Mujid S. Kazimi, the TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Engineering and one of the world’s foremost educators and researchers in nuclear technology, died suddenly on Wednesday in China. Kazimi, who was 67, suffered a heart attack while visiting Harbin Engineering University to participate in an international advisory committee. He held faculty appointments in MIT’s Departments of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) and Department of Mechanical Engineering, and was director of both MIT’s Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems and the Kuwait-MIT Center for Natural Resources and the Environment. He served as NSE’s department head from 1989 to 1997. Current NSE department head Richard Lester shared the news of Kazimi’s death in an email to the department’s faculty on Wednesday, describing it as “a devastating blow.” “The international community knew Mujid as one of the world’s great nuclear engineers,” Lester told MIT News. “In NSE, we also knew him as a wonderful human being. Wise, kind, tough when he needed to be, but always gracious and respectful toward his students and his colleagues — he was a true gentleman, and he was a good man. His dedication and loyalty to his students, and to the department, were inspirational. It is a huge loss for our department, and for our field. But his colleagues in NSE are grateful for the privilege of knowing and serving with him.” Kazimi was born in Jerusalem in 1947, and later moved with his family to Amman, Jordan. He earned his bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from Alexandria University in Egypt in 1969, then came to MIT, where he earned an SM in 1971 and a PhD in 1973. Before joining the MIT faculty in 1976, Kazimi worked briefly at Westinghouse Electric Corp. and Brookhaven National Laboratory. Kazimi was an expert in the design and analysis of nuclear power plants and the nuclear fuel cycle. He supervised 45 PhD theses and 80 master’s theses at MIT; Lester notes that many of his students have gone on to faculty positions at universities worldwide, or to leadership positions in the nuclear energy field. Kazimi was dedicated to the advancement of the profession, and advised governments, universities, and research institutions on the development of nuclear energy. He authored over 200 scientific papers, and co-authored, with Neil Todreas, a two-volume textbook, “Nuclear Systems.” Lester says that Kazimi’s contributions to the field included “numerous technological advances that promise to enhance the safety and economics of nuclear power plants.” Among his most important contributions are the development of annular fuel with internal and external cooling, offering the potential for dramatic reductions in the fuel operating temperature, thereby reducing the thermal energy stored in the fuel. Kazimi also led efforts to develop a ceramic fuel cladding made of silicon carbide to replace the zirconium alloy cladding that is currently used in most reactor fuel. This new cladding, Lester says, “has the potential to reduce significantly the consequences of loss-of-coolant accidents in light water reactors,” because it greatly reduces the generation of potentially explosive hydrogen in such accidents. Kazimi also made “a number of influential contributions to the development of technological strategies for the nuclear fuel cycle,” Lester says. “His research generated fundamental insights into the range of options for fuel-recycling technologies, enabling the sustainable development of nuclear energy along economically competitive paths that will take advantage of the abundance of natural uranium.” Kazimi co-chaired, with Ernest Moniz — the former MIT physicist who is now the U.S. Secretary of Energy — an influential, and widely read, interdisciplinary study on the future of the nuclear fuel cycle. Kazimi received many honors for his work. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Nuclear Society and the International Nuclear Energy Academy, and recipient of the Kuwait Prize in Applied Sciences in 2011. Kazimi served on many boards, including the board of trustees of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, a committee on the rejuvenation of scientific research in Kuwait, and the international advisory board on nuclear energy for the United Arab Emirates. He was a member of the Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Energy, and at the time of his death was chairing its subcommittee on nuclear reactor technology. Lester described Kazimi as “one of the world’s most distinguished educators and researchers in the field of nuclear technology. His outstanding scientific and engineering achievements are recognized around the world.” Kazimi is survived by his wife of 41 years, Nazik Denny, by three children — daughter Yasmeen and sons Marwan (a 1996 MIT alumnus) and Omar — and by three grandchildren. A memorial service for Kazimi will be held Oct. 1 in MIT's Bartos Theater, E15-070, beginning at 4:00 p.m. A reception will follow. Donations in his memory can be made to The Mujid S. Kazimi Memorial Fund to support future NSE graduate students. For any questions about the memorial service, contact Carolyn Carrington at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-253-7407.
