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Winter and Fan/More efficient, low energy manufacturing method for 2D Zeolites
Zeolites have found wide application in catalysis and separation processes due to their tunable pore structure and active sites, and they show remarkable stability in commercial use. Recently, ultra-thin two-dimensional (2D) zeolite nanosheets have been synthesized from zeolite precursors. These ultra-thin nanosheets show promise for high throughput separations and catalytic reactions involving bulky molecules. A commercially feasible synthesis method, however, has yet to be developed. State-of-the-art methods require high energy input and multiple processing steps, and give low yield and small nanosheet size.

 

Professors Winter and Fan have developed a simpler, lower energy method to synthesize ultra-thin 2D zeolite nanosheets from precursor zeolite materials, such as MCM-22 and ml-MFI. In the method, zeolite precusors can be subjected to either a short sonication or chaotic flow treatment in the presence of commercially available telechelic polymers, resulting in exfoliated zeolite nanosheets. While demonstrated in batch, this process can potentially be scaled and made continuous.

Published: 5/30/2018   |   Inventor(s): H Winter, Wei Fan
Category(s): Chemicals, Engineering
Low Cross-Polarization Decade-Bandwidth Ultra-Wideband Antenna Element + Array
Electronically scanned arrays with ultra-wideband (ESA-UWBs) performance are desirable for applications such as multi-functional systems, high-throughput or low-power communications, high-resolution and clutter resilient radar/sensing, and electromagnetic warfare systems. For these applications, Vivaldi arrays are popular for their excellent impedance performance, but do suffer from unintended polarization, which leads to loss of service or reduction of throughput. To correct for these problems, one can add additional feeding circuitry; however, that will add to complexity and cost and reduce bandwidth capability.

This invention improves upon prior art Vivaldi designs, creating an antenna that has: (1) large instantaneous bandwidths; (2) excellent impedance matching; (3) good polarization isolation. Dr. Vouvakis' antenna is also easier to manufacture because the body is made up of smaller disconnected components that are easier to solder and notch than a single long flair Vivaldi of the prior art. Finally, because the design is based on Vivaldi, this antenna invention will be backwards compatible with legacy wideband phased array platforms.

Published: 5/3/2018   |   Inventor(s): Marinos Vouvakis, John Logan, Rickie Kindt
Category(s): Communications & internet, Electronics, Engineering
WearID: RFID Wristband Reader
Advances in RFID technology are opening up a myriad of commercial applications related to identifying and interacting with objects, from home automation and health and wellness to augmented reality and tele-rehabilitation. Passive UHF RFID readers are a particularly attractive option due to their low cost and no maintenance; however, their limited range necessitates the use of many readers to cover a single large room, an expensive and labor-intensive process.

This invention, known as WearID, overcomes the traditional limitations of UHF RFID readers through end-to-end design innovation, optimizing the wearable reader for low power, form-factor, and performance. WearID is able to detect grasping, releasing, touching, and passing near tagged objects.

Published: 5/2/2018   |   Inventor(s): Deepak Ganesan, Ali Kiaghadi, Pan Hu, Jeremy Gummeson
Category(s): Devices & sensors, Communications & internet, Electronics, Engineering, Software & information technology, Healthcare
Improved Wind Turbine
A longstanding source of major inefficiency in a wind farm is wake effects from upstream turbines, which can slow down wind entering downstream turbines. To mitigate this problem, tethered kites placed between turbine rows in a wind farm have been proposed. These kites mix this slower air with faster air from higher up in the atmosphere to increase the speed of wind entering downstream turbines. However, because the kites are tethered to the ground separately from the turbines, they randomly mix air in the wind farm depending on the direction the wind is blowing. For this reason, they can’t be equally efficient for all wind directions.

In this invention, an airfoil structure is directly attached to the turbine, allowing it to most efficiently interact with the wind regardless of its direction. Rather than attempting to mix air, this invention moves the lower speed air below the downstream turbine, displacing it with higher speed air from above. By eliminating the wake effects, this invention has the potential to improve wind farm efficiency by 15-20% and to allow for closer turbine spacing, both major drivers of cost. The invention also has beneficial applications in offshore wind, as the uplift force on the turbine from the airfoil provides much needed stabilization.

Published: 4/27/2018   |   Inventor(s): Blair Perot, Shujaut Bader
Category(s): Clean Energy, Engineering
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): Jianhua (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
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