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Special Report
Fresh impetus for compliance with anti-pollution measures in China
Market Research : 17 April, 2015
According to MEPS, the Chinese authorities are, at last, exerting pressure on the steel and other polluting sectors to comply with regulations to improve air and water quality. For too long, they say, they have turned a blind eye to malpractices.
Technical report highlights main factors affecting steel industry energy consumption
Steel (General) : 06 February, 2015
The World Steel Association has published a technical report on energy use in the steel industry. The report is the result of a project supported by member companies and associations and the outcome contains current performance data from operating plants. The public report is now available for purchase.
Functional materials for supercapacitors "becoming a $5bn market by 2025"
Supercapacitors : 10 August, 2014
IDTechEx Research’s brand new report, Functional Materials for Supercapacitors/Ultracapacitors/EDLC 2015-2025, forecasts that the functional materials for supercapacitors market will reach $5 billion before 2025.
Highly non-linear metamaterials for laser technology
Non-linear optical materials : 03 July, 2014
Non-linear optical materials are widely used in laser systems. However, high light intensity and long propagation are required to produce strong non-linear optical effects. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the Technische Universitaet Muenchen have created metamaterials with a million times stronger non-linear optical response, compared to traditional non-linear materials, and demonstrated frequency conversion in films 100 times thinner than a human hair, using light intensity comparable to that of a laser pointer.
3D printing: cutting through the hype
3D Printing/Additive Layer Manufacturing : 03 July, 2014
Juniper Research announces the launch of a new report and Excel dataset, which provides a guide to the development of the Consumer 3D Printing ecosystem.
Conflict minerals - moving beyond compliance
National Laboratory : 03 July, 2014
Certain minerals originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and adjoining countries have been a major source of international concern. Armed groups in the region are accused of severe human rights abuses and of using proceeds from the sales of these minerals to fuel regional conflicts. A broad range of public, private, and civil society groups have been working to bring light to this issue and, in recent years, legislation has been passed to address this problem. Bureau Veritas, in partnership with Estelle Levin Ltd. (ELL), offers public training to issuer and non-issuer manufacturers, suppliers, and vendors to educate them on conflict minerals regulations and to present the solutions available to address their challenges and build capacity for action.
IMechE: UK must seize opportunity presented by composites industry
Advanced Composites (General) : 27 March, 2014
The world composites industry is worth £50 billion, but commercial barriers are hampering UK growth. Andy Pye reviews new research from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Plastic film recycling - end of the road for landfill and incineration?
Recycling : 16 March, 2014
The large-scale incineration or dumping of plastic films in landfills could soon be a thing of the past as new technologies seek to convert plastics into fuels and other useful products. However, Axion Consulting – a UK-based waste processing consultancy specialising in plastics recycling – believe it is now technically feasible and economically viable to begin the large scale collection of low grade plastic films for conversion into fuels and other recycled products.
Refrigeration company welcomes F-gas Phase-down in Europe, relaxes hydrocarbon policy
Refrigerants : 23 February, 2014
On December 16 2013 the European Parliaments’ Environment Committee, Council and Commission agreed on a phase-down of F-gases. Specific sectors, such as commercial refrigeration and air-conditioning, will be restricted while remaining sectors for safety reasons will keep the opportunity to use F-gases. The new F-gas Regulation will ensure a 79% reduction in climate impact by 2030.
Tipping Point reached in printed and flexible electronics?
Lithography : 14 February, 2014
Dr Harry Zervos, Senior Technology Analyst, IDTechEx, reflects that 2014 has only just began and already discussions abound on how a "tipping point" has been reached in the field of printed and flexible electronics, a statement mostly backed by the significant interest and accompanying investment by LG and Samsung into the commercialisation of flexible displays.
Safer and more sustainable materials for manufacturing
Research Funding : 14 February, 2014
Manufacturing industries rely on a supply of raw materials; increasingly these are rare, expensive, difficult to source, and subject to regulation. A £10.3 million grant, awarded to researchers today by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will be used to find safer, more sustainable alternatives. The energy, automotive, aerospace, and construction industries, amongst others, will benefit from this investment.
UK Thermoelectric Network (TEMPEST) set up to exploit UK strengths in nanotechnology
Thermoelectric materials : 31 January, 2014
The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network announces its support for the first UK Thermoelectric Network – TEMPEST, funded through the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Aluminium investment held back by energy tariffs, industry leaders warn
Association : 18 January, 2014
Investment in Britain’s aluminium sector is being held back by the high cost of energy in the country. This was one of the messages delivered to Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon at a meeting with aluminium industry leaders.
