- SAN DIEGO (UPI) A new discovery in electronics and building materials could
allow car body panels to store energy and airplane wings to reveal microscopic
- Researchers are announcing today that
hair-thin carbon fibers glued together with epoxy used for decades to build
airplanes and other structures also can conduct electricity. That discovery,
they say, will lead to the birth of a new electronics technology that will
endow structural building materials with unique electrical properties.
- Deborah Chung, professor of mechanical
and aerospace engineering at the University of Buffalo, says the discovery
lays the foundation for a new technology called structural electronics,
that could lead to aircraft components that are huge energy-storage devices,
solar cars whose body panels can store energy, and even computers without
traditional silicon chips.
- Whole Piece is Smart
- "This discovery makes the electronics
vanish into the structure itself," Chung says. With this material,
the whole piece is smart, and no electrical interconnection is needed.
- The material opens up the possibility
of smart structures that could sense and behave intelligently like humans
and of new kinds of electronics that are less costly to make and that save
space, Chung says.
- Chung is presenting her finding at the
International Symposium on Smart Structures and Materials in San Diego.
- The carbon fiber material is both a metal
and a conductor, so it does not need electrical wires and contacts.
- She said the carbon material is easier
and less expensive to fabricate than silicon, which requires extremely
clean factories. In addition, it is stronger than silicon, which tends
to be brittle.
- Monitoring Structures
- "This is an important finding and
an interesting innovation," says Victor Li of the University of Michigan's
civil engineering department, who is familiar with Chung's work. "It
implies combining electronics and structural functions, which has not been
- It also gives engineers a way to monitor
the structures they build more closely.
- "If an airplane wing develops cracks
you can't always see them," says ceramic engineering professor Patrick
Nicholson of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. "Until now,
there has been no way of monitoring the behavior of materials in flight.
But this material could give us feedback."
- Chung and her colleagues are now building
some experimental devices, including light-emitting diodes for electronic
equipment, to see how well the material works in practical use.
- Comment From Paul Seniura <email@example.com
- After reading the ABC News announcement
re: carbon fiber & epoxy building materials, did you get a strong hint
as to what they may really be saying, only they can't admit it?
- When I first read that article, I started
thinking to myself, "Surely they already knew about the electrical
properties of carbon." Then why did they make such an obvious announcement?
- In Col. Corso's book (I'm still stuck
in chapter 10!), I definitely remember mention of the 'skin' surrounding
the supposed captured spacecraft near Roswell, NM, in 1947. And mention
of the 'body suits' clinging tightly to the supposed captured/rescued EBEs.
- Col. Corso said part of the research
of these 'skins' supposedly led to Kevlar bullet-proof vests. I don't
recall much if anything about Nylon & Polyester, but I dare say DuPont
may have been in on this research, too. ;)
- I really don't know who discovered (or
'invented') the carbon-fiber/epoxy process, but now it seems to me it may
be part of that research as well.
- And now we're told this process can do
so many *more* wonderful things!
- I'm hoping to show what else we've all
been missing. Well, the ABC News article kicked me in the rear so-to-speak...
Now's the time.
- The last paragraph in the ABC News article
mentions LEDs (light-emitting diodes). Take my next series of ideas with
a grain of salt if you want, but I feel compelled to say it. I know it's
long, but please follow along.
- One of Art Bell's sponsors (C.Crane Co.?)
sells (imports, I believe) a three-band (AM, FM, shortwave to 30MHz) radio
powered by a hand-cranked charging system -- no batteries. It's suppose
to play up to 30 minutes "at full-room volume" after a 30-second
crank. (I know some things about that charging system: it really is legit,
and again I believe may have come from similar untold research.)
- Art Bell has lately been saying another
newer model from that same company includes a "100,000-hour light"
that's bright enough to use for room illumination -- again for up to 30
minutes per 30-second charge, and even while the radio is playing.
- Companies do make "super-bright
LEDs" these days. Where I live I can buy any color off the shelf
-- yes even TRUE BLUE, which is apparently still awfully expensive (other
colors are dime-a-dozen almost). (The DigiKey Corp. is a good reliable
catalog warehouse from which to order these; check out <http://www.digikey.com/.)
- Keep those LEDs & charging system
in mind. Follow me now to London, England, where a well-known university
has finally recently announced "flat screen displays" of the
type we've all been waiting for. They and their funders (including Sony)
have formed a private company I think in an effort to license the patents
&/or sell their own manufactured screens. This 'invention' has been
known to seem like 'vaporware': they've announced their 'readiness' many
times over the past year or so to bear no fruit. But a while back I did
see some articles in prestigious science magazines covering this process.
I believe their current problems are only to make it cost-effective &
- Similar to the way printed circuit boards
are made, they can literally "paint" these chemicals onto anything
-- anything! -- and can even use silk-screening & other printing processes
to do so.
- What are these chemicals? Some kind
of fluorescent plastic semiconductors; if I recall correctly, it's ORGANIC,
"long" molecules, quite the opposite of silicon & carbon
& metal-based electronic parts usually formed from growing crystals.
Hence 'plastic' or 'paint'. They call it "Light-Emitting Polymers"
or LEP for short.
- This "paint" is flexible as
well. Put that on flexible circuit boards (yet another recent advance,
I actually had a sample) -- such a board & its metal tracings can bend
around a pencil, even -- and you got the makings of London's new flat-screen
- They intend this technology to completely
replace our picture tubes & liquid-crystal displays in as little as
10 years. The main web site, Cambridge Display Technology, is <http://www.cdtltd.co.uk/.
- Whew! I feel like James Burke of Connections
fame (on PBS and TLC/Discovery channels), trying to relate a bunch of seemingly
disjointed facts into a common thread. Not thru yet...
- One more amazing thing that ABC News
had a pointer to: magnetic levitation. Another university is experimenting
with this, I'm sure you know. Last night I downloaded several of their
QuickTime movies demonstrating that they can 'lift' many different kinds
of materials -- even living -- with no apparent harm. Some of those video
clips came from CNN, so I *know* this has been broadcast within the past
two or three years. Check out <http://www-hfml.sci.kun.nl/hfml/levitate.html
for more on this. (There is at least one EDU site in USA involved with
this, too, I believe, but I've lost the URL.)
- Lastly, don't forget Super-Conductivity.
Researchers have been finding materials that do this without having to
be so 'cold'.
- Put all this together. Ya got a 'new
smart material' with the carbon-fiber/epoxy advances, ya got a potentially
huge 'power-charging and storage system', ya got other materials that can
distribute the power without loss, ya got 'super-bright lights' that run
totally cool & don't drain the batteries much at all themselves, ya
got fiber optics to carry that light, and ya got maglev. (I know I haven't
mentioned "everything", blame my own naivete. ;)
- I think thousands of people have seen
this technology before, probably in its ORIGINAL FORMS not to mention black-budget
versions, if you get my drift.
- [I guess I better say I have no stock
nor interest in the companies mentioned above, other than being a possible