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February 6, 2013
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Essential news for the global engineering community

  Today's Tech Buzz 
  • Nanoparticles expand horizons for thermoelectric devices
    Using computer modeling to tune nanoscale materials for thermoelectric devices may soon lead to wider and possibly commercial usages, such as harnessing waste heat from power plants and engines. The concept used by MIT and Rutgers researchers is called anti-resonance, which causes electrons of most energy levels to be blocked by embedded particles while those in a narrow range of energies pass with little resistance. Nanowerk (2/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • IBM researchers aim for self-assembling carbon nanotube chips
    Scientists at IBM's Watson Research Center have been making progress on a goal to craft a high-density, self-assembling semiconductor device based on carbon nanotubes. The team has made a carbon nanotube chip with 150-nanometer dimensions, which although it doesn't seem much compared with the state of the art in silicon-based ICs, carbon nanotubes, in theory, promise to be faster and more energy-efficient than silicon transistors. (U.K.) (2/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Soldiers get hand-held drones to scout out danger
    Some British soldiers have been issued Black Hornet Nanos -- small, unmanned aerial vehicles with a camera -- that they can use while on the ground in Afghanistan. The UAVs can fly for up to 30 minutes and around corners, providing helpful reconnaissance so soldiers can be alerted to dangers. Gizmag (2/6) , BBC (2/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Spotlight on Transportation 
  • NASA to launch field-sized solar sail in 2014
    James Clerk Maxwell's theory about the pushing power of electromagnetic fields and radiation is due to be put to its biggest text yet. NASA is planning to launch a satellite with a field-sized solar cell as part of its Sunjammer Project early next year. "The basic design of a solar sailing spacecraft is an ultralight mirrored Mylar sail controlled by spider thread-like lanyards, that is propelled by the pressure of light from the sun," writes David Szondy. Gizmag (2/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Harley-Davidson a 110-year study in value of engineering
    Harley-Davidson Motor Co. is marking 110 years in business this year. The company's durability through the ups and downs of world wars, a depression and recessions owes a lot to the foresight of founder William Harley, who realized early on that the future of early gasoline-driven bicycles lay in power and further investment in engineering. (1/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovations & Trends 
  • Wastewater plants could generate power with "waterfall turbines"
    The waterfalls at wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities that are used to release heat and chemicals from water are now deemed the most promising initial market for renewable energy from turbines made by Hydrovolts, a renewable energy company started in 2007. The $75,000, 15-kilowatt turbine is "easy to permit and install," requires little modification at the plant and could offer a payback of between three and five years from the energy it produces. Xconomy (2/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Sea urchin may hold key to carbon sequestration
    The capture of carbon dioxide from power plants could be made practical and cost-effective, thanks to the sea urchin and the U.K. scientists who noted the role that nickel nanoparticles play in forming the urchin's exoskeleton. The mineralization process in the formation of this exoskeleton is considered the most reliable form of carbon dioxide storage, and nickel appears to be the key catalyst. However, some see this as only an incremental step in the capturing process. "True innovation ... should harness catalytic action in the conversion of CO2 to high value products, such as carbamates," said Mark Keane, a chemical engineering professor. Royal Society of Chemistry (2/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Global Window 
  • 3-D printing tested as way to build moon station
    There are many building materials on Earth, but the moon offers only fine-grained lunar soil. However, that might be perfect for a 3-D printing process to build lunar habitats. Enrico Dini, inventor of the large-format 3-D printer D-Shape, is working with the European Space Agency and Foster + Partners using a simulated lunar soil to test the concept. "Our current printer builds at a rate of around two meters per hour. Our next-generation design should attain 3.5 meters per hour, completing an entire building in a week," Dini said. FastCoDesign (2/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • High-flow polyamide aids car makers
    The extra-high flow polyamide 6 from from DSM Engineering Plastics in Singapore marks 10 years of industrial use this year. The product has proved especially useful in the auto industry, particularly for engine covers. The lower wall thicknesses that are possible only due to the high flow rate means lower costs because less material is used. (2/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Leadership & Development 
  • Leadership tips from the Super Bowl coaches
    Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh aren't the "screaming field generals" once ubiquitous in football, Dov Seidman writes. Instead, the brothers represent the modern coach who listens to players rather than yells at them, and aims not for absolute and unquestioned authority but for softer and more collaborative forms of power. "[O]ur world has transformed. And football provides us a great metaphor for how our leadership needs to change with it," Seidman writes. (2/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASME News 
  • E4C's El-Ghobashy awarded
    The American Association of Engineering Societies selected Noha El-Ghobashy, president of Engineering for Change, LLC, as recipient of the 2013 Kenneth Andrew Roe Award, recognizing an engineer who has been effective in promoting unity among the engineering societies. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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