The panelists represented a diverse range of companies for whom rheology plays a critical role in product development, manufacturing, or processes. For example, Rick Watkins talked about Nike’s R&D efforts to develop new materials for athletic shoes that not only meet athlete-tested high-performance standards, but also conform to evolving environmental considerations. He gave the example of his group’s assignment to replace sulfur hexafluoride as the “air” in Nike Air products. Sulfur hexafluoride, as it turns out, is 34,000 times more active as a greenhouse gas compared to CO2. After more than a year of intensive R&D to develop a suitable material and process while considering economically viable manufacturing strategies, they finally settled on using actual air, that is, gaseous oxygen and nitrogen.
Chevron’s Maryam Sepehr applies rheology to developing lubricating oils that maintain their optimal performance characteristics over a broad range of sheer rates (think of engine rpm and pistons moving up and down very fast) and the resultant increasing operating temperatures. Automotive engine life depends on lubricants that work well all the way from a cold January start in Minneapolis, to an 80 mph dash across the hot Mohave dessert in the middle of August.
Jason Maxey of Halliburton is in charge of developing a broad range of complex fluids used in the oil and gas industry. His primary focus is developing fluids for use in fracturing hydrocarbon-bearing rock to extract oil or gas. Oil and gas companies use a variety of complex fluids with properties engineered to crack the rock and prop the fractures, for example.
Finally, Joao Maia of Case Western’s Center for Advanced Polymer Processing talked about the support his university laboratory provides industrial partners and customers who manufacture polymer-based products such as rubber, paint, consumer product, and lubricant companies. Maia and his group develop new polymer materials and instruments to understand their behavior in extrusion-based processes, particularly, forming and cooling, and how material structures form under flow.
The SOR industrial session provided attendees with a broadened perspective of how the fascinating, multidisciplinary field of rheology is critical for industries that rely on engineered complex materials that flow, either in their manufacture, application, or both. AIP is grateful to Gerald Fuller of Stanford University and Anne Grillet of Sandia National Laboratory for organizing and hosting the 2013 SOR/AIP Industrial Mixer.
Later in October, AIP partnered with AVS as part of the AVS 60th Anniversary Symposium, cosponsoring an IPF entitled, “Manufacturing Challenges in Emerging Technologies.” This series of invited talks, October 28-29, featured 15 speakers from industry who discussed their approaches to a range of leading-edge manufacturing challenges, primarily around materials science, devices, and the life sciences.
Given the enthusiastic turn out for the talks (standing room only at times), the AVS members seemed to appreciate the breadth and quality of the program. To cite a few examples, George Crabtree of Argonne National Laboratory reviewed the emerging field of mesoscale science, with its constructivist approach to developing new materials and understanding their behaviors. Amy Prieto of Colorado State and Prieto Battery, Inc. (the company she founded) addressed “Manufacturing a Three-Dimensional Rechargeable Solid-State Battery.” She detailed the environmental, economic, and materials boundary conditions within which she and her group develop and characterize novel batteries that could one day meet the growing need for high-power-density/high-energy-density batteries for energy storage. Elizabeth Carr’s talk described Agilent Technologies’ efforts in microfluidics-based devices for use in chemical analysis. Her group’s high-pressure microfluidic chips, on a single device, combine the complete process of integrated liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry, from sample preparation, to separation, to measurement. These new devices will make the analysis of complex mixtures of chemicals much faster and accurate for Agilent’s customers, in industries ranging from pharmaceutical and food manufacture, to forensics and drug testing of athletes.
This IPF would not have been possible without leadership from Rudy Ludeke, long-time AVS leader and member of the AIP Executive Committee, and his program planning committee. For more information, see the program on the AIP website.
The final big Industrial Outreach event this fall was the planning workshop, November 7-9, for the upcoming IPF in Brazil, which will be organized jointly with the International Centre for Theoretical Physics and our host, the University of Campinas. IPF Brazil will be held in late September 2014. Members of the IPF Brazil program planning committee came to College Park for almost two days of intensive panel discussions and strategic thinking about the goals, structure, audience, and expected outcomes for IPF Brazil. Planning will continue over the next several months, and we expect a rich five-day program that will combine technical talks focused on industrial challenges, education and policy panel discussions, tours of local labs and industrial facilities, and facilitated breakout groups.
The above three events are the culmination of a busy year for AIP Industrial Outreach, which started in March with the APS Forum on /AIP Industrial Physics Forum and the Industrial Geophysics session at the AGU Meeting of the Americas in May. In all, AIP has partnered with APS, AVS, AGU, and SOR in planning industrial events this year, and we look forward to another great year in 2014.
Rachel Ivie of the SRC gave a plenary talk at the Career Development Workshop for Women in Physics held in September at the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy. Ivie spoke about the results from the Global Survey of Physicists, a joint effort between the SRC and the IUPAP Working Group on Women in Physics. The workshop in Trieste was organized to help junior and midcareer women (mostly from developing countries) advance their careers by providing networking opportunities and training in professional skills such as developing a CV, giving talks, and preparing papers for the publication process. Ivie's talk provided data on the type of resources and opportunities that women physicists often lack, while the rest of the conference provided opportunities to learn how to overcome these obstacles.
Microbial fuel cells, chemical sensors for your iPhone, and new materials with never-before-seen properties featured alongside faster-charging batteries, safer nuclear power, and more flexible electronics at the AVS 60th International Symposium and Exhibition, held October 27-November 1, in Long Beach, CA. About 2,300 people turned out for this year’s event. Jan-Eric Sundgren, senior advisor at Volvo, gave the plenary lecture on “The Role of Industry in Developing Science Policy Worldwide,” which the Industrial Physics Forum (described above) complemented well. See the Symposium website for a look at the rich program of special sessions, lectures, events, and short courses. To help commemorate the symposium’s 60th anniversary, AIP CEO Fred Dylla participated in a past president’s panel (he was AVS president in 1993). Dylla also gave a historical overview of the formation of the AVS Plasma Science & Technology Division, and a technical talk on “The Quest for Extreme High Vacuum.”
AIP’s Media Services staff helped publicize the exciting research by reviewing abstracts, writing news releases, and pitching the meeting to the national and international news media. An article on saltwater-proof coatings for electronics in the Telegraph and coverage of potentially weather-alternating bacteria by Inside Science were among the news stories generated by AIP’s efforts.