Frequently when mechatronics experts talk about their field, they refer to the intersection of electronic and mechanical disciplines. Sometimes fluid dynamics and hydraulics will flow into the conversation. Less frequently, they’ll discuss how chemical engineering is one of mechatronics’ contributing disciplines.
But now a Clemson University researcher has built a device that buttresses the argument that chemical engineering plays a role as well. Physics professor Apparao Rao announced this week that he is working on nano-scale electromechanical sensors that have the potential to discern the presence of and provide alerts for toxic chemicals and gases. Built at the nanometer scale, Rao said, means that we might eventually see small devices that provide real-time chemical alerts in battle, industry, health care, or in the home. “The ability to build extremely small devices to do this work has been something we’ve only seen so far in science-fiction movies,” Rao said in a statement issued by Clemson. According to Rao, his research team has improved the capability of oscillating nano-scale cantilevers that vibrate “much like a guitar string and measure amplitude and frequency under different conditions,” the statement continued. It replaces current optical methods that require bulky and expensive laser beams.
“Our method is fully electrical and uses a small AC voltage to vibrate the cantilever and simple electronics to detect any changes in the vibration caused by gaseous chemical or biological agents,” Rao said, noting that resulting handheld devices could beep or flash when they detect changes to gas or chemical levels. The sensors are so sensitive, Rao added, that they can differentiate between hydrogen and deuterium gas, which are similar isotopes of the same element.
Lantronix Inc. has expanded its line of controllers for sensor networks with the release of a rugged controller that improves management of automation systems used in a number of industries, including manufacturing, oil and gas, and chemicals.
Inspired by the hooks a parasitic worm uses to penetrate its host's intestines, the Karp Lab has invented a flexible adhesive patch covered with microneedles that adheres well to wet, soft tissues, but doesn't cause damage when removed.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is