Thomas R. O'Donnell

Posts Tagged ‘rare earths’

Materials roundup: disappearing antennae, metal molding, tiny cubes and pond scum

In University research on May 13, 2014 at 6:43 am

 

As I was messing around with arctic research, zombie tractors and NGSS – and doing my taxes – there was a burst of materials science news out of Iowa State University and its on-campus Department of Energy facility, the Ames Laboratory.

It’s all about putting stuff together in new ways for new purposes – whether it’s electronics that (maybe) melt in your mouth, a machine that spits out metal objects, minuscule building blocks that line up just right, or tiny, powerful catalysts to create diesel from relatives of common pond scum. (That last bit isn’t a reference to your Uncle Purvis, the one who lives in that crappy mobile home.)

Almost all the work is fundamental, but some projects are easier to grasp and have more immediate applications than others.

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Ames Laboratory’s big gig

In University research on February 16, 2013 at 9:56 pm
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Graphic from Ames Laboratory website.

It didn’t get a lot of notice in Iowa last month when the U.S. Department of Energy chose Ames Laboratory to lead one of only five Energy Innovation Hubs. But a closer look shows how big of a deal the Critical Materials Institute is for the lab and Iowa State University, which operates the installation on a DOE contract. It’s huge, one DOE observer told me: “Knock-your-socks-off huge.”

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