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Methods for Making Ultra-high Strength Multilayer Graphene Materials
This invention provides methods for making ultra-high strength, light-weight multilayer graphene materials.
Published: 12/21/2017   |   Inventor(s): Christos Dimitrakopoulos, Dimitrios Maroudas, Yuxi (Nancy) Wang
Category(s): Material science, Engineering, Physical Science, Nanotechnology, Electronics
Method for Reducing Sludge Wasting and Enhancing Bio-hydrogen Generation from the Activated Sludge Process
Treatment and disposal of bio-hazardous sludge accounts for 50-60% of the operational costs at a wastewater treatment plant. To treat this sludge, it undergoes a process involving thickening, conditioning, and dewatering, followed by transport to a landfill or incinerator. In addition to high costs, landfilling and incineration are detrimental from a sustainability standpoint.

 

In this patented invention, a closed, anaerobic, completely stirred tank side stream reactor is added after the outlet of the settling tank at the wastewater treatment plant. Solids retention time in the reactor is short (< 4 days), keeping its size and cost down. The acidic and anaerobic environment of the reactor causes biomass to deflocculate and sludge to hydrolyze, ultimately reducing sludge by 60%. The invention also has the added benefit of producing hydrogen and methane fuel. 

Published: 12/15/2017   |   Inventor(s): Chul Park, Dong Hyun Chon
Category(s): Clean Energy, Environmental, Engineering, Chemicals
Facile synthesis of tin-containing zeolites
Heteroatom containing zeolite catalysts have shown excellent catalytic activity and thermal stability in petrochemical processes as well as for converting biomass into biofuels and high-value chemicals. However, their synthesis is difficult, requiring harsh chemicals and long synthesis times.

 

This patented technology is several rapid, high-yield synthesis methods for heteroatom containing zeolites, such as Sn-Beta. The method begins with adding zeolite seeds to a solution comprising a heteroatom source and a structure-directing agent. By directly adding the seeds to the solution without calcination or drying, the seeds do not agglomerate and as a result, crystallization time is shortened. To complete catalyst synthesis from the resulting gel, it is then heated to form a solid, filtered, washed, dried, and finally calcined.

 

Specific methods disclosed in this patent include one as short as 2 days and the first fluorine-free synthesis route. The catalysts were demonstrated to be active for both sugar isomerization and dehydration reactions, necessary in fuel and chemical synthesis.

Published: 12/14/2017   |   Inventor(s): Wei Fan, Chun-Chih Chang, Paul Dornath, Zhuopeng Wang
Category(s): Chemicals, Clean Energy, Engineering
Diffusive Memristor as a Synapse
Neuromorphic computing, systems designed to mimic the biological nervous system, require far less power than current computer processors. The increased efficiency makes feasible artificial intelligence applications for smaller, hand-held devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets).  To this end, UMass inventors have designed hardware components that mimic neuronal synapses (Figure A). Specifically, diffusive Ag-in-oxide memristors show a temporal response during and after stimulation similar to that of a biological synapse. The novel diffusive memristor and its synapse-like dynamics enable a direct emulation of both short- and long-term plasticity of biological synapses and represent a major advancement in a hardware implementation for neuromorphic computing.
Published: 10/27/2017   |   Inventor(s): Jinhua (Joshua) Yang, Qiangfei Xia, Mark McLean, Qing Wu, Mark Barnell
Category(s): Devices, Engineering, Physical Science, Communications & internet, Computers
Pressure Sensitive Adhesives
Pressure sensitive adhesives bond two materials when physical pressure is applied to marry the adhesive with the adherent. They are widely applied in self-adhesive tapes, labels and marking films, medical plasters and pads, dermal pharmaceutical dosage forms, medical drapes and biomedical electrodes. Curing current adhesives often involves UV irradiation or heat, capital and energy intensive steps which may produce to toxic byproducts.

 

The invention concerns novel compositions and crosslinking strategies that greatly simplify fabrication of pressure sensitive adhesives.  A soluble and flowable polymer containing latent crosslinking sites is applied to a substrate as a low-viscosity solution or melt.  After application, spontaneous crosslinking occurs at ambient conditions, eliminating the need for post-crosslinking equipment, capital and expense. It also eliminates formation of undesired or toxic residues; allows the formation of crosslinked adhesive layers on temperature-sensitive substrates; enables the use of opaque crosslinkable adhesive formulations; and facilitates the incorporation of adhesives into porous or complex substrates. These strategies may be generalized to broader classes of solvent borne and hot melt pressure adhesives.

 

Published: 8/14/2017   |   Inventor(s): Shelly Peyton, John Klier, Yen Tran, Todd Emrick
Category(s): Engineering, Healthcare, Material science
Novel Systems for Improved Backscatter Tag Communications
A new fully asymmetric backscatter communication protocol where nodes blindly transmit data as and when they sense. This model enables fully flexible node designs, from extraordinarily power efficient backscatter radios that consume barely a few micro-watts to high-throughput radios that can stream at hundreds of Kbps while consuming a paltry tens of micro-watts.

 

 

Published: 8/11/2017   |   Inventor(s): Deepak Ganesan, Pan Hu, Pengyu Zhang
Category(s): Communications & internet, Devices & sensors, Electronics, Engineering, Software & information technology
Chemically Stable Fibers Electrospun from Polyelectrolytes
The invention is a new platform for fabricating nano- and macro- scale fiber materials and for encapsulation. Complex coacervates are associative complexes of positive and negative polyelectrolytes, which form complexes due to a combination of electrostatic and entropic interactions between the oppositely charged polyions. Due to their aqueous solubility, polyelectrolyte solutions are a good medium for encapsulating small molecules. However, while the concept of polyelectrolyte complexes for a drug delivery system and other applications has seen heightened interest in recent years, significant obstacles and challenges remain both in processing technologies and functionalities of the resulting materials.

 

Electrospinning is an established, versatile, inexpensive and scalable process for creating continuous, nanofibrous mats of non-woven nano-/micro-scale diameter fibers. Electrospun mats hold great promise in biomedical, environmental, and industrial fields.

 

The invention provides novel polymer nanofiber or microfiber mats and methods for their preparation via an aqueous, one-step polyelectrolyte complexation and electrospinning of complex coacervates. The process involves an aqueous medium and no organic solvents and/or strongly acidic or basic condition, resulting in chemically and thermally robust fiber mats. Thus, this process and the resulting materials have tremendous potential as a green processing strategy that can serve as the basis for developing a new class environmentally benign fiber scaffolds for use in applications, such as wound healing, water remediation, catalysis, and food packaging.

 

Published: 8/11/2017   |   Inventor(s): Jessica Schiffman, Sarah Perry, Xiangxi Meng
Category(s): Material science, Healthcare, Engineering
Modular and Portable Multi-camera Photogrammetry System
This invention provides a hand-held, portable, and modular photogrammetry system that consists of multiple cameras attached to movable mounting arms coupled to a holdable plate. The system also includes a trigger mechanism that activates the cameras simultaneously.  The system enables rapid (15 - 45 seconds) capture of 2D images of objects for the creation of high-resolution 3D models.
Published: 9/15/2016   |   Inventor(s): Duncan Irschick, Kasey Smart, Dylan Briggs
Category(s): Devices, Engineering
Prosthetic Fitment System
An ill-fitting prosthesis can result in discomfort and can compromise mobility and performance. Therefore, there is a strong need for innovative diagnostic tools for quantifying the socket-limb interface during the fitment process. Scientists at UMass Amherst have developed a prosthetic socket fitment tool which applies recently-available high-precision line-of-sight ultrasound transceivers and intuitive visualization software to provide a quantifiable internal measurement of the residual limb and bone movement to a prosthetist during the fitment process. This tool will inform the positioning of socket components to ensure a comfortable fit for the patient.
Published: 9/15/2016   |   Inventor(s): Frank Sup, Andrew LaPre, Michael White
Category(s): Devices, Diagnostic technology, Healthcare, Engineering
Seatbelt System for Buses – Retrofit or New
A novel seatbelt system has been developed that can be installed independent of the existing bus seats that did not have seatbelts. The invention can be adaptable for inter-city buses (coaches), as well as mid-sized buses and school buses.  Most other seatbelt systems apply only to a specific seat design whereas this invention facilitates a seamless transition for the different seat configurations of the intended buses.  Based on the design and condition of the sets, the strength of the support can be uniquely designed and customized to support the seatbelt design, while maintaining the integrity of the existing bus frame structure.  Thus, this seatbelt system can be expected to be universal and economical.
Published: 9/14/2016   |   Inventor(s): Sundar Krishnamurty, Douglas Eddy, Anne Schewe, Conrad Zanzinger
Category(s): Devices, Engineering
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