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News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

NORRISTOWN, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--LCR Embedded Systems today announced the addition of research and development activities to its already impressive portfolio of capabilities, which also include engineering design, program management, system integration, and manufacture and testing. The company’s R&D team has been charged with investigating topics of pressing concern to the aerospace/defense, commercial, and rugged industrial markets, such as advanced thermal management, active and passive electromagnetic shielding, rugged design, advanced manufacturing and composites, waste energy harvesting, and unmanned vehicle systems and pods. Members of the team include Eyal Fuhrer as R&D Manager, an entrepreneur with 13 years of multidisciplinary experience who obtained his BS in Electrical and Nuclear Engineering from Ben Gurion University and his MS in Biomedical Engineering and Management from Drexel University, and Marketing Manager Janis Cortese, a 20-year veteran of high-tech marketing who obtained her BS degrees in Physics and Astronomy from Penn State University as a Teas Scholar where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and her MS in Physics from the University of California at Irvine. “We’re fortunate as a company to have graduate-level research experience in multiple functional areas, and we’re very excited to put that to use investigating various blue-sky topics of interest to our customers and markets,” states LCR Embedded Systems President David Pearson. “After all, such experience is a real distinguisher for LCR Embedded Systems, and we’re eager to capitalize on it so that we can offer even more value to our customers.” The team has been consulting together for some time, weighing the value of various research topics to determine which ones stand the best chance of practical benefit. As a result, they have narrowed their initial topics down to several particularly promising ones and have begun to develop a formal research plan and supporting processes. LCR Embedded Systems designs, develops, and manufactures chassis, backplanes, and fully integrated systems for the aerospace and defense, commercial, rail, and industrial markets with a focus on standard base form factors such as VPX/VME, AdvancedTCA, COM Express, and CompactPCI. LCR Embedded Systems is an AS 9100 C and ISO9001:2008 certified company, with approved J-STD-001 Class 3, CCAP, FOD, and ESD programs in place.

News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: phys.org

The research team is led by Dr. Victor Ugaz, professor and holder of the Charles D. Holland '53 Professorship and the Thaman Professorship in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering. The team also includes Dr. Yassin A. Hassan, professor and holder of the Sallie & Don Davis '61 Professorship and department head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering. Scientists have long known that the building blocks of life – amino acids, nucleobases and sugars – were present in the early ocean, but they were very low in concentration. In order for life to emerge, these building blocks needed to be combined and enriched into long-chain macromolecules. Identifying the process and mechanism driving this synthesis has been one of the largest questions concerning the origin of life. "In the early ocean, those building blocks were present in the environment," Ugaz said. "They were there, but they were so dilute; there is a question about how they combined. So one area of interest is what kind of concentration mechanism could have existed to enrich those components to a point where they could start to form longer chains, more complex molecules." In an article appearing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the Texas A&M research team describes a mechanism that may have played a major role in combining these dilute chemical building blocks into the long-chain macromolecules necessary for life. The research team explored this by creating a model system of cylindrical cells that mimic the structure of pores in mineral formations found near a recently discovered, new type of subsea hydrothermal vent. The temperature gradients present within these vents function just like an ordinary lava lamp, circulating fluid within the tiny pore spaces. The team found that these flows are surprisingly complex and chaotic – meaning that individual paths follow a rough general pattern, but no trajectories are identical. This discovery made it possible to identify conditions where these flows are able to provide bulk homogenization of the various organic molecules present in the vents, while at the same time transport them to catalytically active pore surfaces where they absorb and react. According to Ugaz, there is an easy way to picture this phenomenon. "Imagine you are stirring coffee, and you put in some cream or something that would stick to the side of the cup. When you stir it a certain way, two things are actually happening at once: you are mixing the bulk of the liquid, but you are also making it go to a certain spot on the surface of the cup." These flows naturally occur within hydrothermal pore networks providing an intriguing mechanism to explain how dilute organic precursors in the early ocean could have assembled into complex biomacromolecules. This has been one of the key unanswered questions in the origin of life on Earth, and in extraterrestrial systems where similar hydrothermal environments have been discovered. Beyond this finding, the research is significant in a number of other ways. There are a whole host of different processes beyond the biotic and prebiotic chemistry that can be catalyzed in these environments. First, these porous formations play a major role in converting carbon dioxide into various carbonates. The exact mechanisms driving this carbon dioxide capture are not currently well described. However, the results of this study indicate that these chaotic flows may be able to help describe this phenomenon. Further, with a better understanding of these flows and how they drive reactions at a surface, it is feasible that they could drive a new type of reactor. As the flows rely on heat differences, such a reactor could be entirely passive, utilizing waste heat to drive reactions. This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation. Explore further: Kinetic analysis challenges theories of chemistry for the origin of life More information: Priye A, Yu Y, Hassan YA, Ugaz VM. Synchronized chaotic targeting and acceleration of surface chemistry in prebiotic hydrothermal microenvironments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. PMID 28119504 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1612924114

