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ABSMaterials partners with College of Wooster to build model stormwater campus

ABSMaterials is partnering with the College of Wooster on a plan that aims to turn the campus into a zero stormwater discharge campus, and a model for the rest of the country.
Jenna Blankenship, Executive Assistant at ABSMaterials, says they’ll use their patented Osorb technology on the project. Engineered in 2005 by Dr. Paul Edmiston, Peterson Chair of Chemistry at the College of Wooster and co-founder of ABSMaterials, Osorb is used in water treatment applications to detect and separate contaminated molecules.
“As stormwater travels, it picks up all sorts of contaminants, including oil, pesticides, nutrients, pharmaceuticals, and household chemicals,” Blankenship explains. “As a result, the surface water becomes polluted, which causes a number of problems related to water quality and algae growth.”
Blankenship believes this is an overlooked issue, ineffectively communicated to the public considering the hundreds of millions of Americans that rely on clean surface water for their drinking water, crop irrigation and recreation. “Lake Erie, for example, provides drinking water for almost 12 million people […] but around 5 billion gallons of untreated water is discharged to the lake every year.”
ABSMaterials previously worked with the College of Wooster in 2011. A field site was constructed with an Osorb rain garden and a control garden, funded by the National Science Foundation. Blankenship counts that prior relationship as key to developing this new project, noting they recently completed a site survey to select areas where stormwater systems should be built on campus.
“The areas selected are places where there is excess stormwater runoff that needs to be managed,” she says. “We will submit a final outline of the plan to the College in February, and construction should begin a little later in the year.”
Source: Jenna Blankenship
Writer: Joe Baur

tesla nanocoatings expands to stark state for future research and development on corrosion coating

Corrosion is a serious global problem of massive proportions, according to Todd Hawkins, managing director of Massillon’s Tesla NanoCoatings Limited.

In response to the problem, Tesla NanoCoatings worked with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) for five years to engineer Teslan -- a revolutionary carbon nanocoating to control corrosion.

The company recently leased 1,000 square feet of space at Stark State College’s Advanced Technology Center to conduct expanded research and development on Teslan. According to Hawkins, the product has potential applications in the aerospace, petrochemical, transportation, marine and industrial markets.

“Teslan’s foundation is fullerene, the toughest, most resilient and most effective organic protective coating developed for metals,” Hawkins explains. “It’s stronger than diamonds. One of its major characteristics is that, if damaged, it will transfer electrons to the defective site and non-corrosion will occur.”

According to Hawkins, Teslan has undergone extensive exposure and immersion testing in both fresh and sea water by the U.S. Army ERDC in various locations across the country. Other testing has been ongoing internally at NASA and Battelle as well.

“Now’s the time for expanded research and development, and we’re excited about this opportunity with Stark State,” he says. “Collaboration is vital to bringing new ideas to fruition, and we look forward to a very productive relationship with Stark State.” The company will be recruiting engineering students as interns.

The college was instrumental in Tesla NanoCoatings receiving a $100,000 startup award from the Innovation Fund, a regional fund that supports technology-based entrepreneurial endeavors and emerging businesses.

“We’re proud to welcome Tesla NanoCoatings to our campus,” says Para M. Jones, Ph.D., president of Stark State College. “Stark State is a supporting member of the Innovation Fund, and we’re very pleased Tesla NanoCoatings received a startup grant. This funding will assist them in further commercializing their groundbreaking corrosion control coating, and we look forward to their success.”

Hawkins established Tesla NanoCoatings in 2007. The company currently has five employees, and Hawkins anticipates bringing on additional employees by the end of the year.

Source:  Todd Hawkins, Para Jones
Writer: Lynne Meyer

dayton innovation drives curiosity on mars

The Curiosity rover is busy investigating Martian climate and geology, thanks in large part to a power system developed by the University of Dayton Research Institute’s (UDRI) Energy Technologies and Materials Division.

