ excellent rate capability, the researchers discovered. Their findings are featured as the back cover for the June edition of the journal ChemNanoMat.

“This is a unique method that significantly raises the performance of our previous graphene aerogel supercapacitors,” said LLNL engineer and paper co-author Cheng Zhu. “We’ve modified the devices and found the best recipe.”

A Lawrence Livermore Lab team, along with researchers from UC Santa Cruz, found that by sandwiching lithium ion and perchlorate ion between layers of graphene, they could substantially improve the performance of 3-D-printed aerogel supercapacitors.

LLNL researchers provided the UCSC team with the 3-D-printed graphene aerogel electrodes built using a direct ink writing process. Graphene-based materials are increasingly being used in supercapacitors because of their ultra-large surface area and excellent conductivity.

The method involves two ion-intercalation steps (lithium-ion intercalation and perchlorate-ion intercalation), followed by hydrolysis of perchlorate ion intercalation compounds.

“This two-step electrochemical process increases the surface area of graphene-based materials for charge storage, as well as the number of pseudo-capacitive sites that contribute additional storage capacity,” said LLNL material scientist and paper co-author Fang Qian.

Capacitance of graphene aerogel is limited by its relatively small ion-accessible surface area as a result of aggregation and stacking of graphene sheets, according to UCSC professor and corresponding author Yat Li.

“This study presents a facile method to boost the capacitive performance of 3-D-printed graphene aerogel by exfoliating the stacked graphene layers and functionalizing their surface, without damaging structural integrity,” Li said.

Zhu said the findings are the next step in creating more complex architectures using aerogels, enabling more powerful supercapacitors that could someday be used in custom-built electronics.

“In the future, I think every device will be customized, so you need the unique architecture or shape (for the supercapacitor),” Zhu said. “If you can 3-D print it, you can make any shape you want. In the future, everyone could design their own iPhone.”

https://www.llnl.gov/news

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SCHOTT Showcases Glass Wafer Portfolio at ECTC

SCHOTT Showcases Glass Wafer Portfolio at ECTC

SCHOTT presented its thin and ultra-thin glass wafers, as well as sheets for semiconductorsand optoelectronics, at the recent Electronic Components and Technology Conference (ECTC) in Las Vegas, Nev. SCHOTT’s broad portfolio of glass wafers and substrates reportedly is known for its chemical and thermomechanical properties and surface qualities. The wafers and substrates are available in different sizes (wafer diameters up to 12 in.; sheet sizes up to 510 x 510 mm2) and thicknesses (from 1.1 mm down to ultra-thin 25 µm). Additionally, SCHOTT offers extensive application support in the field of handling technologies and formation of glass wafers with through glass vias (TGV), which cover a wide spectrum of feature sizes. 

“With these technologies, SCHOTT can support the emerging ‘More-than-Moore’ trends throughout the electronics industry,” said Rüdiger Sprengard, Ph.D., director New Business Ultra-Thin Glass. “Ultra-thin glass wafers and substrates are enabling consumer electronics to be even thinner, and help make possible the high-performance computing necessary for applications like self-driving cars. Because of the versatility and unique properties of these materials, the engineering and design possibilities stretch far beyond the traditional electronics and into new industries.” 

SCHOTT recently expanded its wafer portfolio with FOTURAN® II, a photo-structurable glass that is reportedly significantly more advanced in quality, such as material homogeneity, than its 30-year-old predecessor. The material’s properties reportedly enable high aspect ratio and small feature sizes in RF components and MEMS systems. FOTURAN II wafers can be structured and processed in three steps: UV-exposure (with standard lithography equipment, but without the use of photo-resist), tempering, and etching. Additional ceramization is an option when higher temperature stability is required. 

