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3 Posts tagged with the virtual-chemistry tag
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Sustainability: Part 2

Posted by mdoyle May 12, 2010

Ah the joy of long haul flights; as in trying to remain hydrated and getting rest. I digress and wonder if someone will develop a skin cream someday to do just that!!

 

Anyway, very interestingly I notice how the lights over my seat are low power usage light emitting diodes, and that I can see where we are on a large in-seat liquid crystal display with advanced in-seat wiring functions, also I see advanced materials chemistry all over my conveyance in the sky. The fabric in the seat I am sitting on has a long life, hence, is low carbon footprint product.  The flame retardants used in it, and many of the composites and cables panels, to name a few, are designed to maximize performance and minimize aircraft down time, and therefore are sustainable since they contribute to product longevity, and have end of life or reuse plans factored and designed into them.

 

I am sure you are thinking that flying consumes a lot of fossil fuel and so is the antithesis of my theme here: well perhaps in the future not so! Firstly people really do want to travel, so demand is an inevitable fact, as in the kind lady next to me going to see her new grandchild. Therefore it is beholden on us technicians to enable this in the most efficient and sustainable way. Boeing, with the Dreamliner which shows upwards of 18% fuel efficiency improvement per passenger mile, and the recent FAA-Continental 757 successful test flight on BioAvgas (they used only one turbine on the bio fuel) show the way to satisfying the inevitable human need, as well as improving the system efficiency and contributing to sustainable technology development.

 

Now, if we follow this technology pathway into the materials that constitute our system, we see that advanced chemistry and understanding of chemistry or interactions of additives, polymers, fibers, pigments, oxides is the core or fundamental design space we can work with. Think of this dream or goal, if we could engineer materials at the atom or nano-scale, just like the IBM researchers did when writing their corporate logo on a surface with argon atoms, we could design materials that represent the optimum efficiency of form, function and usage in the most efficient and maximum life span way.  How do we get from assembling a few atoms to building sustainable planes and products?  Well, through demand and pressure, yes, but also through the understanding of leading edge materials science technology and engineering. Virtual chemistry or simulation at the quantum, atomistic and meso scale is essential in this regard as it allows us in a sustainable way, in virtuo where we don't waste material, to design develop and someday to test materials. The scientists at Yokohama recently started development on a new car tire that was "more green;” and in order to maintain their processes they looked for compatible non petroleum based oil materials. What they found was by-product orange oil from the food industry. This, with suitable compatibilizers, allowed them to produce a high performance product and yet manage all the competing factors of cost, process, ply and fiber/side wall interactions, there are over a dozen individual parts in a car tire, and yes, the tire companies are significant users of virtual polymer technology.

 

Also consider this - if we look at the food tray and packaging I was just brought, how the demand on plastics has been reduced over the last 5 years and how the design of attractive and functional products, support the reduce, re-use, recycle initiatives. So I think I will go refill my 30% thinner plastic water bottle from the galley and enjoy my meal and continue to wonder on where we will travel onward to next as an inquisitive technology motivated species.

 

"Sustainability: Part 2" is one posting within a "Sustainability" series by Michael Doyle.  To view all posts in this series, please click here.

342 Views 0 References Permalink Categories: Materials Informatics, Trend Watch Tags: virtual-chemistry, biofuel, polymers, sustainability, carbon-footprint, fossil-fuel, virtual-polymer-technology
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Just back from the ACS meeting in Washington, and I was reading the Presidential Awards nominees and winners document from the EPA.  What struck me in the list of excellent and erudite projects was the degree of chemical innovation that companies from Dow to P&G, BASF and Eli Lilly were pursuing and achieving.

What was interesting to me was that in these tough economic times, it can be hard sometimes to justify and develop innovative chemical solutions, rather than just tweaking the process parameters knob again.  These companies had all done that.

Also, as someone who has worked in the materials simulation area for 20 years, and whose role can be summed up in the word ideation, I was stunned by the scope and creativity of these solutions. What particularly interested me was that many of these companies use virtual chemistry as part of their innovation process, since the relative comparison, mechanistic understanding and what if questions can only be accurately and systematically probed using this approach.

The fact that:

         
  • improvements in scale inhibitors for power stations leading to lower energy usage,

  •      
  • benign corrosion inhibitors,

  •      
  • improved fuel cell Polymer membranes for more efficient energy storage, and

  •      
  • improved chemical synthesis and coating materials

have all been studied and innovations achieved using modeling approaches shows the direction which we could take to innovate our way out of energy dependency issues.

I look forward to seeing the 2010 nominees and hope that chemical simulation and informatics linked projects are key in that innovation path.
420 Views 1 References Permalink Categories: Executive Insights, Modeling & Simulation Tags: alternative-energy, virtual-chemistry, innovation, energy-dependency, ideation
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Just back from the ACS meeting in Washington, I was reading the Presidential Awards nominees and winners document from the EPA. What struck me in the list of excellent and erudite projects was the degree of chemical innovation that companies from Dow to P&G, BASF and Eli Lilly were pursuing and achieving. What was interesting to me was that in these tough economic times, it can be hard sometimes to justify and develop innovative chemical solutions, rather than just tweaking the process parameters knob again, these companies had all done that.

 

Also as someone who has worked in the materials simulation area for 20 years, and whose role can be summed up in the word ideation, I was stunned by the scope and creativity of these solutions. What particularly interested me was that many of these companies use virtual chemistry as part of their innovation process, since the relative comparison, mechanistic understanding and "what if" questions can only be accurately and systematically probed using this approach. The fact that improvements in scale inhibitors for power stations leading to lower energy usage, benign corrosion inhibitors, improved fuel cell polymer membranes for more efficient energy storage and improved chemical synthesis and coating materials have all been studied with innovations achieved using modeling approaches, shows the direction which we could take to innovate our way out of energy dependency issues.

 

I look forward to seeing the 2010 nominees and hope that chemical simulation and informatics linked projects are key in that innovation path.

342 Views 0 References Permalink Categories: Trend Watch, Materials Informatics, Modeling & Simulation Tags: green-chemistry, virtual-chemistry