“The art of science resides in people and not equipment,” says UDRI’s Senior Research Engineer, Chad Barklay. He explains their contribution to the Curiosity project was the result of collaboration among a team of scientists from JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), NASA, Teledyn and Rocketdyne. “[We] determined which tests would be needed to ensure that the radioisotope power system (RPS) would properly function after entry, descent and landing.”

The result was a system that operates Curiosity’s wheels, robotic arm, computers, radio and other instruments. Needless to say, NASA is pleased with UDRI’s contribution. “Informally, there has been nothing but praise from various NASA program mangers regarding our efforts and contributions,” says Barklay, noting a few researchers on his staff have previously received formal recognition from NASA in the form of “Group Achievement Awards.”

As Curiosity continues its expedition 350 million miles away, Barklay continues his work in radioisotope power systems – something he says has a rich legacy in Dayton.

Dayton-based scientists Kenneth Jordan and John Birden developed the principle and first working model of the nuclear batter. “In 1959, they received a patent for their invention, and it is this technology that forms the basis for all RPS’s used in deep space missions today,” Barklay explains, powering some of NASA’s most notable missions, such as Pioneer, Voyager and Galileo.

“The legacy of this pioneering work that occurred almost 60 years ago in the Dayton area is amazing. It has travelled beyond our solar system and is still alive at the University of Dayton.”

Source: Chad Barklay
Writer: Joe Baur

kent state university receives $3 million for nanoscale engineering project

Kent State University (KSU) is attempting to go where no project has gone before. In collaboration with AlphaMicron Inc. (AMI), Akron Polymer Systems (APS), Crystal Diagnostics (CDx), the Liquid Crystal Institute (LCI) and Kent Displays Inc. (KDI), KSU was awarded $3 million for its “New Concept Devices Based on Nanoscale Engineering of Polymer-Liquid Crystal Interface” project.

If it is successful, the research project could have very wide-ranging consumer benefit. “The project ultimately aims to develop consumer electronic products that make the life of ordinary people better, just like the liquid crystal TVs have positively changed our lives in a manner completely unimaginable 40 years ago," explains the Director of LCI, Hiroshi Yokoyama. He lists a slew of new inventions that could be generated by the end of the three-year project, including new electronic tablet capabilities.
“The $3 million grant was awarded under the Innovation Platform Program, one of the support programs run by the Ohio Department of Development under the umbrella of the Ohio Third Frontier,” adds Yokoyama. The grant will be used to hire research staff to form a dedicated team in each partner and to purchase necessary supplies.

Each of the project partners has a different goal. “In close collaboration with Kent State’s Liquid Crystal Institute, KDI will develop and commercialize the next generation Boogie Board [zero-power electronic notepad using liquid crystals] with narrower line and select erase capability," says Yokoyama.

AMI’s goal will be to perfect the optical clarity of the Special Warfare Electronic Eyewear program to meet the stringent specifications required by Navy SEALs in battlefield.
For CDx, Yokoyama explains they will “advance their strength in pathogen detection systems by developing a robust design of liquid crystal interface that allows them to manufacture the device by roll-to-roll process.” 

Meanwhile, APS will develop specialty polymers tailored for the target products of KDI, AMI and CDx with mass manufacturing compatible synthetic routes. “The LCI will work together with all of them to analyze their technical issues and develop solutions.”
Yet overall, the project aims to advance technology that may soon find its way into consumers' hands while also benefiting the environment. “We are looking into lighter, energy efficient, human and environment friendly electronics products, taking full advantage of liquid crystals and polymers.”

Source: Hiroshi Yokoyama
Writer: Joe Baur

ohio state university receives $3 million for imaging technology platform

In the same week Kent State University was awarded $3 million for their nanoscale engineering project, Ohio State also received $3 million in the first Ohio Third Frontier Innovation Platform program.

The university’s “Next Generation Multi-Modal Molecular Imaging Technology Platform” project aims to advance, develop and validate new imaging modality [a technique used to create images of the human body] into a sustainable and effective medical imaging device that can be cost-effective.