Researchers at MIT are seeking to redesign concrete — the most widely used human-made material in the world — by following nature’s blueprints. In a paper published online in the journal Construction and Building Materials, the team contrasts cement paste — concrete’s binding ingredient — with the structure and properties of natural materials such as bones, shells, and deep-sea sponges. As the researchers observed, these biological materials are exceptionally strong and durable, thanks in part to their precise assembly of structures at multiple length scales, from the molecular to the macro, or visible, level. From their observations, the team, led by Oral Buyukozturk, a professor in MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), proposed a new bioinspired, “bottom-up” approach for designing cement paste. “These materials are assembled in a fascinating fashion, with simple constituents arranging in complex geometric configurations that are beautiful to observe,” Buyukozturk says. “We want to see what kinds of micromechanisms exist within them that provide such superior properties, and how we can adopt a similar building-block-based approach for concrete.” Ultimately, the team hopes to identify materials in nature that may be used as sustainable and longer-lasting alternatives to Portland cement, which requires a huge amount of energy to manufacture. “If we can replace cement, partially or totally, with some other materials that may be readily and amply available in nature, we can meet our objectives for sustainability,” Buyukozturk says. Co-authors on the paper include lead author and graduate student Steven Palkovic, graduate student Dieter Brommer, research scientist Kunal Kupwade-Patil, CEE assistant professor Admir Masic, and CEE department head Markus Buehler, the McAfee Professor of Engineering. “The merger of theory, computation, new synthesis, and characterization methods have enabled a paradigm shift that will likely change the way we produce this ubiquitous material, forever,” Buehler says. “It could lead to more durable roads, bridges, structures, reduce the carbon and energy footprint, and even enable us to sequester carbon dioxide as the material is made. Implementing nanotechnology in concrete is one powerful example [of how] to scale up the power of nanoscience to solve grand engineering challenges.” Today’s concrete is a random assemblage of crushed rocks and stones, bound together by a cement paste. Concrete’s strength and durability depends partly on its internal structure and configuration of pores. For example, the more porous the material, the more vulnerable it is to cracking. However, there are no techniques available to precisely control concrete’s internal structure and overall properties. “It’s mostly guesswork,” Buyukozturk says. “We want to change the culture and start controlling the material at the mesoscale.” As Buyukozturk describes it, the “mesoscale” represents the connection between microscale structures and macroscale properties. For instance, how does cement’s microscopic arrangement affect the overall strength and durability of a tall building or a long bridge? Understanding this connection would help engineers identify features at various length scales that would improve concrete’s overall performance. “We’re dealing with molecules on the one hand, and building a structure that’s on the order of kilometers in length on the other,” Buyukozturk says. “How do we connect the information we develop at the very small scale, to the information at the large scale? This is the riddle.” Building from the bottom, up To start to understand this connection, he and his colleagues looked to biological materials such as bone, deep sea sponges, and nacre (an inner shell layer of mollusks), which have all been studied extensively for their mechanical and microscopic properties. They looked through the scientific literature for information on each biomaterial, and compared their structures and behavior, at the nano-, micro-, and macroscales, with that of cement paste. They looked for connections between a material’s structure and its mechanical properties. For instance, the researchers found that a deep sea sponge’s onion-like structure of silica layers provides a mechanism for preventing cracks. Nacre has a “brick-and-mortar” arrangement of minerals that generates a strong bond between the mineral layers, making the material extremely tough. “In this context, there is a wide range of multiscale characterization and computational modeling techniques that are well established for studying the complexities of biological and biomimetic materials, which can be easily translated into the cement community,” says Masic. Applying the information they learned from investigating biological materials, as well as knowledge they gathered on existing cement paste design tools, the team developed a general, bioinspired framework, or methodology, for engineers to design cement, “from the bottom up.” The framework is essentially a set of guidelines that engineers can follow, in order to determine how certain additives or ingredients of interest will impact cement’s overall strength and durability. For instance, in a related line of research, Buyukozturk is looking into volcanic ash as a cement additive or substitute. To see whether volcanic ash would improve cement paste’s properties, engineers, following the group’s framework, would first use existing experimental techniques, such as nuclear magnetic resonance, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction to characterize volcanic ash’s solid and pore configurations over time. Researchers could then plug these measurements into models that simulate concrete’s long-term evolution, to identify mesoscale relationships between, say, the properties of volcanic ash and the material’s contribution to the strength and durability of an ash-containing concrete bridge. These simulations can then be validated with conventional compression and nanoindentation experiments, to test actual samples of volcanic ash-based concrete. Ultimately, the researchers hope the framework will help engineers identify ingredients that are structured and evolve in a way, similar to biomaterials, that may improve concrete’s performance and longevity. “Hopefully this will lead us to some sort of recipe for more sustainable concrete,” Buyukozturk says. “Typically, buildings and bridges are given a certain design life. Can we extend that design life maybe twice or three times? That’s what we aim for. Our framework puts it all on paper, in a very concrete way, for engineers to use.” This research was supported in part by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences through the Kuwait-MIT Center for Natural Resources and the Environment, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Argonne National Laboratory.
