Saturday, September 1, 2018

A Generation IV Nuclear Reactor

Our current nuclear reactors are 50 years old and face retirement or expensive outlays to extend their lives. Moreover, they also have the capability of going critical, emitting radiation to the population and atmosphere if damaged or sabotaged. Since nuclear energy is the cleanest and represents about all electrical power produced, we have a cuirent problem..
There are many reactor concepts and these are classified as Generation IV nuclear reactors. However, all have serious problems,  delaying their construction. Estimation, at present, is that these reactors will not be on stream until the 2020s. Yet if these problems are resolved, there are many benefits. The reactors are light weight and meant to be transportable on flat beds to remote places such as bogs or other areas contaminated with organic waste  preventing public usage or usage for water or carbonaceous recovery or  as power plants to satisfy electrical requirments of small cities or factories.These reactors are cooled by liquid salts and can operate at temperatures ranging from 500 to 1000 C. Therein lies the problem because the molten salt is corrosive, especially when creating radioactive energy; and corrosion increases as the temperature increases.However. the higher the temperature the greater the efficiency, translating to lower cost, rendering the electreicity produced from the nuclear energy .competitive with traditional carbonaceous fuels.
One of the problems that require resolution before the reactors enter service is materials. Traditionally these have been steels. However as the temperature increases, accompanied with corrosion from radiation produxcts and temperature, newer more corrosion resistant steel are required.If operated at 1000C, the material selection becomes more difficult, because of the active molten salt and the radiation products created under the operating conditions.
One of the reactors considered was used to power submarines by the Soviet Union in the late 1990s. it was a reactor that used a lead-bismuth salt for cooling the nuclear fuel contained within the bed. This reactor has the advantage of operating at 500C, the low end of the reactor types competing to serve the market.  however the efficiency is not touted to be as good , rendering it more difficult to compete with traditional fuels.However, the material problem is more managable.because of the lower operating temperature. However corrosion still remains as the problem because of the activated corrosive salt serving as coolant. Therefore what is needed is something rto prevent the coolant from corroding the surface of the material of choice. There are many materials that can serve as coatings for corrosive protection.. These are generally sprayed onto the surface. Unfortunately at the surface an interface occurs because of the diffence between the coating deposited and the base alloy. This results because the alloys used for coating are brittle or may contain pores or debris that can result in crack formation rendering the coating to provide a path to the alloy.thereby not protecting it from corrosion. magnaTech has an idea which uses an activated atomic deposit on the surface to react with alloying elements within the steel to form stable intermetallic compounds that do not corrode and furthermore forming no interface that is brittle or defective but blends dirrectly to the traditional microstructure of the steel. If you have a severe corrosion occuring in your application, MagnaTech may have the solution improving performamce and ilowering cost and reducing contamination of the atmosphere.