"The goal is to make this an effective, safe and globally viable imaging technology that will benefit patients in the early discovery and characterization of diseases," explains Dr. Michael Knopp, Director of Ohio Imaging Research and Innovation Network. He adds that the group also wants to "catalyze collaboration in technology commercialization, innovation and product development between Ohio’s colleges and universities and Ohio-based industry.”
In collaboration with Philips Healthcare and Cardinal Health, Knopp and his team will take the fundamental technology they’ve already developed and bring it to its “full global market potential” by refining it.
“The benefit to Ohio will predominantly be in creating an additional commercial product line that is manufactured, developed and serviced in Ohio, by Ohio companies,” he says. “This will also create opportunities for scientific discoveries, improved health care and Ohioans' access to state-of-the-art capabilities."
Source: Dr. Michael Knopp
Writer: Joe Baur

Billion dollar pothole problem might have a simple solution

Damaged roads with gaping potholes from freezing winter time temperatures--that later thaw in springtime and crack when they expand--are a billion dollar problem for both local and federal government agencies. Not to mention the annoyance and money spent by any Ohioan who’s ever hit a pothole and damaged a tire from the dreaded concrete pits.
But help is on the way, according to Dr. Sang-Soo Kim of Ohio University, who thinks he’s come up with the solution that he now sells commercially through his company EZ Asphalt Technology LLC, founded in 2007.

Kim, an associate professor of civil engineering at the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, has developed a method of testing asphalt binder--the sealant used to help repair highways that is highly susceptible to cold weather--called Asphalt Binder Cracking Device (ABCD). The device can be used by highway engineers to more accurately determine an asphalt’s cracking temperature, leading to stronger roads that don’t need repairs as often.

“People like this because it is a simple process,” says Kim of the commercially viable testing device that will give the asphalt industry a new standard for testing road surfaces.

The testing works by placing asphalt binder material in the ABCD ring and then cooling the device in a refrigerator chamber. A computer monitor attached to the ABCD ring shows the exact temperature where the binder begins to crack, giving accurate measurement of how it would perform on a real road, says Kim. The knowledge would lead to improved pavement structure that would help lessen the number of potholes in the road.

Kim worked with Enterprise Appalachia to bring his idea to market after receiving a grant from the Federal Highway Administration.

He estimates that his company will grow rapidly as it reaches out to 2,500 potential customers in six market segments in both the U.S. and Canada.

YSU lands record four grants totaling $5.2 million from Ohio's Third Frontier

Youngstown State University’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) College announced this month it has landed a record four concurrent grants totaling $5.2 million from Ohio’s Third Frontier program. The two work closely to enhance technical education and to provide employment opportunities for students.
“Third Frontier criteria ensures not only that you have good science and engineering but also good commercialization potential,” said the school’s research director, Mike Hripko. “And each of (YSU’s four projects funded by Third Frontier) has demonstrated the promise of commercialization and advancement of the science,”
Founded in 2007, the STEM College received four concurrent grants from the state including a $1.6 million grant which funds a partnership with M-7 Technologies to develop manufacturing equipment.
Another $1 million will go to YSU’s Department of Material Science and Engineering Third Millennium Metals to study a carbon infused copper metallic composite that will reduce wire size and increase conductivity.
A third $1 million grant supports cooperation with Delphi Corporation on aluminum battery cable for use in electric and hybrid vehicles and the final $1 million goes to the Department of Chemistry for its work with Polyflow Inc. on converting polymer waste (i.e., plastic bottles, containers) into fuel. Another $600K is earmarked for capital equipment to support the research.
 “Youngstown is a hard-working town, and our students have a good work ethic that’s evident in their interfaces with our business partners,” said Hripko. “We have a reputation for being very business savvy and very manufacturing savvy. The college often works with industries which are indigenous to the region, advanced materials and advanced manufacturing, in particular.”
The university’s STEM College enrolls roughly 2,500 students plus 250 graduate students.
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