The boiling of water is at the heart of many industrial processes, from the operation of electric power plants to chemical processing and desalination. But the details of what happens on a hot surface as water boils have been poorly understood, so unexpected hotspots can sometimes melt expensive equipment and disable plants. Now researchers at MIT have developed an understanding of what causes this extreme heating — which occurs when a value known as the critical heat flux (CHF) is exceeded — and how to prevent it. The new insights could make it possible to operate power plants at higher temperatures and thus significantly higher overall efficiency, they say. The findings are reported this week in the journal Nature Communications, in a paper co-authored by mechanical engineering postdoc Navdeep Singh Dhillon, professor of nuclear science and engineering Jacopo Buongiorno, and associate professor of mechanical engineering Kripa Varanasi. “Roughly 85 percent of the worldwide installed base of electricity relies on steam power generators, and in the U.S. it’s 90 percent,” Varanasi says. “If you’re able to improve the boiling process that produces this steam, you can improve the overall power plant efficiency.” The bubbles of vapor that characterize boiling, familiar to anyone who has ever boiled water on a stove, turn out to limit energy efficiency. That’s because gas — whether it’s air or water vapor — is highly insulating, whereas water is a good absorber of heat. So on a hot surface, the more area that is covered with bubbles, the less efficient the transfer of heat energy becomes. If those bubbles persist too long at a given spot, it can significantly increase the temperature of the metal underneath, since heat is not transferred away fast enough, Varanasi says — and can potentially melt part of the metal. “This will most certainly damage an industrial boiler, a potentially catastrophic scenario for a nuclear power plant or a chemical processing unit,” says Dhillon. When a layer of bubbles limits heat transfer, “locally, the temperature can increase by several thousand degrees” — a phenomenon known as a “boiling crisis.” To avoid exceeding the CHF, power plants are usually operated at temperatures lower than they otherwise could, limiting their efficiency and power output. Using textured surfaces has been known to help, but it has not been known why, or what the optimal texturing might be. Contrary to prevailing views, the new work shows that more texturing is not always better. The MIT team’s experiments, which use simultaneous high-speed optical and infrared imaging of the boiling process, show a maximum benefit at a certain level of surface texturing; understanding exactly where this maximum value lies and the physics behind it is key to improving boiler systems, the team says. “What was really missing was an understanding of the specific mechanism that textured surfaces would provide,” Buongiorno says. The new research points to the importance of a balance between capillary forces and viscous forces in the liquid. “As the bubble begins to depart the surface, the surrounding liquid needs to rewet the surface before the temperature of the hot dry spot underneath the bubble exceeds a critical value,” Varanasi says. This requires understanding the coupling between liquid flow in the surface textures and its thermal interaction with the underlying surface. “If anything can enhance the heat transfer, that could improve the operating margin of a power plant,” Varanasi says, allowing it to operate safely at higher temperatures. By improving the overall efficiency of a plant, it’s possible to reduce its emissions: “You can get the same amount of steam production from a smaller amount of fuel,” Dhillon says. At the same time, the plant’s safety is improved by reducing the risk of overheating, and catastrophic boiler failures. “This research uses a unique combination of precision micro- [and] nanofabrication, probative experimental techniques, and innovative analysis to investigate the existence of an optimal surface geometry,” says Matthew McCarthy, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Drexel University who was not involved in this research. “While numerous researchers have shown that structured coatings can enhance CHF, work like this is critical to answering why, and more importantly, answers questions on how to optimize surfaces for increased performance.” The research was supported by Chevron Corp., the Kuwait-MIT Center for Natural Resources and the Environment, and a Shapiro fellowship from Mechanical Engineering Department. The micro-nano structured surfaces used in the study were fabricated in the Microsystems Technologies Laboratory (MTL) and at Harvard CNS.