Supercapacitors - graphene active electrodes well ahead of today’s lithium-ion batteries
Batteries and Fuel Cells : 17 January, 2014
An IDTechEx report gives a general overview on supercapacitors and tabulates chemistries and activities by company, with pie charts of technology adoption by number of manufacturers and forecasts. It explains where supercapacitors are already replacing lithium-ion batteries and why.
Steel partnership being used on the frontline
Steel (General) : 17 January, 2014
A partnership forged between industry and Sheffield Hallam University is protecting front-line troops in Afghanistan and providing a future for steel production in the city.
Technology advances needed to keep helium supply afloat
Professional Society : 17 January, 2014
Fears that the world is about to run out of helium are subsiding, but major technological advances are needed to ensure the long-term supply of this valuable, but elusive element, according to the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE).
Ultra-light heat exchangers take the heat out of space flight
Space Technology : 10 January, 2014
Breakthrough heat exchange technology is the driving force behind a new generation of engines with the ability to operate in space and the earth’s atmosphere. Chemical engineers can find out more about the SABRE engine from Dr Robert Bond, corporate programmes director at Reaction Engines, at a special event hosted by the Institution of Chemical Engineer’s (IChemE) Thames Valley Members Group on 23 January 2014 in Reading, UK.
World steel prices predicted to rise over the next three years
Market Research : 10 January, 2014
2013 is expected to be the low point in the latest steel price cycle, according to MEPS. A steady economic recovery is anticipated over the next five years. Steel demand growth is predicted as economic activity expands.
World steel output falls, declining output in China
Market Research and Forecasting : 10 January, 2014
China's coordinated effort to contain the expansion of raw steel production has coincided with declining steel output worldwide. Raw steel production declined 5.6% during November, falling to 127,364 million tonnes from the revised October total. At the same time, the latest month’s result is up 3.6% from the November 2012 production total.
Stanene could replace graphene with 100% electrical conductivity
Stanene : 10 January, 2014
Even copper's high electrical conductivity is beginning to hold back computers as scientists push the material to its limits. Now, a new material made from a single layer of tin atoms could make history by becoming the world’s first electrical conductor to work at 100% efficiency. This would make it even more conductive than graphene.
RNA sequencing and protein studies create novel elastomeric materials
Biomimetic Materials : 10 January, 2014
A wide range of biologically inspired materials may now be possible by combining protein studies, materials science and RNA sequencing, according to an international team of researchers at Penn State University.
Thermography aids compounding of additives into bioplastics
Bioplastics : 10 January, 2014
The IKT Institute of Plastics Technology at Stuttgart University has demonstrated the use of thermography as a non-destructive test method for lightweight plastic parts and compounding of additives into bioplastics with a mini-compounder fitted with an open processing zone.
Multiferroics - magnetic properties influenced by electric voltage - open up new sensor prospects
Functional Materials : 02 December, 2013
In the extraordinary materials called "multiferroics’, electric and magnetic excitations are closely linked. Scientists at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) have now shown in an experiment that magnetic properties and excitations can be influenced by an electric voltage. This opens up completely new possibilities for electronics at high frequencies. There are many ideas for future applications - wherever it is desirable to combine the respective advantages of magnetic and electric effects, the new magneto-electric materials could be used. This could lead to new kinds of amplifiers, transistors or data storage devices. Also, highly sensitive sensors could be built with electromagnon technology.
Steel association promotes green manufacturing in China, recognises opposing challenges
Engineering Steels : 24 November, 2013
The World Steel Association (Worldsteel) has co-hosted with the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Automotive Industry Committee (CCPIT-Auto) a major one-day conference on "Green Manufacturing, the Future of Steel and Automotive".
European Commission awards EUR 3.3 million for ultraconductive copper development
Copper : 24 November, 2013
The University of Cambridge is among a consortium of 14 companies and universities that has signed a EUR 3.3 million funding contract through the European Commission’s FP7 programme. Termed Ultrawire, the project aims to bring ultraconductive copper – that will conduct electricity better than any known material – to a level where pilot manufacturing can be planned within three years. Consortium members are adding an additional EUR 1.7 million of their own funding to the project.
