Deborah Chung, Ph.D., professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY), discovered semiconducting behavior from an unusual source: a carbon composite. Her work endows structural materials with electronic capabilities without computer chips or electrical leads. Chung says, "We can use the structural material itself as the electronics." Made from carbon fibers embedded in a polymer matrix, the material would be easier and less expensive to fabricate than traditional silicon-based electronics, says Chung. According to the researcher, the process spreads electronic capabilities over a large surface area, therefore heat dissipation--now one of the biggest technological challenges facing electronic packaging--would no longer be a problem. Chung's work was presented at the International Symposium on Smart Structures and Materials in San Diego on March 4. Call (716) 645-3811.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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