Archived Features for 2011
- Battery-powered Christmas carol: A trip down memory (effect) lane
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Dec. 21, 2011 — As consumers anticipate unwrapping the latest electronic gadget during the holidays, they may not give much thought to how long their shiny devices will last. But it's a topic under significant consideration at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where researchers such as Claus Daniel are working to understand a critical lifetime component in these devices -- the battery.
- Mars 'Curiosity' has ORNL tech
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Nov. 28, 2011 — The Curiosity rover that was launched toward Mars over the Thanksgiving holiday includes a significant contribution from ORNL and DOE. The mobile instrument platform, which is too large to rely on solar-powered batteries, contains a plutonium oxide-powered generator, as do all of NASA's deep-space probes such as Voyager and Cassini.
- Neutrons Probe Inner Workings of Batteries
ORNL Review, Nov. 3, 2011 - (Zhili Feng) Listen for any length of time to Ke An, lead scientist for the VULCAN engineering diffractometer at the Spallation Neutron Source, and you're sure to hear "Nobody has done this before" and "couldn't be done anywhere else." And he's right. VULCAN has capabilities available nowhere else, and the instrument has become a popular tool for researchers in industry, even though it has been available to users for only a little over a year.
- Need for new magnet materials drives ORNL research
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Sep. 1, 2011 — Increasing demand and a shrinking supply of rare earth elements for magnets creates a perfect opportunity for a research team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Minnesota. The goal is to create a recipe for a replacement that doesn't use scarce ingredients.
- New spin on friction-stir
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., July 25, 2011 — Researchers Zhili Feng, Alan Frederic and Stan David in Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Materials S&T Division have made significant progress toward a new metal processing technique, called friction-stir extrusion, that could represent a major advance in converting recyclable materials -- such as alloys of aluminum, magnesium and titanium alloys, and even high-temperature superconductors -- to useful products.
- Catching Alzheimer's in the act
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., July 21, 2011 — Like a thief hidden in the brain, the neurodegenerative disease called Alzheimer's steals away memory as it gradually destroys brain cells, changing personalities and disrupting lives in the process.
- Thermoelectric materials: recycling energy
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 30, 2011 — For some years now, NASA has been using what are called thermoelectric materials to power its space probes. The probes travel such great distances from our sun that solar panels are no longer an efficient source of power. So NASA imbeds a nuclear material in a radioisotope thermal generator, where it decays, producing heat energy. That energy is then converted by thermoelectric materials into the electricity that powers the space probe. The same technology is now being explored for more earthly applications, for example, to capture heat lost in the exhaust of automobiles to produce electricity for the vehicle.