Project Description

Materials and Compositions Technology Overview 

The discovery and development of materials with useful properties such as conductivity, nonlinear optics, chirality, sensing, thermal stability, and mechanical resistance are essential for technological progress in our society. The challenge today is to envision and devise materials, which abandon the cradle to grave design and instead be considered of resources running out and a more and more polluted environment. Ecological design challenges to find new, revolutionary solutions like biodegradable plastics and make materials that can be perpetually circulated in closed loops.

Composite materials are formed by combining two or more materials with different properties, without dissolving or blending them into each other.  Composites will never totally replace traditional materials like steel, but in many cases they are just what we need. And no doubt new uses will be found as the technology evolves.

sources: science.org, reciprocalnet.org

Method for Improved Electrical Conductivity of Graphene Nanoplatelet Composites

INVENTOR • Arijit Bose, Indrani Chakraborty

ABSTRACT

This technology produces a massive increase in the electrical conductivity of a multilayer graphene (MLG)/polystyrene composite following the addition of nonconducting silica nanoparticles. The nonconducting filler acts as a highly effective dispersion aid, preventing the sheetlike MLG from restacking or agglomerating during the solvent casting process used to fabricate the composite. The enhanced dispersion of the MLG leads to orders of magnitude enhancement in electrical conductivity compared to samples without this filler.

APPLICATION

The target is MLG/polymer composites applications which need electrical conductivity properties in the insulating polymer. These include bulk applications such as antistatic mats and fuel lines, to specialty applications such as electromagnetic radiation interference (EMI) shields,
sensors, and electrodes for batteries. Although single-layer graphene remains expensive and best suited for high-value applications in electronic devices, optoelectronics, and supercapacitors, this much lower cost MLG is a more promising material for applications that seek to impart electrical conductivity to polymers.

FEATURES & BENEFITS

The electrical conductivity of MLG-silica-polystyrene composites increases by several orders of magnitude as the loading of the nonconductive silica is increased.
Inexpensive second filler makes this method cost-effective.
There is a range of materials, morphologies, and sizes of fillers that can be exploited to impart desirable properties to a composite.
The filler acts as spacers and prevents agglomeration of MLG during processing.
Electrical and mechanical properties are decoupled. In principle, any nonconducting filler can trigger conductivity in an otherwise nonconducting polymer composite. This opens up new possibilities for adding a second filler that enhances the mechanical properties of the composite while simultaneously enhancing the electrical conductivity.
PATENT STATUS
US #8,611,260
AVAILABILITY
Technology is available for licensing.

Methods of Facilitating the Bioconversion of Crude Biodiesel-Derived Glycerol by Microorganisms

INVENTORS • Geoffrey Bothun, Keerthi Venkataramanan

ABSTRACT

The present disclosure generally pertains to a method of facilitating the bioconversion of glycerol by microorganisms. In one embodiment, biodiesel derived crude glycerol is purified by removing fatty acids through acid precipitation. The fatty acid-free crude glycerol is then utilized as a carbon source for the culture of microorganisms and the production of value-added substances. Additionally, the unsaturated fatty acids within the biodiesel-derived crude glycerol are converted to saturated fatty acids, allowing for fermentation behavior similar to that of pure glycerol. Both the cultured microorganisms and the culture media containing the purified crude glycerol may be analyzed for crude glycerol bioconversion products. The disclosure also relates to a method of increasing product yield through the addition of a second carbon source to the microorganism culture media.

APPLICATION

This invention is directed to a modified freeze fracture imaging of a viscous surfactant mesophase.

FEATURES AND BENEFITS

A modified freeze fracture direct imaging method wherein an environmental chamber having a controlled temperature and solvent partial pressure is used to control the environment in which the sample is being tested. A caliper/forceps is used to bring the copper planchettes together but at a controlled speed to minimize shearing. A liquid nitrogen cooled knife is used to fracture the sample between the copper planchettes and the grid.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Patent Number Issue Date Type Country of Filing
US20150037832 None Divisional United States

Novel Process for Electroless Plating of Gold on a Surface

INVENTOR • Jason Dwyer

ABSTRACT

A method is disclosed for electroless plating of thin metal film directly onto a substrate. The method includes the steps of: cleaning the substrate to remove organic material; etching a surface of the substrate to remove an oxygen-containing surface layer; soaking and rinsing the substrate in a plurality of baths following etching; and electroless plating the metal onto the substrate.

