Can you imagine a future where your car is fueled by iron powder instead of gasoline? Metal powders, produced using clean primary energy sources, could provide a more viable long-term replacement for fossil fuels than other widely discussed alternatives, such as hydrogen, biofuels or batteries, according to a study researchers at McGill University, Canada. "Technologies to generate clean electricity—primarily solar and wind power—are being developed rapidly; but we can't use that electricity for many of the things that oil and gas are used for today, such as transportation and global energy trade," says Professor Jeffrey Bergthorson. "Biofuels can be part of the solution, but won't be able to satisfy all the demand; hydrogen requires big, heavy fuel tanks and is explosive, and batteries are too bulky and don't store enough energy for many applications," says Bergthorson. "Using metal powders as recyclable fuels that store clean primary energy for later use is a very promising alternative solution." The research includes other McGill researchers and a European Space Agency scientist in the Netherlands, lays out a novel concept for using tiny metal particles—similar in size to fine flour or icing sugar—to power external-combustion engines. Unlike the internal-combustion engines used in gasoline-powered cars, external-combustion engines use heat from an outside source to drive an engine. External-combustion engines, modern versions of the coal-fired steam locomotives that drove the industrial era, are widely used to generate power from nuclear, coal or biomass fuels in power stations. The idea of burning metal powders is nothing new – they've been used for centuries in fireworks, for instance. Since the mid-20th century, they've also been used in rocket propellants, such as the space shuttle's solid-fuel booster rockets. But relatively little research has been done in recent decades on the properties of metal flames, and the potential for metal powders to be used as a recyclable fuel in a wide range of applications has been largely overlooked by scientists. The idea put forward by the McGill team takes advantage of an important property of metal powders: when burned, they react with air to form stable, nontoxic solid-oxide products that can be collected relatively easily for recycling – unlike the CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels that escape into the atmosphere. Using a custom-built burner, the team demonstrated that a flame can be stabilized in a flow of tiny metal particles suspended in air. Flames from metal powders "appear quite similar" to those produced by burning hydrocarbon fuels, according to researchers. "The energy and power densities of the proposed metal-fueled heat engines are predicted to be close to current fossil-fueled internal combustion engines, making them an attractive technology for a future low-carbon society." Iron could be the primary candidate for this purpose. Millions of tons of iron powders are already produced annually for the metallurgy, chemical and electronic industries. And iron is readily recyclable with well-established technologies, and some novel techniques can avoid the carbon dioxide emissions associated with traditional iron production using coal. While laboratory work at McGill and elsewhere has shown that the use of metal fuels with heat engines is technically feasible, no one has yet demonstrated the idea in practice. The next step toward turning the lab findings into usable technology, therefore, will be "to build a prototype burner and couple it to a heat engine," Bergthorson says. "Developing metal recycling processes that don't involve CO emissions is also critical." David Jarvis, head of strategic and emerging technologies at the European Space Agency, adds: "We are very interested in this technology because it opens the door to new propulsion systems that can be used in space and on earth. The shift away from fossil fuels for vehicle propulsion is a clear trend for the future. While not perfected and commercialized today, the use of low-cost metallic fuels, like iron powder, is a worthy alternative to petrol and diesel fuels. If we can demonstrate, for the first time, an iron-fueled engine with almost zero CO emissions, we believe this would then trigger even more innovation and cost reduction in the near future." Research on metal combustion at McGill has been funded over the past 20 years by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Department of National Defence, the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, Martec Ltd. (Halifax, NS), and the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design. Image caption — Stabilized flames of different metal powders burning with air, compared to a methane-air flame.
Zhang F.,Defence R and D Canada Suffield |
Ripley R.,Martec Ltd. |
Wilson W.H.,Defense Threat Reduction Agency
AIP Conference Proceedings | Year: 2012
Air blast characteristics of Al and Ni-Al laminated materials were experimentally investigated in a 23 m 3 closed chamber. Ni and Al foils, 50 to 100 micrometers in thickness, were rolled and compacted to form a cylindrical casing with a density of 95% TMD through an explosive formation technique. Charges were prepared using 2 kg C4 explosive packed in the laminated casing to a metal-explosive mass ratio of 1.75. The blast pressure history measured on the chamber wall showed a double-shock front structure with a precursor shock followed by the primary blast. The front peak pressure for the Ni-Al cased charge reaches 1.5-2 times that of the Al cased, consistent with the larger fireball recorded for the Ni-Al cased. The long time quasi-static explosion pressure (QSP) from the Ni- Al cased charge is 0.8 of that of the Al cased, due to half of Al mass in the Ni-Al. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.
Ripley R.C.,Martec Ltd. |
Donahue L.,Martec Ltd. |
Zhang F.,Defence R and D Canada Suffield
AIP Conference Proceedings | Year: 2012
The formation of post-detonation 'particle' jets is widely observed in many problems associated with particle dispersal from explosives. This paper analyzes experimental observations to examine the mechanism for formation and growth of such particle jetting instabilities, and to propose a model to address the issues of jetting growth at a macroscopic level. The experiments involve cylindrical charges with a range of central explosive masses for dispersal of dry solid powder, pure liquid, or a hybrid mixture of solid powder and liquid. The results demonstrate that the jets form very early, and that the number of jets is dependent on shock pressure at the charge perimeter, within the range of particle sizes studied. The jetting instabilities may therefore be initiated by shock interaction with the dense solid particle interfaces near the charge surface, followed by early jet growth through transverse particle motion from the interaction of shocked and turbulent wake flow around the particles. From the experiments, a macroscopic model is proposed, in which an edge perturbation on a scale proportional to the number of jets as a function of shock pressure is employed, and the subsequent transverse particle motion is controlled by an attraction function. The model is implemented in the Chinook hydrocode, which is capable of modeling the initiation and growth of particle jetting structures in large-scale dispersal, and the results are validated against experiments. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.