News Article | October 21, 2014
Mergers and acquisitions (M & A) is the area of corporate finances, management and strategy dealing which deals with purchasing and/or joining with other companies. Though the two are often mentioned together, a merger is very different from an acquisition. A merger, in a nutshell, involves two corporate entities joining forces and becoming a new business entity, with a new name. It usually involves two companies of same size and stature joining hands. An acquisition, on the other hand, involves one bigger business taking over a smaller company which may be absorbed into the parent company or run as a subsidiary. The company being taken over is referred to as the ‘target company’ in the corporate world. Here is a list of some of the most happening mergers and acquisitions in India in the year 2014, listed in random order. The huge and most talked about takeover or acquisition of the year. The seven year old Bangalore based domestic e-retailer acquired the online fashion portal for an undisclosed amount in May 2014. Industry analysts and insiders believe it was a $300 million or Rs 2,000 crore deal. Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal insisted that this was a “completely different acquisition story” as it was not “driven by distress”, alluding to a plethora of small e-commerce players either having wound up or been bought over in the past two years. Together, both company heads claimed, they were scripting “one of the largest e-commerce stories”. Asian paints signed a deal with Ess Ess Bathroom products Pvt Ltd to acquire its front end sales business for an undisclosed sum in May, 2014. “The company on May 14, 2014 has entered into a binding agreement with Ess Ess Bathroom Products Pvt. Ltd and its promoters to acquire its entire front-end sales business including brands, network and sales infrastructure,” Asian Paints said in a filing to the BSE on Wednesday. Ess Ess produces high end products in bath and wash segment in India and taking them over led to a 3.3% rise in share price for Asian paints. Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) took over 78% shares in Network 18 in May 2104 for Rs 4,000 crores. Network 18 was founded by Raghav Behl and includes moneycontrol.com, In.com, IBNLive.com, Firstpost.com, Cricketnext.in, Homeshop18.com, Bookmyshow.com while TV18 group includes CNBC-TV18, CNN-IBN, Colors, IBN7 and CNBC Awaaz. One of the leading Indian manufacturers, Merck KGaA took over US based Sigma-Aldrich Company for $17 billion in cash, hoping the deal will help boost its lab supplies business. Sigma is the leading supplier of organic chemicals and bio chemicals to research laboratories and supplies groups like Pfizer and Novartis with lab substances. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, a multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra which manufactures and sells pharmaceutical formulations and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) primarily in India and the United States bought the Ranbaxy Laboratories. The deal is expected to be completed in December, 2014. Ranbaxy shareholders will get 4 shares of Sun Pharma for every 5 Ranbaxy shares held by them. The deal, worth $4 billion, will lead to a 16.4 dilution in the equity capital of Sun Pharma. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the $13 billion flagship software unit of the Tata Group, has announced a merger with the listed CMC with itself as part of the group’s renewed efforts to consolidate its IT businesses under a single entity. At present, CMC employs over 6,000 people and has annual revenues worth Rs 2,000 crores. The deal was inked a few days back. TCS already held a 51% stake in CMC. India’s largest private power producer, Tata Power, purchased 30% stake in Indonesian coal manufacturing firm for Rs 47.4 billion. Earlier this year, they sold off 5% of its stake in PT Arutmin Indonesia (Arutmin) and PT Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC) for Rs. 250 billion due to falling coal prices globally. It plans to sell the remaining 25% stake for $ 1 billion soon too. The largest dairy player in the world, Groupe Lactalis SA, acquired the 18 year old Hyderabad based Tirumala Milk products for a whopping Rs 1750 crore ($275 million) in January, 2014. Founded in 1896 by D Brahmanandam, B Brahma Naidu, B Nageswara Rao, Dr N Venkata Rao and R Satyanarayana, Tirumala is the second largest private dairy company in South India. Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd (ABNL) owned ABNL IT & ITeS Ltd. was sold to a Canadian based technology outsourcing firm marking Aditya Birla’s exit for the IT industry. The deal was chalked out with a group of investors led by Capital Square Partners (CSP) and CX Partners (CXP) for $260 million (approximately Rs. 1,600 crore). Billionaire Prem Watsa owned Thomas Cook India bought the Sterling Resorts India for Rs 870 crores in , marking Thomas Cook’s entry into the hospitality sector. Thomas Cook had earlier acquired Ikya Human Solutions in 2013. The search engine giant, Yahoo, acquired the one year old Bangalore based startup Bookpad for a little under $15 million, though the exact amount has not been disclosed by either of the two parties concerned. While the deal value is relatively small, this was the first acquisition made by Yahoo, and was much talked about and hence finds a mention in our list. Bookpad was founded by three IIT Guwahati pass outs and allows users to view, edit and annotate documents within a website or an app. , out of based on ratings.
A team of MIT researchers, together with a team from Kuwait University, has been awarded a $5.5 million dollar grant for a collaborative research project titled, “Next Generation Brine Desalination and Management for Efficiency, Reliability, and Sustainability.” The project is being funded through the Signature Research Program of the Kuwait-MIT Center for Natural Resources and the Environment (CNRE) by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) with a performance period of three years. The project is designed to address several coupled challenges and to investigate desalination systems from the microfluidic scale up to the system level scale: These core research areas will be investigated in parallel while accounting for coupling between them, adding to the uniqueness of this project. Jongyoon Han, principal investigator of the project and a professor of both the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Department of Biological Engineering, says, “The issue of proper and efficient brine treatment, both in terms of economic and environmental aspects, is truly an ‘MIT-hard’ challenge, so all of us in the team are motivated by it. Not only will this project have potential impact to Kuwait and other Gulf states, the ideas and concepts developed in this project may have implications to other challenging environmental remediation such as the treatment of produced water from oil and gas industries.” Bader Al-Anzi, professor at the Department of Environmental Technology Management at Kuwait University and the leading co-principal investigator at Kuwait University was instrumental in the formation of the team and the scope of this collaborative research project during his yearlong appointment at MIT as a visiting scientist. “Like other GCC countries in the region, Kuwait replenishes its water resources through desalination process, for potable water, and treated wastewater for non-human consumption purposes/applications,” Al-Anzi says. “However, the foregoing processes discharge brine and treated wastewater, respectively, into the Gulf that may pose a serious threat to the marine life if left untreated. The current project addresses such challenges by increasing both energetic and environmental sustainability of Kuwaiti water management by developing / validating novel ideas and interfacing them optimally with existing plant workflow.” “The ideas in this project build on the unique and synergistic expertise of the MIT and Kuwait University team in desalination and environmental related technologies and sciences,” says Murad Abu-Khalaf, the executive director of CNRE. “The team has the expertise needed to create new innovations in desalination systems from the microfluidic levels up to the system wide level. The project addresses a critical challenge to the sustainable growth of Kuwait, which gets more than 90 percent of its freshwater from desalination, and the Gulf states at large. We are excited by the prospects this collaboration between MIT and Kuwait University brings in addressing challenges of such a global scope. This is the second project to be initiated through CNRE’s Signature Research Program that, collaboratively with researchers in Kuwait, investigates technical challenges that have both regional and global impact.” The other co-PIs from MIT are Karen Gleason, professor of chemical engineering, John Lienhard, professor of mechanical engineering, Jacob White, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and Eric Adams, senior research engineer at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Directed by Mujid Kazimi alongside associate director Jacopo Buongiorno — both professors in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT — and executive director Murad Abu-Khalaf, CNRE was established at MIT in 2005 to foster collaborations in research and education in areas of energy, water and the environment between MIT and research institutions in Kuwait. The center is funded by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences.