Advanced Materials & Processes

FEB 2015

Covers developments in engineering materials selection, processing, fabrication, testing/characterization, materials engineering trends, and emerging technologies, industrial and consumer applications, as well as business and management trends

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BRIEFS A new electrode design for lithium-ion batteries could potentially reduce the charging time from hours to minutes by replacing the conventional graphite electrode with a network of tin-oxide nanoparticles. Researchers at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., performed experiments with a "porous interconnected" tin-oxide based anode, which has nearly twice the theoretical charging capacity of graphite. The experimental anode can be charged in 30 minutes and still have a capacity of 430 milliamp hours per gram (mAh g−1), which is greater than the theoretical maximum capacity for graphite when charged slowly over 10 hours. Can SawduSt Run youR CaR? Researchers at the University of Leuven's Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis, Belgium, successfully con- verted sawdust into building blocks for gasoline. Using a new chemical process, cellulose in sawdust was converted into hydrocarbon chains. These hydrocar- bons can be used as an additive in gaso- line or as a component in plastics. "At the molecular level, cellulose contains strong carbon chains. We sought to conserve these chains, but drop the oxygen bonded to them, which is undesirable in high-grade gasoline. Our researcher Beau Op de Beeck de- veloped a new method to derive these hydrocarbon chains from cellulose," ex- plains professor Bert Sels. The result is an intermediary product that requires one last simple step to become fully distilled gasoline, says Sels. "Our product offers an intermediate solution for as long as our automobiles run on liquid gasoline. It can be used as a green additive—a re- placement for a portion of traditionally refined gasoline." For more information: Bert Sels,, HEat-REFlECtIvE BuIldIng matERIal SavES EnERgy Stanford University, Calif., engi- neers invented a material designed to help cool buildings. The heart of the invention is an ultrathin, multilayered material that handles light, both invis- ible and visible, in a new way. The nov- el material, in addition to dealing with infrared light, is also a highly efficient mirror that reflects virtually all of the incoming sunlight that strikes it. The re- sult is referred to as photonic radiative cooling—a one-two punch that offloads infrared heat from within a building while reflecting the sunlight that would otherwise warm it up. The coating radiates heat-bear- ing infrared light directly into space and sends it away from buildings at the precise frequency that allows it to pass through the atmosphere without warm- ing the air. Together, the radiation and reflection make the photonic radiative cooler material nearly 9°F lower in tem- perature than the surrounding air. The material is just 1.8 µm thick and is made of seven layers of silicon dioxide and haf- nium oxide on top of a thin layer of silver. For more information: Professor Shanhui Fan, 650.724.4759, shanhui@stanford. edu, A new chemical process converts cellulose in sawdust into hydrocarbon chains. Courtesy of Shutterstock. EnERgy tREndS A new material reflects incoming sunlight while dispersing heat from inside the building directly into space as infrared radiation (represented by reddish rays). A D V A N C E D M A T E R I A L S & P R O C E S S E S | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 5 1 4

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