Surge of Chinese steel exports to USA predicted in Q4
Materials Data : 17 November, 2013
Steel producers in the United States need to brace themselves for a significant increase in the supply of steel from China in the final quarter of this year. The price differential between domestic prices in the United States and the estimated landed price for exports from China (usually a strong correlation to the volume of imports) has grown steadily during the second half of 2013.
Report on Smart Wearable Devices: fitness, healthcare, entertainment and enterprise 2013-2018
Smart Fabrics : 17 October, 2013
This second edition of the Juniper Research market leading report on smart wearable devices provides a definitive analysis of the different segments within the market. It features a sector-by-sector trend analysis for key wearable device segments: Sports & Fitness, Multimedia & Entertainment, Multi-functional, Healthcare and Enterprise & Industrial.
Steel prices set to rise annually to 2016
Market Research : 17 October, 2013
MEPS forecasts a recovery in its global steel price over the next three years. In the company's latest long term forecast, it predicts that 2013 will be the low point in this cycle. Consumption should begin to pick up in 2014 as the economic climate improves. Nevertheless, there are a number of difficulties to overcome.
Report predicts major growth opportunity in medical polymers
Medical Plastics/Polymers : 26 September, 2013
NanoMarkets believes that medical polymers represents a major opportunity in the medical materials market over the next few years. Several factors are leading to growth in this market. Perhaps the most obvious is the ageing of the population in developed nations is expanding the addressable market for polymer implants. Many polymer implants are specifically intended to assist elderly patients.
British Lung Foundation targets trades people with asbestos awareness campaign
Association : 19 September, 2013
The British Lung Foundation (BLF) is launching ′Take 5 and Stay Alive’, a major campaign designed to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos amongst tradespeople.
Shape memory scaffold for manipulating nanoparticles into shape - and back
Nanotechnology : 16 September, 2013
A shape-memory chitosan scaffold (CSS) fabricated by an ice-templated method can be used as a versatile host matrix for self-assembly of a wide range of functional nanoscale building blocks, and thus it can produce a family of functional three-dimensional (3D) macroscale assemblies, which show promising practical application potential in various fields.
Worldwide ban on HBCD flame retardant decreed at UN Conference
National Laboratory : 16 September, 2013
That the flame retardant HBCD may no longer be produced or used was decided by representatives from over 160 countries in late May at a UN conference on chemicals in Geneva. Empa's extensive research on HBCD, formerly used as a flame retardant for plastics, electronics and textiles, and especially for insulation panels in buildings, contributed to the new regulation of HBCD under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
Heat treating increasingly integrated into production lines
Heat Treatment : 03 September, 2013
The use of heat treatment processes helps organisations to improve the structural accuracy of a metallic product by enhancing its tensile strength and yield strength. The heat treating market has been forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.27% through to 2016, driven by the need to develop superior-quality products, and the integration of heat treatment in production lines.
New developments and investments foreseen in European bio-based polymer production by 2020
Bioplastics : 29 August, 2013
The European Union’s relatively weak position in the production of bio-based polymers is largely the consequence of an unfavourable political framework. In contrast to biofuels, there is no European policy framework to support bio-based polymers, whereas biofuels receive strong and ongoing support during commercial production (quotas, tax incentives, green electricity regulations and market introduction programs, etc.). Without comparable support, bio-based chemicals and polymers will suffer further from underinvestment by the private sector. It is currently much more attractive and safe to invest in bio-based polymers in Asia, South America and North America.
Aerospace industrial strategy - UK competition announced for collaborative R&D funding
Research Funding : 29 August, 2013
Government and industry published in March 2013 a joint Aerospace Industrial Strategy (AIS)*, which included the commitment to create an Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). As part of the ATI’s programme, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is to invest, through the Technology Strategy Board, up to £25m in collaborative research and development projects for proposals that support the delivery of the priorities set out in the strategy.
Polymer nanocrystal created from polyethylene (PE) holds promise in coatings
University : 29 August, 2013
German researchers have successfully created a polymer nanocrystal from PE. The scientists from universities in Constance, Bayreuth, and Berlin, used a new type of catalyst to synthesize the nanocrystal as well as a combination of analytic tools offered by the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin research centre. The crystalline nanostructure gives the polymer new properties which could be of interest for producing new types of coatings.
Adding arsenic brings stainless magnesium closer
Magnesium : 27 August, 2013
In a discovery that could have major implications for the aerospace, automotive and electronics industries, scientists have found a way to dramatically reduce the corrosion rate of lightweight metal magnesium - adding arsenic.
