Sunday, June 3, 2007

23. Protectants

(paint, plastic, electroplate, glass, bulletproof glass, etc.)


Mark said...

What about solar paint?

Spray-On nano solar cells

Breakthrough - Spray-On
Nanotech Solar Power Cells
By Stefan Lovgren
National Geographic News

Scientists have invented a plastic solar cell that can turn the sun's power into electrical energy, even on a cloudy day.

The plastic material uses nanotechnology and contains the first solar cells able to harness the sun's invisible, infrared rays.

The breakthrough has led theorists to predict that plastic solar cells could one day become five times more efficient than current solar cell technology.

Like paint, the composite can be sprayed onto other materials and used as portable electricity.

A sweater coated in the material could power a cell phone or other wireless devices.

A hydrogen-powered car painted with the film could potentially convert enough energy into electricity to continually recharge the car's battery.

The researchers envision that one day "solar farms" consisting of the plastic material could be rolled across deserts to generate enough clean energy to supply the entire planet's power needs.

"The sun that reaches the Earth's surface delivers 10,000 times more energy than we consume," said Ted Sargent, an electrical and computer engineering professor at the University of Toronto. Sargent is one of the inventors of the new plastic material.

"If we could cover 0.1 percent of the Earth's surface with [very efficient] large-area solar cells," he said, "we could in principle replace all of our energy habits with a source of power which is clean and renewable."

Infrared Power

Plastic solar cells are not new. But existing materials are only able to harness the sun's visible light. While half of the sun's power lies in the visible spectrum, the other half lies in the infrared spectrum.

The new material is the first plastic composite that is able to harness the infrared portion.

"Everything that's warm gives off some heat. Even people and animals give off heat," Sargent said. "So there actually is some power remaining in the infrared [spectrum], even when it appears to us to be dark outside."

The researchers combined specially designed nano particles called quantum dots with a polymer to make the plastic that can detect energy in the infrared.

With further advances, the new plastic "could allow up to 30 percent of the sun's radiant energy to be harnessed, compared to 6 percent in today's best plastic solar cells," said Peter Peumans, a Stanford University electrical engineering professor, who studied the work.

Electrical Sweaters

The new material could make technology truly wireless.

"We have this expectation that we don't have to plug into a phone jack anymore to talk on the phone, but we're resigned to the fact that we have to plug into an electrical outlet to recharge the batteries," Sargent said. "That's only communications wireless, not power wireless."

He said the plastic coating could be woven into a shirt or sweater and used to charge an item like a cell phone. [from your body heat]

"A sweater is already absorbing all sorts of light both in the infrared and the visible," said Sargent. "Instead of just turning that into heat, as it currently does, imagine if it were to turn that into electricity."

Other possibilities include energy-saving plastic sheeting that could be unfurled onto a rooftop to supply heating needs, or solar cell window coating that could let in enough infrared light to power home appliances.


Ultimately, a large amount of the sun's energy could be harnessed through "solar farms" and used to power all our energy needs, the researchers predict.

"This could potentially displace other sources of electrical production that produce greenhouse gases, such as coal," Sargent said.

In Japan, the world's largest solar-power market, the government expects that 50 percent of residential power supply will come from solar power by 2030, up from a fraction of a percent today.

The biggest hurdle facing solar power is cost-effectiveness.

At a current cost of 25 to 50 cents per kilowatt-hour, solar power is significantly more expensive than conventional electrical power for residences. Average U.S. residential power prices are less than ten cents per kilowatt-hour, according to experts.

But that could change with the new material.

"Flexible, roller-processed solar cells have the potential to turn the sun's power into a clean, green, convenient source of energy," said John Wolfe, a nanotechnology venture capital investor at Lux Capital in New York City."

Mark said...

Butterfly-inspired Pigment-free Color:

The feathers, scales, and exoskeletons of iridescent birds, butterflies, and beetles have structural features that cause light to diffract and interfere in ways that amplify certain wavelengths.

This creates brilliant colors to the viewer through the use of structure rather than the addition of a chemical pigment.

Imagine, instead of painting a product, simply adding surface layers that play with light.

Thin-film interference of this sort can create color that is

1) four times brighter than pigment,
2) never needs repainting,
3) avoids the toxic effects associated with pigment mining and synthesis.