APPLICATION

The ability to create conformally gold-coated nanoporous filters with SERS sensing capability

FEATURES AND BENEFITS

Thin-walled nanofluidic sample cells – for rapid, high sensitivity and resolution screening by a host of complementary techniques, including in-liquid transmission electron microscopy.

Size- and surface-chemistry tuned ~1-1000nm-diameter pores in ~10-1000nm-thick films.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Patent Number Issue Date Type Country of Filing
US20170130338 None Provisional United States

Particle Templated Flexible Composites with Tunable Properties

INVENTORS • Nicholas Heeder and Arun Shukla

ABSTRACT

A flexible conductive composite that has been co-optimized for both electrical and mechanical properties has been created.

APPLICATION

Application areas include electronics, energy storage, thermal management, shielding, smart coatings and sensors. Can be easily created using already existing industrial processes without a large outlay of new equipment or expense.

FEATURES & BENEFITS

Simple process. Cost effective. Amendable to many polymers and filler materials. Enhances polymer functionality (i.e. thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity). Commercially viable. Highly tunable for a specific app

PATENT STATUS

Applied

AVAILABILITY

Technology is available for licensing

Highly Ordered TiO2 and Pt/TiO2 Nanocomposites for Advanced Catalytic Applications

INVENTORS • Arijit Bose, Ganapahiraman Ramanth

ABSTRACT

The present teachings are directed toward hexagonally patterned porous titania synthesized from a titanium isopropoxide precursor using a viscous template of surface-active agents separating nanoscopic bicontinuous channels of water and isooctane. Subsequent catalyst metal salt reduction in the aqueous nanochannels deposits well-separated catalyst metal nanoparticles on the pore surfaces.

APPLICATION

This catalyst composite can be used in a catalytic converter system.

FEATURES AND BENEFITS

These nanocomposites exhibit significantly higher carbon monoxide oxidation efficiency than that obtained with known supports with higher specific surface area; efficiency is believed to be due to decreased mass transfer resistance provided the presently disclosed support material.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Patent Number Issue Date Type Country of Filing
8,003,567 None Provisional United States

Fixed Angle Rotary Shear: A New Method for Tailoring Composite Materials

INVENTORS • Nicholas Heeder and Arun Shukla

ABSTRACT

The Fixed-Angle Rotary Shear Technique is a simple, inexpensive method that can be used to distribute conductive filler materials into specially constructed architectures throughout polymers on either the micro/macro scale without the use of organic solvents.

APPLICATION

Application areas include electronics, energy storage, thermal management, shielding, smart coatings and sensors. Can be easily incorporated into already existing industrial processes without a large outlay of new equipment or expense.

FEATURES & BENEFITS

Efficiently distributes conductive particles throughout plastic materials. Flexible platform that can be easily adapted to many different polymer and filler materials. Enhances polymer functionality (i.e. thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity). Avoids dispersion of sheet-like conducting isotropically within the polymer, and can be scaled up easily. Composite materials can be intelligently optimized for a given application.
PATENT STATUS
Non-provisional
AVAILABILITY
Technology is available for licensing.

A Method for Obtaining Highly Conductive Graphene-Based Composites

INVENTORS • Nicholas Heeder, Fei Guo, Arun Shukla, Robert Hurt, Arijit Bose

ABSTRACT

This Electrostatic Dispersion technique is a simple, inexpensive method that can be used to disperse conductive particles (i.e. Graphene, Carbon Nanotubes, Graphite, Carbon black particles, Mineral flakes, etc.) in a highly organized manner within non-conducting polymer materials.

APPLICATION

Application areas include sensing devices, coloring mechanisms, and barrier mechanisms. The sensor mechanism can measure and monitor material strain and damage that may occur within the material. Applicable to mass production of thermoplastics with enhancement of polymer functionality such as thermo/electro conductivity, color, and barrier properties.

FEATURES & BENEFITS

Distributes conductive particles throughout various plastic materials, with significant increase in conductivity with very small amount of graphene or other conductive material. Forms very highly organized conductive network throughout material. Low cost. The sensitivity and conductivity of the polymer composite can be controlled simply by changing the size of the polymer particles and the amount of filler material used. Avoids dispersion of sheet-like conducting fillers isotropically within the polymer, and can be scaled up easily.
PATENT STATUS
Applied
AVAILABILITY
Technology is available for licensing
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