Monday, July 9, 2018

A New Kind of Fuel

Today gasoline prices continue to increase.   There are threats to future supply, and the exhaust emitted is a danger to the environment. However, there are alternatives to the increasing price and diminishing reserves availabe. The problem is that the alternatives  are more expensive.
One alternative that may be becoming competitive is hydrogen.It is not harmful to the environment, but helpful, and replenishable since the exhaust enters the atmosphere as water. Problems exist that delay consideration of this resource. These include: educating the public that hydogen is not a bomb, any different fromgasoline, safe transprt from source to destination without danger to the community, and modifying the structures of gas stations.
However, these problems are being explored and changes appear to be possible at reasonable cost. If accomplished, then it may be possible to produce hydrogen abundantly, even in homes or as major refineries. Methods are available for safe transport through populated areas without major catastrophy resulting, and  modification can be made to gas stations for storage of supplies and transfer to vehicles as fuel.
One way to accomplish this is throught utilizing the energy of the sun and a water supply. Both of these components are available as solar production at homes and from farms that produce hydrogen en-mass for community usage. The problems  to be resolved are again  storage and safe transportation. Ideas are beginning to be developed to resolve these problems that are interesting to  the gas and petroleum manufacturers.
One of the problems is, if solar energy can be used to produce hydrogen from the sun's energy and available water supply, how do you store this hydrogen supply, either as a resource for home usage or within commercial storage for volume exploitation? One possibility is through use of a fuel cell, using the sun and water as the method and then have a cell for conversion of the water produced to hydrogen. It becomes a closed loop providing aditional advantage for the use of solar power.
The problem now becomes the separation of the hydrogen from the water being produced. This now is possible through inclusion of a fuel cell that accepts the heated water produced from the solar resource, using a photoelectrochemicalcell. In this case the heat produced is either condensed as water or can be energized to provide power. Eventually the water , being converted to steam, cools and can be used as pure water. However, not all the heat required to make electrical energy is expended and the water used can be further useful before storage for consumption to separare hydrogen and then either recycled or stored for consumption. To do this a photoelectrical cell is required for separation of the hydrogen from the water and return the oxygen ions produced back as water.
However, there are still problems in balancing the hydrogten produced and restoration of the oxygen ions from the cell.
 In this case a catylist is required . The trick is to develop the catalyst to permit hydrogen to pass through while restraining the oxygen ions produced from the separation to be restored to the water or exhausted to the atmosphere.
Currently there is research on a membrane attached to the anode of the fuel cell to return the oxygen ions back to the water.Current interest is in a series of alloys known as perovskyte to accomplish this task. The alloys are produced from fine metal oxide powders to produce the membrane. They work but the reasons are not completely understood because they are based on atomic arrangement of the atoms. Current membranes work, but the efficiencies are not sufficient for economic production. New instruments are currently being developed to permit understanding of  atomic arrangment of atoms and the position of the elements contained within the atomic cell, Currently the size and position of the anions are being explored. One therory is that if the anions were smaller they could improve the energy potential. There are two thoughts under consideration. One that we favor is to use either a fine alloy or oxide powder and use a redox balance to create a liquid. The liquid is then converted as the membrane  on the anode, providing either a fine or an amrpous atomic structure, thereby improving the energy efficiency. MagnaTech believes that a modificatiion of a process that we have promoted to make magnetic ink will provide the proper microstructure and atomic spacing.
Currently developments in cryogenics can make storage and transport possible. If the hydrogen produced can be stored and transported as a solid to a refinery or to gas stations,  this problem is solved and there will be no problem transporting hydrogen through urban areas for delivery to gas, oops, hydrogen stations.If so we would have clean competitive energy to serve as fuel for our transportation. MagnaTech is investigating  ways to provide the membrane to make conversion of solar energy possible. However, it is in the infant stage of development and in need of financing.





Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Comments On Todays Industry From A diiferent Era

Well, generally am optimistic, but recent events are starting to make me pesimistic.. Seems that programs begin with good thoughts in mind. Also small companies start with good thoughts in mind. Our eperience after 34 years in business is once we gain a good customer, we keep him. That is because we are always interested in the customer's problem,, not ours.
The same might be said when the government started SBIR. They had needs, and if you could solve their problem then, no matter how large or small, if you had an idea and they liked it, it was funded. Supposed to work that way now, however the small guy is now encourage to partner. Nothing wrong with that. Two heads always beat one.
One problem. In todays world it is becoming more and more about money, and greed now enters the picture. We innovate and do not wish to produce anything other than ideas and good research. Our sucess rate in solving problems has been excellent and people are happy with our services.
It is the commercialization part that becomes the problem, especially today when things become micro or macro in size.It used to be when you partnered you could take a person at their word. More recently you need to be very careful, because it appears that greed and lack of ethics has entered the picture.Instead of a co-operative effort to create products for new markets, once your idea becomes known somehow the producer finds a way to have a better idea and backs out. This has now happened to us on several occassions. For instance we recently had an idea for making or repairing a part quickly and cheaply at the site of the failure. Initially we found several manufacturers that were anxious to participate and then backed off.As far as we can see, the investment required to proceed was small to nil for the large markets that would open. Yet in the end, greed toke over and what apreared to be a good deal was aborted under the guise that more than the dollars allocated were inflated way out of proportion. In past years the joke was that the Brooklyn Bridge had been sold so many times  to the gullible. Well, today greed and relaxation of ethics is making the sale of the Brookly Bridge a reality once more.
We have also been encouraged to patent our ideas. We have done this and were awarded five patents within the last five years. We know there is infringement. Yet to defend the patents would be foolish and drive us into bankruptcy. Maybe it is not true "let the buyer beware" but more true to beware of the greed and decrease in ethics.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Back To Repair