The first products from this research include Morphotex, a pigment-free fiber produced by Teijin ( Japan), and a low-energy, sunlight-readable PDA screen from Qualcomm (USA).

Mark said...

University Of New Orleans Researcher Develops Nontoxic Corrosion Inhibitor

ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2000) — "This is the transition from 'we don't give a damn if we pollute the world' to 'we better stop polluting the world.' " Nontoxic coating for aluminum is not carcinogenic, applies easily and will help control hazardous materials costs, and handling.

New Orleans -- In the current wave of environmental prudence and cost-cutting consciousness, University of New Orleans researcher Alfred Daech and researchers at University of New Orleans Gulf Coast Region Maritime Technology Center (GCRMTC) have developed a new, environmentally friendly corrosion inhibitor that could save the military and commercial airline industry millions of dollars in their war against corrosion--one of the costliest problems in the nation--in terms of resources, materials, energy and even human life.

The new corrosion inhibitor, a nontoxic coating (in paint form) for aluminum, has other benefits besides combating rust. It is not carcinogenic. It applies easily. And that means it's more worker friendly, safer for the environment, and will help control hazardous material costs, disposal, and handling.

Using his more than 40 years of experience working for and/or with the chemical and paint industries, Martin Marietta, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the University of New Orleans (UNO) Gulf Coast Region Maritime Technology Center, Daech-- along with UNO researchers--focused on creating a new pigment (for a reformulated coating) which is both effective in corrosion prevention in aluminum, and is environmentally acceptable.

"Corrosion costs the government billions of dollars on military aircraft, ships, vessels, torpedoes, and other things. With some of the current inhibitors--using heavy metals, such as chromium, lead, and cadmium--found to be toxic, UNO's inhibitor could be a great cost-saving, environmentally-conscious benefit. Currently, billions of dollars are expended to help retard or prevent corrosion," said environmental engineer Bill Strasburg of John J. McMullen Associates, Inc. and a retired civilian Navy employee, who directed the UNO inhibitor testing for NavAir. According to the Naval Surface Warfare Center, it costs the Navy approximately 500 million to drydock ships a year, including 80 million for paint removal and replacement alone.

Tests revealed that UNO's coating inhibited corrosion as much as chromium without the hazardous materials. "What we have to offer is something that tested better than anything in the world. This also complies with the environmental regulations, plus it has the capability to eliminate the problem of carcinogenic coatings. This is the transition from 'we don't give a damn if we pollute the world' to 'we better stop polluting the world.' "

The University is in the final stages of the patent process regarding the corrosion inhibitor.


Mark said...

Liquid glass: the spray-on scientific revelation
Liquid glass, a revolutionary invisible non-toxic spray that protects against everything from bacteria to UV radiation, could soon be used on a vast range of products.

By Nick Collins
Published: 9:41AM GMT 01 Feb 2010

The spray, which is harmless to the environment, can be used to protect against disease, guard vineyards against fungal threats and coat the nose cones of high-speed trains, it has been claimed.

The versatile spray, which forms an easy-clean coating one millionth of a millimetre thick – 500 times thinner than a human hair – can be applied to virtually any surface to protect it against water, dirt, bacteria, heat and UV radiation.

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It is hoped that liquid glass, a compound of almost pure silicon dioxide, could soon replace a variety of cleaning products which are harmful to the environment, leaving our world coated in an invisible, wipe-clean sheen.

The spray forms a water-resistant layer, meaning it can be cleaned using only water. Trials by food-processing companies showed that sterile surfaces covered with a film of liquid glass were equally clean after a rinse with hot water as after their usual treatment with strong bleach.

The patent for the technology is owned by a German company, Nanopool, which is in discussions with UK companies and the NHS about the use of liquid glass for a wide range of purposes.

Several organisations are said to be testing the product, including a train company in Britain, which is using liquid glass on both the interior and exterior of the train, a luxury hotel chain, a designer clothing company and a German branch of a hamburger chain.

Key to the product's versatility is the fact it can be sold in a solution of either alcohol or water, depending on what surface needs to be coated. The layer formed by the liquid glass is said to be flexible and breathable.

Neil McClelland, Nanopool's UK project manager, told The Independent: "Very soon almost every product you purchase will be protected with a highly durable, easy-to-clean coating ... the concept of spray-on glass is mind-boggling."


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