News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.materialstoday.com

Penn State University in the US plans to offer residential and online master’s degrees in additive manufacturing (AM) and design beginning in the autumn of 2017. The residential Master of Science in Additive Manufacturing (MSAMD) and online Master of Engineering in Additive Manufacturing (MEngAMD) will be 30-credit degrees offered to graduate students to provide the analytical and practical skills required to use AM technologies, the university said. The program will integrate graduate coursework across multiple departments, including the Departments of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, Engineering Science and Mechanics, School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs, and Materials Science and Engineering, and the Colleges of Engineering and Earth and Mineral Sciences. All students enrolled in the program will be able to work in Penn State’s AM laboratory, the Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D) as well as the Material Characterization Laboratory in the Millennium Sciences Complex and the Factory for Advanced Manufacturing Education in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. Students will gain experience working with polymer as well as metallic additive manufacturing systems. For more information about the degrees, please email AMDprogram@psu.edu. This story uses material from Penn State with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: news.mit.edu

When she was 16, Monica Pham mapped out her future. “My chemistry teacher was talking about how atoms could generate unlimited power,” Pham recalls. “I asked her what kind of person worked in this field, and when she said a nuclear engineer, I decided that’s what I wanted to be.” Today, as a college sophomore pursuing a degree in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE), Pham could not be happier with her decision. “That weird, defining moment in high school has worked out well for me, because with my interests in energy and engineering, NSE is a really great fit.” In addition to her full plate of NSE classes, such as 22.01 (Introduction to Nuclear Engineering and Ionizing Radiation) and 22.06 (Engineering of Nuclear Systems), Pham is engaged in research at the Collaboration for Science and Technology with Accelerators and Radiation (CSTAR), a joint laboratory of NSE and the Plasma Science and Fusion Center. “I remembered touring the CSTAR facility during freshman pre-orientation, and thought this would be a great way to get my first real experience in nuclear engineering,” Pham says. Pham’s project, one of a number at CSTAR, is under the supervision of assistant professor Zachary Hartwig, and involves the development of a system for diagnosing materials used in tokamaks — nuclear fusion reactors. Fusion energy harnesses the power of super-hot plasma, the fuel of stars, to generate enormous amounts of energy. Tokamaks confine and control plasma through the use of magnetic fields. Before fusion energy can become a viable source of energy, critical issues must be addressed. Hartwig’s research, part of a five-year study devised by NSE Professor Dennis Whyte, focuses on some central questions: What are the potentially destructive impacts of plasma on tokamak components, and can these effects be assessed inside the fiery furnace of a typically inaccessible tokamak chamber? This is where Pham comes in. She is part of a team using a particle accelerator to blast a beam of atomic particles at materials used in tokamak components. This research is an initial step in developing a full-scale diagnostic technique to measure the impacts of harsh conditions on plasma-facing components in a major fusion facility. “Because plasma is kind of crazy, there is a lot of erosion and deposition to these materials in a tokamak,” she says “Previous diagnostic techniques are all ex situ — you have to take components out of the chamber afterwards to see how plasma affected them — so this technique is novel and could really help with new fusion reactor designs.” Some days Pham will help assemble the experiment, setting up the small metallic targets at the end of the accelerator beamline. Other days, she collects data from the detectors, plotting the intensity of the yield of atomic particles such as gamma radiation against the intensity of the accelerator beam. “I’m learning a lot about how to set up and run experiments from them,” she says. “It’s both challenging and fun, especially when we have to troubleshoot an experiment that isn’t working as planned.” After four straight terms on this project, Pham looks forward to the potential publication of research in which she has been involved. “One of the graduate students hopes to publish, including data I collected last year,” she says. “It would be kind of cool to be an undergraduate and a co-author.” When not in class or in the laboratory, Pham makes time for the MIT chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. As festival chair, she sets up workshops and activities to engage girls and young women in science and engineering. Pham recalls times during secondary school when she “was not taken as seriously as boys who wanted to go into engineering,” she says. “People would say to me, ‘Are you sure you want to do that; it seems pretty hard.’” As a result of these experiences, she says, “I want to empower girls to feel they belong in these fields.” At such venues as the Cambridge Science Festival, and the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, Pham runs open houses intended to introduce girls both to fun science, like using lemon juice to polish a penny, and to female science and engineering role models such as herself. “Some kids ask what it’s like to be a woman engineer or an MIT student, and I tell them it’s really cool,” she says. She has proof this outreach makes a difference. “One time I was helping an eight-year-old girl build a mini-catapult, and she turned to me and said, ‘I was going to ask for a robot for Christmas and now I want to build a robot myself,’” says Pham. “It was an amazing moment, and showed me my efforts could really pay off.”

News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: motherboard.vice.com

This is a series around POWER, a Motherboard 360/VR documentary about nuclear energy. Follow along here. As Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stood alongside Justin Trudeau at Parliament's centre block in September, a quiet confidence was growing in Canada's nuclear industry. The Prime Minister and the Chinese leader were overseeing a signing ceremony between the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and Canadian engineering giant, SNC-Lavalin, which owns CANDU technology. The agreement will see two next-generation CANDU nuclear reactors installed about 100 kilometres southwest of Shanghai, and could transform nuclear power. Canada's nuclear industry is on the upswing, partly because of a global push to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The deal with CNNC is part of that. Teams here are developing advanced nuclear technologies that will ideally help wean us off fossil fuels, which is one reason many environmentalists are starting to embrace nuclear. Watch more from Motherboard: Going Nuclear If all goes according to plan, the CANDU reactors slated for the Qinshan nuclear site will be powered by what the industry calls advanced fuels: reprocessed uranium recycled from conventional reactors, and later, the radioactive element thorium, said Justin Hannah, Director of Marketing, Strategy and External Relations for SNC's CANDU division. Only a handful of sites in Europe and Japan are able to reprocess uranium today, and there is no standard on how to reuse it as a fuel, so it's not widely used. Even so, it has the potential to reduce stockpiles of radioactive waste and make countries that use it less dependent on uranium imports. CANDUs could start using thorium, with China's backing, putting the world closer to what proponents call the thorium dream Thorium has its own advantages when compared to uranium: it's about three times more abundant and can provide just as much power, plus it's far less useful for making nuclear weapons, mainly because its fuel cycle doesn't produce plutonium. But thorium is notoriously difficult to mine. Using it as a fuel is also complex, so reactor designs and supply chains aren't readily available. The fact that CANDUs could start using thorium, with China's backing, may put the world closer to what proponents call the thorium dream of safer, cleaner and more abundant nuclear power. China currently has 36 nuclear reactors in operation, another 21 under construction, and wants to double its nuclear power generation by 2021. Most of the existing reactors are conventional pressurized water reactors that run on enriched uranium, but the country is moving aggressively towards advanced reactor designs that can make use of the spent uranium from their current reactors, and the growing stockpiles of thorium that are a byproduct of mining for rare earth elements, a market that China dominates. China has a growing appetite for carbon-free energy, and the government has declared war on pollution from coal-fired power plants, so nuclear makes sense. But Canada's technology could also be of strategic value. "They have the thorium, they have the spent uranium," said Hannah. This country stands to benefit from the agreement with China, too. If we get this joint venture right, "Canada's nuclear industry could be seen as world leaders," said Jerry Hopwood, President of the University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering, a partnership between 12 Canadian universities, government, and Canada's nuclear industry. The new Chinese-Canadian commercial entity is expected to be registered in China by mid-2017, with pre-construction work beginning in 2019 and 2026 targeted for the first AFCR to be operational, said Hannah. Thorium could be in use in the 2030s. As for whether Canada could one day switch to thorium, we've got large, high-quality uranium reserves, so any move to bring a thorium-powered AFCR here will depend on both politics and economics. "There's no strong economic driver for it," argued John Luxat, a nuclear safety expert at McMaster University. "The utilities don't want to switch over, but it's nice to know that we could." After what Hopwood called a lull in Canada's industry in the early 2000s, he believes recent investments and the push for carbon-free power show there's a resurgence in nuclear. The industry got a boost in 2016 from Ontario's support for the refurbishment of the Darlington nuclear plant, and the 2015 plan to extend the life of Bruce Power's nuclear reactors—each project projected to cost about $13 billion. Apart from that, SNC may be building another CANDU reactor in Argentina. Canadian nuclear startups are also chasing new technologies. Terrestrial Energy has plans to build a commercially-viable molten salt reactor (MSR) by the 2020s. Read More: The Plan to Build a Million-Year Nuclear Waste Dump on the Great Lakes Since the concept was first developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1960s, it's been touted as a safer alternative. Terrestrial's small, modular design is targeted at remote communities and providing carbon-free power directly to heavy industrial installations. The nuclear fuel used in an MSR is liquid, so it can't melt down, and it's chemically bound to the molten salt coolant. That means a loss of coolant, like the one that happened at the Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011, isn't possible, said Canon Bryan, Terrestrial's co-founder. Watch more from Motherboard: The Thorium Dream The molten fuel is highly corrosive, so MSRs still need further development to be proven safe. But the company has garnered nearly $30 million in investment, among other undisclosed grants, and Terrestrial's application to the US government for a $1 billion loan guarantee through its US subsidiary is advancing well, said Bryan. While Terrestrial's MSR design could potentially use thorium fuel in the future, the goal of becoming commercially viable as soon as possible means that the company will be sticking with uranium for now, since it's well-understood by the industry. "The conversation is changing," said Jerry Hopwood. "The fact that Canada is serious about dealing with climate change [has] put nuclear in a good position." Subscribe to Science Solved It, Motherboard's new show about the greatest mysteries that were solved by science.

