Implantable micro-devices may one day help regenerate nerves in humans, but for now they are limited by several factors. One limitation is the processing methods used for making the micro-devices, which sometimes require etching patterns into the biodegradable materials. Shoachen Chen is helping medical equipment designers develop micro-devices by improving the processing of biodegradable materials. The Iowa State University professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering uses lasers for producing micro-features on polymer surfaces. He is carving out answers to questions about how lasers remove materials from polymers. His work, funded by the National Science Foundation, is important to understanding how designers integrate materials into biodegradable micro-devices. For more information, contact Chen at (515) 294-2298.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
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