A New Way to Discover a Reaction that Causes Cracks in Concrete
One phenomenon that shortens the life of concrete buildings and structures is the alkali-silica reaction (ASR). It is the reaction between alkali ions found in cement and silica, the two main components of concrete, which creates a gel that absorbs water and expands, causing internal pressures to build up within the concrete. To help identify the extent of ASR, researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a harmless way to detect it that could reduce the level of expensive testing being done. Their new method relies on electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), which measures electrical conductivity.
Can AI help create less carbon-intensive concrete?
Cement is a popular binding and fortifying agent with a high production cost (and we’re not talking about $$): For every ton of cement produced, at least one ton of CO2 is released into the atmosphere—adding up to at least 8% of annual global emissions. The researchers trained a generative AI model on environmental impact data and a small public dataset. Using semi-supervised learning, the model sought out concrete formulas that checked all of the researchers’ boxes: 1) lower carbon footprint, 2) significant compressive strength, and 3) similar durability and other qualities.
What’s the next big milestone in factory automation?
One of the next major milestones for automation will be creating value for the business from the data that is utilized from these processes, equipment/devices and networks that make it all possible. Data will provide value differently to varying stakeholders within an organization, but the challenge will be the success realized from the ability to extract data from the environment and processes and then normalize, transform and visualize it — all while informing other processes within the operations leveraging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The Relevance of Cost Per Part to Scale the Additive Manufacturing Industry
Today, the cost of 3D printing parts is still too high to be truly viable for many applications. To give an idea, the price of 3D printing is still between 10 to 100 times more expensive than injection moulding. It is therefore vital that all process efficiency losses associated with industrial 3D printing be minimized. In doing so, costs will not increase exponentially with expanding production, which will pave the way for AM factories to scale their operations while maintaining competitive price levels. A lower cost per part will also create pathways for new businesses and industries to invest in and adopt AM.
One Michigan county makes millions by recycling. It could become a state model.
Today, Emmet County’s high-tech recycling program has grown into a million-dollar revenue source for the community of 33,000-some residents, selling thousands of tons of recyclables to companies across Michigan and the Great Lakes region to be made into new products. They even found a way to recycle plastic shopping bags.
Inside the facility in Harbor Springs, a robotic arm quickly sweeps across a moving conveyer belt and plucks high-grade plastics, glass, and aluminum, dropping them into sorted bins. The stream of mixed containers flows around and around until the robot pulls out all the recyclable items at a rate of 90 picks per minute; another line of materials in a separate room is where workers pluck papers, boxes, and bags by hand from a moving conveyor belt.
Chipping In For Equipment Suppliers: The Equipment Multiplier Effect On The Chip Shortage
Extended lead times for equipment are holding back marginal fab expansions where space is readily available to add capacity and could significantly hamper expansion efforts for a wide range of device makers and their supply chain – from materials and process equipment suppliers through packaging and test providers. According to the SEMI World Fab Forecast, 86 new fabs or major fab expansions are expected to come online between 2020 and 2024 (see figure 1), representing 20% growth in total 200mm fab capacity and 44% growth for 300mm capacity over this period. Longer delivery times for equipment mean a slower ramp-up of planned chip production capacity, potentially prolonging the shortage.