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CAMP December Newsletter: Page 7

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CAMP Professor Lifeng Wang’s Research Focuses on Mechanical Metamaterials

Professor Lifeng Wang (of Clarkson University’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering) is working with mechanical metamaterials. These materials have been shown to possess extraordinary properties. Therefore, they have been of great interest to mathematicians, physical scientists, material scientists, and biologists. A large part of the study of materials science is to obtain new structure-property-function relationships needed for achieving optimized mechanical properties. Professor Wang’s research demonstrates the potential to design and fabricate periodically ordered structures. One of his recent projects is titled "Damage Tolerant 3-D Periodic Interpenetrating Phase Composites with Enhanced Mechanical Performance - Design, Fabrication, Analysis and Testing.” It is funded by the NSF CMMI Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation.

Professor Wang is currently studying high-performance carbon/polymer periodic, interpenetrating phase composites (IPCs) with enhanced mechanical properties. These properties include stiffness, strength, impact resistance, toughness, energy dissipation, and damage tolerance. He is carrying out this work through an integrated approach that combines design, fabrication, analysis, and experiments.

Geometries based on triply periodic minimal surfaces and 3-D microtrusses are being used to optimally design microstructures of the proposed IPCs. See Figure 8. Also 3-D direct-write printing technologies are being employed to fabricate them. Analytical and computational micromechanics models will be developed to simulate the IPCs, and various tests will be conducted to characterize the fabricated IPCs and to validate the proposed models. It is anticipated that the results of Professor Wang’s research will provide guidelines for the engineering and tailoring of IPCs to achieve optimized properties.

lithography  

FIGURE 8:  3-D microtruss materials generated by stereo lithography.

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 Waste - to - Oil: CAMP Going Green

Ethanol is now an additive to gasoline used by automobiles. The unfortunate downside of such use is that the source of the liquid is most often corn which has a risen price and imposes hardship on household food budgets. Research in CAMP Professor Richard Partch's lab is on track to prove the merit of a competitive fuel source technology. It is to recycle the vast organic waste currently deposited in landfill directly into fuel oil. The successful process using a batch reactor so far involves heating for only a few minutes solid waste, such as the output from every industrial or municipal waste water treatment facility, under pressure with either carbon monoxide or a formate salt added. Typically No. 6 fuel oil composed of saturated hydrocarbons is formed, which cracks using refinery conditions to lighter gasoline components. See Figure 7.

Partch

FIGURE 7: This diagram shows that 300 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil are produced in an 8 hour period using 5000 pounds of sewage (in the reactor).

The well-known water-gas reaction drives the conversion of waste to oil when carbon monoxide and water are used with the solid waste. The by-product is carbon dioxide. Recent literature indicates that nanostructured metals catalyze the water-gas reaction but such catalysis has not been tested when waste material is included. The Partch group effort is focused on preparing a high surface area dendritic gold catalyst and evaluating its efficiency in catalyzing oil production faster and using a lower temperature. Simultaneously, an organometallic catalyst has been reported that captures CO2 and converts it into industrially useful oxalic acid. This will be used to eliminate release of the greenhouse gas by-product generated during oil production. Construction of a continuous reactor has been started and Partch is soliciting funding for using it from a private source, NY State Grants for Growth, NY State Pollution Prevention Institute (RIT) and a northern NY municipality.