Engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are designing a personal cooling system for the Navy that circulates chilled air through the flight suits and helmets of fighter pilots. Unlike other approaches that circulate chilled water, the new system augments the body's natural cooling system. "Instead of simply cooling the skin through a fabric, our approach removes heat from the body surface and provides cool air to breathe," says James Klett. He points out that the lungs have large surface areas for dissipating heat and blood serves as an effective heat transfer medium. The enabling technology for the cooling system uses the high thermal conductivity of a new graphite foam developed by Klett and his team. "Thermal conductivity is basically how fast heat is transferred through a material," says Klett. The foam is as thermally conductive as aluminum. However, the thermal conductivity-to-weight ratio is five times better than aluminum. "So if you put an ice cube on a block of graphite foam and another on a block of aluminum, you would feel the ice 5 times faster," says Klett. The foam reduces heat losses and improves efficiencies. Potential applications include suits worn by firefighters, racecar drivers, hazardous materials workers, and ground troops. For more information contact, contact Bill Corwin at (865) 574-1000 or visit www.ornl.gov.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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.