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Wearable and biocompatible circuits in development

Researchers within China’s National Centre for Nanoscience and Technology have developed a flexible, biocompatible material which holds stretchable circuits, enabling the potential for wearable and biocompatible electronics.  Made using screen printing and microfluidic patterning, the  non-toxic, metal-polymer conductor is made with gallium and indium within a silicon-based polymer substrate, holding a liquid metal to allow a flow of electricity. The pliable nature of the material suggests that the electric circuits can not only be worn, but also may also be implanted into the body to help treat disease or stimulate DNA in membranes of living cells.  “These are the first flexible electronics that are at once highly conductive and stretchable, fully biocompatible, a

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15 million degrees celsius reached by Tokamak Energy

For the first time in history, a temperature reaching 15 million degrees Celsius has been reached - hotter than the Sun’s core - during privately funded UK research, Tokamak Energy.  Through merging compression, the ST40 device was able to release plasma rings, involving high electric currents within internal coils, causing magnetic reconnection, in turn creating heat. This process is said to place high demands on the system and therefore uses complex electrical engineering process.  Despite all this, however, the 15 million degrees celsius mark is still quite far from the ultimate goal, which currently stands at 100million degrees in order to achieve thermonuclear fusion on Earth.  “We are taking significant steps towards achieving fusion energy, doing so with

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Ultra-strong bio-material to create lightweight structures

A team led by Daniel Söderberg from the KTH Royal Institute of Techonology based in Stockholm, has shared news of work taking place on artificial cellulose fibres said to be stronger than steel and spider silk. Considered to be the strongest bio-based material, it is bio-degradable due to being made up of CNF (cellulose nanofibres): CNF create the structure for wood and other plant life organisms. After research, the team have found a production method which can convert these nanofibres into macroscopic, lightweight materials that can be used in a variety of ways. Not only can the nanofibres be used as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic, it can also be used in the production of aeroplanes, furniture and could potentially be used in the medical field.  “Our new material ev

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Nasa’s 2020 mission will launch the Mars Helicopter

Since 2013, a Mars Helicopter, said to be attached to the belly of the Mars 2020 Rover, has been in development at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The helicopter will be deployed as soon as the rover reaches the ground, with twin counter-rotating blades, spinning near 3,000 rpm. This is a huge difference to the rate Earth helicopters, where blades only spin at 300rpm. “The altitude record for a helicopter flying here on Earth is about 40,000 feet,” said Mimi Aung, Mars Helicopter project manager at JPL. “The atmosphere of Mars is only one percent that of Earth, so when our helicopter is on the Martian surface, it’s already at the Earth equivalent of 100,000 feet up. “To make it fly at that low atmospheric density, we had to scrutinise everything, make it as light as pos

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3D printed dentures to prevent fungal infections

The University at Buffalo has researched and found a way to build and print dentures using microscopic capsules through 3D printing. These capsules are said to release Amphotericin B periodically, which is an anti-fungal medication used to prevent denture-related stomatitis. This process can potentially save time and money as the technology can allow dentists to quickly build and make customisable dentures for their patients, instead of having to wait weeks to alter the current conventional manufacturing system. Other areas within the medical field may also benefit from this quicker and money-saving process by researching ways to use 3D printing for casts, prosthesis, splints and stents. You can read more here on The Engineer. Photo Credit: The Engineer

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Reaction Engines invested in by Boeing HorizonX Ventures and Rolls-Royce

After developing hybrid engine blending jet and rocket technology, Reaction Engines have now secured backing from Rolls-Royce and Boeing HorizonX Ventures, raising them £26.5m in the process. The two will join the BAE systems which invested in Reaction Engines for £20.6m back in 2015. As well as investing further, Reaction Engines will also be invested by Baillie Gifford Asset Management and Woodford Investment and will also be anticipating further investments from other financial institutions. This funding will be used to develop Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (also known as SABRE). SABRE is said to be capable of Mach 5 in air-breathing mode and Mach 25 for space flight in rocket mode. Through SABRE, an ultra-lightweight heat exchanger has been developed which has been des

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The Development of a Rapid Virtual Testing Technique

Recently, an alternative to physical testing has been investigated in the past few years to use a virtual qualification process. This particular process will include 3D X-Ray imaging to produce micro-accurate digital replicas of components. These will include and highlight any flaws through manually processing and virtually assessing each component to determine how will it performs. Despite the research into what could be an extremely beneficial tool, Virtual Testing is incredibly time-consuming due to manually adding each component, before the testing can even take place. This segment of the process could take many weeks to finish. New software tools have been researched by The Swansea-led project, which includes the UK Atomic Energy Authority, Nikon Metrology, Synopsys, Diamond Lig

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New 3D Bioprinting Technique: In-Air Microfludics

The American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, also known as AAAS, recently released in a paper that their in-air microfluidics technique can enable the rapid production of micro building blocks. Microfluidic Chips, which hold small fluidic channels and used to manipulate drops of fluid, is said to help repair damaged tissue, however the chips alone cannot mass produce enough for clinical use. However, the AAAS have created a 3D bioprinting technique which could facilitate this idea and can offer a solution whereby the fluids are passed through the air as opposed to microchannels found in Microfluidic chips, hence producing a quicker technique. Using two jets of droplets, this technique shoots the microfluid up to 1000 times than the standard microchip technique. As a r

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The Development of the Vehicle-to-Grid system

We all know that electric cars reduce emissions of greenhouse cases when on the road, however did you know that they will also be able to supply energy which has been stored in the battery back to the grid when parked up? The vehicle-to-grid technology, also referred to as V2G, can aid the stability of electric networks and renewable energy sources by recharging when the demand is low but also returning any stored energy when the demand is high. Creating a cycle of renewable energy, this system is thought to support an increase use of the renewable energy resources. 21 new projects, sharing a £30m competition fund, are now underway in the UKs latest push to develop the technology further within vehicle-to-grid charging. The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Department for

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PRESS RELEASE: Precision engineering at it’s best in Somerset & Devon

Across the rolling green hills of the Somerset Mendips and the beautiful region of Devon, lies a wave of high technology in the world of precision Engineering. Chard and Exeter based precision engineering company, UK Precision, has just purchased two of the most highly sought after and premier pieces of ‘kit’ to take precision engineering in the UK to new heights. “We have purchased two new Doosan DNM 650 Vertical Machining Centres, one of which has a ‘Kitagawa MR250R 4th axis Rotary Table’ says Andrew Warren, director of UK Precision.  “Both are identical apart from that. They have a table of 1300mm x 670mm, 12000 rpm spindle speed, through spindle high pressure coolant and a 30 tool magazine tool changer with ‘chip to chip’ time of 3.7 seconds.” He further explains.

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