We have now been educated to new technology such as advanced manufacturing ,robots and consulting the Internet for all things, like data storage. We have also now been educated to not repair things but to throw non-functioning things out the window and replace them quickly with a new gadget.
In the past, you had reason to repair equipment and quickly restore it to operating condition. However, that meant inventory, and that is a bad word today because inventory is expensive.However, with just in time concepts, now it becomes overnight delivery of a spare defective part, if all goes well. However, what do you do in the field, especially when something suddenly becomes damaged, especially things like off the road equipment that is becoming more important to increase payload and save money? Unfortunately JIT conditions become perilous.
So, what to do. In the past, and still, common people were trained to make repairs in the field. Howeve,r much of the damage results from degradation of the surface. Fatigue, corrosion, impact and wear are the principal reasons. Again, in the past, many processes such as welding hard facing, plating, plasma welding, etc. have modified the surface to at least minimize damage. These processes are now becoming questionable because they require too much time to repair; coatings are limited in depth, many are porous and most have a brittle interface leading to spalling.Therefore, faster, thicker deposits to protect the surface is required.
MagnaTech has developed a process that uses an activated gas to deposit a reactive concentrated surface. Through the process of diffusion. this concentrated deposit reacts with internal alloying elements alloyed to provide strength and toughness, required for the application, to react with these alloying elements at the surface to form hard, wear and corrosion stable intermetallic compounds at the surface that are thicker and corrosion and wear resistant without generation of a brittle interface.
MagnaTech is currently promoting a modification of the process to provide field coverage to provide fast deposition on site that has the same characteristics n the field as well as for initial protection. If interested call MagnaTech for further details and trials for your application.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Energy-Fossil Fuel Top Dog

Lets face it: we have relied on fossil fuel for energy almost since man discovered fire. However, there weren't as many people around and life expectancy was much shorter. Therefore fossil fuel was a comfort, no--a must for keeping warm and for cooking.
Today there are considerably more of us and not only that, we are living longer. Not only is heat involved, but now there is a constant demand for more and more energy for an increasing number of electronic products and gadgetry. In addition, our nuclear reactors, the cleanest energy source, are aging and the cost for extending life or replacement is high. Less costly reactors are not expected to reach the commercial stage until the 2020s. Solar and wind have their problems regarding location and energy storage. Hydrogen still has safety obstacles to overcome to become a commercial fuel. Therefore, not only because of cost, but additional problems regarding alternative energy sources, it is reality that fossil fuels will be our major energy resource, at least for the short term. The problem becomes one of the emissions. Released to the atmosphere from combustion of coke they cause major damage to the ozone layer. These contaminants to the atmosphere are largely nitrogen compounds identified as NOx and sulphur compounds identified as SOx. In addition, mercury and other heavy metals, health hazards to humans, are also emitted. The Environmental Protection Agency is therefore concerned and is in process of controlling the quantity exhausted to the atmosphere.
Traditional methods for reduction include: wet scrubbing with alkaline sorbent, spray dry scrubbing with similar sorbents, sulfuric acid, flue gas desulfurization and dry sorbent injection systems. These systems are well-known and capital costs well understood. More advanced untried processes include: selective catalytic reduction with methane, plasma decomposition and electrochemical decomposition.
MagnaTech believes that we can develop a process using fluid bed technology to catalyze and reduce these harmful contaminants from combustion exhaust gas to nitrogen. The process receives the combustion exhaust gas at 5000C in an activated fluid bed. The exhaust gas will pass through the activated bed, and a partial pressure of a reducing hydrocarbon gas will be intermixed to reduce NOx to nitrogen and SOx and other contaminants to the fluid bath. MagnaTech is currently seeking support to determine the reliability and the cost required to successfully introduce the process to industrial application. We have assembled a team consisting of Mr. Moyer, chemical catalytic experts, and a fluid bed manufacturer that is key to introducing the process to the commercial market place. The group is open to discussion regarding the technology.
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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Flexible Hybrid Electronics

Within the next ten years a $70 billion market will develop for hybrid flexible electronic devices and antennas.Currently this market is in infancy because expensive silver serves as the conductive ink and the methods for application are too expensive.
The question then becomes, why not copper? After all, look around you and every electronic device uses copper for efficient flow of electricity for efficient operation.The problem is when you deposit a conductive ink with features of less than 50 micro inches, the conductivity is too low for efficient operation. So far, from what we see the problem is unresolved and if it can be, then this market will blossom.If an improved conductive copper ink could become available,  applications for sensors biosensors, touch screens, antennas, printed heaters, potentiometers and printed circuit boards, solar panels and electroluminescent panels become viable.
The probem is how do you improve the conductivity of copper in such a fine feature when the surface is maximized? MagnaTech thinks outside the box and has conceived an idea that could economically improve the conductivity of copper in thin deposits  to replace expensive silver and processing required for application. However, MagnaTech is a materials research company and  not an expert in ink formulation and application. Therefore, MagnaTech intends to team with a company that does manufacture conductive inks, and with an additional consultant who has been there and made many of the mistakes that have prevented application. The team has prepared a proposal describing how we expect to resolve the problem to permit advancement to the pilot stage of development. We believe that the concept that we propose will improve the conductivity at low cost could be available in six to nine months. So far the largest eleven strongest participants have not succeeded. MagnaTech and partners, look forward to participating  to develop this conductive ink that would significantly expand the usage for these advanced flexible devices.