“Superior materials, like ultra-thin glass wafers, give engineers the ability to pack more power into smaller forms,” said Sprengard. “The next innovations in semiconductor and optoelectronics technologies, such as MEMS and driverless car components, are made possible with specialty glass. These materials are helping create new innovations and opportunities across many industries because of their chemical properties and strength.” 

http://www.us.schott.com

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new ultrasonic sensors for accurate heat energy and water flow measurement

Morgan Technical Ceramics ElectroCeramics launches new ultrasonic sensors for accurate heat energy and water flow measurement

Morgan Technical Ceramics (MTC) ElectroCeramics, leading manufacturer of ceramic components, has launched a new sensor which is ideal for reliable and precise heat energy and water flow measurement. The high performance ultrasonic sensors enable designers and OEMs to build accurate measurement equipment including smart metering systems, which are critical to helping society understand and reduce energy usage.

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The new sensors are capable of withstanding harsh environments and provide reliable continuous operation in high pressures of 16 bar and high temperatures of up to 120ºC. MTC ElectroCeramics’ materials have exceptional mechanical and electrical properties and offer excellent bandwidth and sensitivity for accurate measurement readings.

Ultrasonic flow meters are a solid state technology with no moving parts and, as such, are more reliable than conventional mechanical meters. They experience no pressure loss, offer nearly maintenance-free operation and are more accurate than many competing systems.

The new piezoceramic sensors work by transmitting and receiving ultrasonic waves through water. The flow rate is then calculated as a measurement of time of flight of the waves. The sensors can be easily combined with temperature monitoring devices to be used in a system for heat metering.

In addition to complete sensors, MTC ElectroCeramics offers bonded assemblies and piezo ceramic components with full or wrap around electrodes and with gold, nickel or silver plating. The high density, high consistency materials offer exceptional frequency tolerance to ± 1 %, so users can be assured of high accuracy.

The company’s specialist transducer research and development team works closely with customers to design high performance transducers with appropriate encapsulation and cabling to withstand the environmental conditions seen in heat meters. MTC ElectroCeramics experts can adjust the architecture, manufacturing process and material of the sensor for a particular application in low, medium or high volumes to meet the needs of the rapidly growing flow measurement industry. This demand is driven by the increased use of district heating and smart meter systems being installed across the world.

MTC ElectroCeramics use the latest tools and software to build prototypes and has
state-of-the-art in-house underwater acoustic test tanks and pressure testing facilities to validate the performance of its designs. The vertical integration of all process steps means the company offers custom solutions in relatively short lead times.

“There is increasing demand for industry and homes to become more energy efficient,” says Ewan Campbell, senior transducer engineer at MTC ElectroCeramics. “I’m delighted our new ultrasonic sensors will play a critical role in providing accurate flow measurement for smart meters. They display real time information about energy usage and help businesses and the general public to reduce consumption and increase efficiencies.”

MTC ElectroCeramics has been supplying piezoceramic components and ultrasonic sensors for the measurement of hot and cold water for nearly 20 years. The company has recently launched an ultrasonic sensor for gas flow measurement and now offers a wide range of sensors for accurate and reliable utilities measurement.

For further information about MTC ElectroCeramics and its high performance ultrasonic sensors for smart metering see this website: http://www.morgantechnicalceramics.com/news-events


The new Lightning Bearing Technology (LBT) line of ceramic bicycle bearings

The new Lightning Bearing Technology (LBT) line of ceramic bicycle bearings by  Boca Bearing Company

The Boca Bearing Company is proud to announce the new Lightning Bearing Technology (LBT) line of ceramic bicycle bearings for hubs, bottom brackets, headsets and pivot points. Ceramic by its nature is lighter than steel by about 2/3 the weight, it is harder than steel when it is in ball form and it is virtually frictionless because it is non-porous. A ceramic hybrid bearing has steel races with ceramic balls and a full ceramic bearing has ceramic races and balls. Full ceramic and ceramic hybrid bearings are particularly well suited to both competitive and recreational bicycle applications.

The Boca Bearing Company have been an industry leader in ceramic bearing technology for over 15 years. Reducing rolling resistance and conserving energy has been our hallmark. We offer a full line of standard, full ceramic & ceramic hybrid bearings specifically suited to bicycles. Various ABEC tolerances, radial plays, retainer styles and seal/shield configurations are available.

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