MacKay J.R.,Canadian Department of National Defence |
MacKay J.R.,Technical University of Delft |
Jiang L.,Martec Ltd. |
Marine Structures | Year: 2011
Nonlinear finite element (FE) collapse pressure predictions are compared to experimental results for submarine pressure hull test specimens with and without artificial corrosion and tested to collapse under external hydrostatic pressure. The accuracy of FE models, and their sensitivity to modeling and solution procedures, are investigated by comparing FE simulations of the experiments using two different model generators and three solvers. The standard FE methodology includes the use of quadrilateral shell elements, nonlinear mapping of measured geometric imperfections, and quasi-static incremental analyses including nonlinear material and geometry. The FE models are found to be accurate to approximately 11%, with 95% confidence, regardless of the model generator and solver that is used. Collapse pressure predictions for identical FE models obtained using each of the three solvers agree within 2.8%, indicating that the choice of FE solver does not significantly affect the predicted collapse pressure. The FE predictions are found to be more accurate for corroded than for undamaged models, and neglecting the shell eccentricity that arises due to one-sided shell thinning is found to significantly decrease the resulting accuracy of the FE model. © 2011.
Ripley R.C.,Martec Ltd. |
Zhang F.,Defence Research and Development Canada
Journal of Physics: Conference Series | Year: 2014
The formation of post-detonation 'particle' jets is widely observed in many problems associated with explosive dispersal of granular materials and liquids. Jets have been shown to form very early, however the mechanism controlling the number of jetting instabilities remains unresolved despite a number of active theories. Recent experiments involving cylindrical charges with a range of central explosive masses for dispersal of dry solid particles and pure liquid are used to formulate macroscopic numerical models for jet formation and growth. The number of jets is strongly related to the dominant perturbation during the shock interaction timescale that controls the initial fracturing of the particle bed and liquid bulk. Perturbations may originate at the interfaces between explosive, shock-dispersed media, and outer edge of the charge due to Richtmyer-Meshkov instabilities. The inner boundary controls the number of major structures, while the outer boundary may introduce additional overlapping structures and microjets that are overtaken by the major structures. In practice, each interface may feature a thin casing material that breaks up, thereby influencing or possibly dominating the instabilities. Hydrocode simulation is used to examine the role of each interface in conjunction with casing effects on the perturbation leading to jet initiation. The subsequent formation of coherent jet structures requires dense multiphase flow of particles and droplets that interact though inelastic collision, agglomeration, and turbulent flow. Macroscopic multiphase flow simulation shows dense particle clustering and major jet structures overtaking smaller instabilities. Late-time dispersal is controlled by particle drag and evaporation of droplets. Numerical results for dispersal and jetting evolution are compared with experiments. © Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Innovation Voucher | Award Amount: 5.00K | Year: 2015
Martec of Whitwell Ltd project engaging specialist knowledge of elastomer materials through the Innovation Voucher scheme of Innovate UK to help further develop their Marplug hygienic pig.
Martec Ltd. | Date: 2013-06-03
A fan blade comprising a mount supporting a plurality of superimposed fan blade segments arranged to slide relative to one another from a retracted storage configuration to an extended operative configuration.
Martec Ltd. | Date: 2011-12-28
A ceiling fan comprising an electric motor that drives a circular plate, the circular plate has three or four equally spaced quadrants positioned adjacent its periphery each quadrant is secured to the plate to be pivotal thereto to provide limited acuate movement about the pivot axis, each quadrant having a fan blade secured thereto, the acuate movement of each quadrant being confined from a first position where the blades are within the periphery of the plate to a second position where the blades extend raidally outwardly at the plate, each quadrant being attached to the plate by a coil spring which urges the quadrant into the first position, each quadrant being directly joined to the adjacent quadrant by a rigid tie bar so that any movement of one quadrant causes the same movement of all the other quadrants.
Martec Ltd. | Date: 2011-06-24
A ceiling fan comprising an electric motor that drives a circular plate, the circular plate has three or four equally spaced quadrants positioned adjacent its periphery each quadrant is secured to the plate to be pivotal thereto to provide limited acuate movement about the pivot axis, each quadrant having a fan blade secured thereto, the acuate movement of each quadrant being confined from a first position where the blades are within the periphery of the plate to a second position where the blades extend radially outwardly at the plate, each quadrant being attached to the plate by a coil spring which urges the quadrant into the first position, each quadrant being directly joined to the adjacent quadrant by a rigid tie bar so that any movement of one quadrant causes the same movement of all the other quadrants.
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Feasibility Study | Award Amount: 113.07K | Year: 2016
Cleaning of production lines is one of the most time consuming and costly stages of food and drink manufacturing. Cleaning is also one of the most inefficient stages as Clean in Place (CIP) systems are designed and commissioned for the worst case scenario. This is the food materials and operating conditions which are known to foul the equipment the most. In daily use this often results in the over cleaning of the production lines coming at a great expense to food manufacturers. This is primarily due to unnecessary line downtime and resource utilisation. This feasibility project will develop a small lab scale experimental rig and assess the potential of different online sensors and artificial intelligence to quantify the level of internal fouling and autonomously optimise the CIP process in real time. This technology will dramatically reduce the time, cost and environmental impact required for cleaning.blic Project Summary