Sandia National Laboratories (www.sandia.gov) has designed a microdevice that can easily collect and release proteins in aqueous solution in less than one second. The device is a series of gold-coated lines, each line apart by a thickness of one-third of a human hair. It separates proteins from the solution and from each other by electrically heating the metal lines which warms a 4 nm-thick polymer film. The film then changes from a hydrophilic to a hydrophobic state, which enables the film to absorb proteins passing over it. The proteins now separated from the water molecules, are released in a natural cleansing action in the hydrophilic state.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.