The invention provides a biodegradable film or sheet having water resistance and strength sufficiently. Respective components are mixed so as to form a mixture containing 0% by mass or more and 35% by mass or less of starch, 20% by mass or more and 70% by mass or less of protein, 15% by mass or more and 60% by mass or less of cellulose fibers and 1% by mass or more and 15% by mass or less of urea, then adding 10 or more and 100 or less parts by mass of water to 100 parts by mass of the mixture, kneading the mixture sufficiently with a twin-screw mixer or the like, and rolling the kneaded product under heating at about 120C to give a film or sheet with several tens m to about 300 m in thickness.

The prevent invention provides a processed biodegradable article having excellent water resistance and rigidity, which can be used as a food container, and a biodegradable composition required to produce the processed biodegradable article. The respective components are mixed such that the content of starch is 15% by mass or more and 75% by mass or less, the content of protein is 5% by mass or more and 50% by mass or less, the content of cellulose fiber is 3% by mass or more and 50% by mass or less, the content of polyphenols is 0.5% by mass or more and 20% by mass or less, and the content of sodium chloride is 0% by mass or more and 5% by mass or less, and then water is added in the amount of 10 parts by mass or more and 100 parts by mass or less based on 100 parts by mass of the mixture, followed by kneading the mixture using a mixer. Then, the kneaded mixture is press-molded into a predetermined shape such as a cup or a dish, and heat-treated at 120C or higher and 180C or lower to obtain a processed article having excellent biodegradability.

An eddy-current flaw detection device is provided that improves spatial resolution of flaw detection signals and signal reproducibility during redetection of flaws, and reduces interference signals with simple circuit construction. The eddy-current flaw detection device comprises a magnetic element group of which a specified number of magnetic elements are evenly spaced in each of at least two rows that are formed around the surface of a column shaped casing that is formed such that it can be inserted into a conductive pipe (not shown in the figures), with one row 11 to 18 being located at a position that differs from the other row 21 to 28 by 1/2 the even spacing in the row direction, and switching circuits for switching the magnetic elements in the respective row of the magnetic element group at time-division. The magnetic elements 11 to 18 of one row function as magnetic field excitation elements that excite a magnetic field by being switched at time-division, the magnetic elements 21 to 28 of the other row function as magnetic field detection elements that detect a magnetic field by being switched at time-division, and the eddy-current flaw detection device performs eddy-current flaw detection of the conductive pipe by detecting each magnetic field that is excited by each magnetic field excitation element 11 to 18 by two magnetic field detection elements 21 to 28 that are each located at positions that differs from the magnetic field excitation elements 11 to 18 by 3/2 the even spacing in the row direction.

Nuclear Engineering LTD. | Date: 2015-03-25

There is provided a lightweight strain gauge holder having a simple structure. A strain gauge holder 1 includes a holder body 10 mounted on a side surface of a pipe 3, a gauge pressing member 21 for pressing a strain gauge 2 against the side surface of the pipe 3, and a feed mechanism for giving a pressing force to the gauge pressing member 21. The holder body 10 is provided with guide grooves 12 for guiding the gauge pressing members 21. The feed mechanism feeds the gauge pressing member 21 in the guide groove 12 to press the strain gauge 2 against the side surface of the pipe 3. The feed mechanism includes a cylindrical portion 32a having a thread formed on the inner surface thereof, a bushing 32 having a flange 32b provided on a tip end of the cylindrical portion 32a, and a feed screw 31 which is threadedly inserted into a back surface of the gauge pressing member 21. Each of the feed screws 31 threadedly inserted into the bushing 32 mounted on the holder body 10 is threadedly inserted to feed the gauge pressing member 21.

Nuclear Engineering Ltd. | Date: 2013-05-08

The strain gauge holder 1 includes a holder body 10 on a side surface of a pipe 3, a gauge pressing member 21 for pressing a strain gauge 2 against the side surface of the pipe, and a feed mechanism for giving a pressing force to the gauge pressing member. The guide grooves 12 guide the gauge pressing members. The feed mechanism feeds the gauge pressing member in the guide groove to press the strain gauge 2 against the side surface of the pipe 3. The feed mechanism includes cylindrical portion 32a, bushing 32, and feed screw 31. Each of the feed screws 31 threadedly inserted into the bushing mounted on the holder body is threadedly inserted to feed the gauge pressing member.

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