Speaking of ceramics, Coen van Gulijk, a former PhD student in the Reactor and Catalysis Engineering Department at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, has developed a soot filter for diesel engines that consists of a series of perforated ceramic foams. The surface of the ceramic is impregnated with a catalyst that enables a controlled oxidation or burning of soot into CO2, says van Gulijk. Ash particles from impurities in the diesel, which enter the filter with the soot, remain in the pores of the ceramic foam plates. Because it can absorb a large quantity of ash before it risks becoming blocked, van Gulijk says that the ceramic foam will last a long time. Although existing filter systems are easily blocked by heavy diesel oil (a heavy fuel that contains many ash-producing minerals and metals), van Gulijk's filter is highly suitable for such oil. An advantage of this filter, according to the developer, is that because it is built from separate filter plates instead of a single block, it is almost indestructible. Even if all of the plates were to break, the filter function remains intact. A built-in open canal prevents the filter from becoming blocked. However, a disadvantage of the design is that it requires a lot of space. This means it is not suitable for cars but it can be used for ships, which often use heavy diesel oil, and fixed motors or trains. Currently, the technology is not commercially available, as van Gulijk is trying to find partners for pilot-scale testing. For more information, contact Coen van Gulijk at phone 31-15-284-3283, fax 31-15-284-3963, or e-mail email@example.com.
More often than not, with the purchase of a sports car comes the sacrifice of any sort of utility. In other words, you can forget about a large trunk, extra seats for the kids, and more importantly driving in snowy (or inclement) weather. But what if there was a vehicle that offered the best of both worlds; great handling and practicality?
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.
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