The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has invented two new methods of measurement that could lead to better designs for cooling systems. Agency engineers devised a way of using fluorescent light to help choose the best lubricant for keeping a compressor running smoothly. Research indicates that certain lubricants that partially mix with the refrigerants and have high viscosity can improve the performance of the refrigerants as much as 18%. NIST researchers also developed a calorimeter that measures heat conducted through a new class of insulation panels and around their edges. The device recently measured new vacuum insulation panels that use a novel fill material developed by Dow Chemical Co. The calorimeter found that the panels have an R-value about six times higher than traditional glass-fiber insulation. A panel 2.5-cm thick had about the same R-value as 15 cm of glass-fiber. Get details from Piotr A. Domanski of NIST at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.