Asia-Pacific to drive growth in the non-destructive testing equipment market
Market Research and Forecasting : 27 August, 2013
The non-destructive testing equipment market is forecast to reach a value of US$1.9 billion by 2018, driven by technological developments, stringent product usage specifications and strong government safety regulations.
Polymer shrinks when it gets too hot
University : 27 August, 2013
Researchers in China have designed a smart polymer supercapacitor that reversibly shuts down when it gets too hot. Below its lower critical solution temperature of 32C, the polymer exists in a hydrophilic configuration and takes on water, which allows charge transport. Above 32C, however, the polymer shrinks and becomes hydrophobic, inhibiting charge transfer.
Bumpy ride ahead for European steel sector?
Market Research : 15 August, 2013
The European steel sector has endured a very tough time over the past year, mirroring the situation in the wider economy. Steel prices were approximately 10% lower in the first seven months of 2013, compared with the corresponding period in 2012. Mill margins have been continuously squeezed. MEPS’ assessment for the price of iron ore fines (Fe 64%, FOB - Brazil) has declined by only 2% in the same period.
Steel-cored copper a defence mechanism against copper theft?
Copper : 15 August, 2013
Some utility companies are making power stations more physically secure, while others are choosing to use Copperweld wiring instead. This bimetallic electrical conductor has a steel core and copper on the outside. Copperweld costs more, but doesn't have the same scrap value as regular copper wire, so companies hope its use will cut back on thefts.
Super-slippery "structured liquid" coating gets ALL the ketchup out of the bottle
University : 15 August, 2013
LiquiGlide is a revolutionary super-slippery coating platform that allows cosmetic products like shampoo, conditioner, and lotion and thick sauces and condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, jelly, and even honey to slide easily out of their bottles. What may seem like a trivial application is actually a $100+ billion industry worldwide. Other applications are foreseen in energy, desalination, transportation and manufacturing.
Carbon nanotubes improve energy capacity of lithium-ion batteries
Carbon Nanotubes : 12 August, 2013
Batteries might gain a boost in power capacity as a result of a new finding from researchers at MIT. They found that using carbon nanotubes for one of the battery’s electrodes produced a significant increase - up to tenfold - in the amount of power it could deliver from a given weight of material, compared to a conventional lithium-ion battery. Such electrodes might find applications in small portable devices, and with further research might also lead to improved batteries for larger, more power-hungry applications.
Micro-machines for the human body
University : 12 August, 2013
A team of researchers at Tel Aviv University has found a way to print biocompatible components for micro-machines, making them ideal for use in medical devices, like bionic arms.
Polymer foam market: global trends and forecasts
Market Research and Forecasting : 12 August, 2013
Research and Markets has announced the report "Polymer Foam Market by Types, Applications & Geography - Global Trends & Forecasts to 2018".
Soft robotic devices using water-based gels
University : 12 August, 2013
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for creating devices out of a water-based hydrogel material that can be patterned, folded and used to manipulate objects. The technique holds promise for use in "soft robotics’ and biomedical applications.
Hierarchical porous polymer film synthesis controls pore sizes
University : 12 August, 2013
Forming perfect porous polymer films is not enough; they need both large and small pores, and the process of making them needs to be simple, versatile and repeatable. Creatively combining already established techniques, Cornell materials researchers have devised a so-called hierarchical porous polymer film synthesis method that may help make these materials useful for applications ranging from catalysis to bioengineering.
Vanitec Sponsors Vanadium Award 2012
Vanadium : 31 July, 2013
B A Szost, R H Vegter and P E J Rivera-Dîaz-del-Castillo have accepted the 2012 Vanadium Award for their paper - Developing Bearing Steels Combining Hydrogen Resistance and Improved Hardness.
Liquidmetal material "could feature on the new iPhone 6"
Amorphous Metals : 22 July, 2013
Many Apple fans across the globe may be awaiting the arrival of the iPhone 5S this year but many are already looking forward to the 2014 model which is tipped to be the iPhone 6. This is due to the fact that the handset is set to boast an entirely new design and new reports have emerged that have suggested that this device may be constructed from a new type of material named Liquidmetal.
Reversible shape-adaptive multi-layered polymer composite offered for licensing
Contract Research Organisation : 22 July, 2013
NASA Langley Research Center has developed a novel shape memory polymer (SMP) made from composite materials for use in morphing structures. NASA has developed prototypes and now seeks a partner to license the technology for commercial applications. License rights may be issued on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis and may include specific fields of use.
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