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  • richardmitnick 11:09 am on July 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Tsinghua University in China,   

    From WCG: “New Lab at Tsinghua University Created to Work on Computing for Clean Water Project Findings” 

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    World Community Grid (WCG)

    25 Jul 2017
    The Computing for Clean Water team

    Dr. Ming Ma, one of the original members of the Computing for Clean Water research team, has created his own lab at Tsinghua University. Dr. Ma and his team continue to analyze the data generated by the project. Learn more about their current work and plans for the future in this update.


    The Computing for Clean Water project was created to provide deeper insight on the molecular scale flow of water through a novel class of filter materials. Thanks to the millions of virtual experiments that the team was able to run on World Community Grid, they discovered conditions under which water can pass through tiny carbon nanotubes much more efficiently. This groundbreaking understanding of a fundamental physical process could help improve access to clean water for millions of people through more efficient water filtration and desalination, and also may have applications in clean energy and medicine.

    The team at Tsinghua University includes (left to right) Ming Ma, Kunqi Wang, Wei Cao, and Jin Wang. Not pictured: Yao Cheng

    A Growing Team

    It has been one year since the main team member, Dr. Ming Ma, returned to Tsinghua University, China, after doing research at University College London and Tel Aviv University. During the past year, as an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Ma recruited four new researchers as members of the team with the help from Prof. Quanshui Zheng, the leader of the Computing for Clean Water team. The new team members include one postdoc, Dr. Wei Cao; and three PhD students: Jin Wang, Kunqi Wang, and Yao Cheng.

    Next Steps

    The team is now working on two main tasks. The first task is to improve the algorithm used in the previous study (see the reference below) by incorporating new techniques developed during the last three years, and to implement them into LAMMPS, a molecular dynamics software. The second task is to investigate new systems with the algorithm being developed. With these tasks finished, the team wishes to bring new, interesting information into the volunteer computing community.

    We thank everyone who supported Computing for Clean Water, and hope to work with you again in the near future.


    M. Ma, F. Grey, L.M. Shen, M. Urbakh, S. Wu, J.Z. Liu, Y.L. Liu, Q.S. Zheng, Water transport inside carbon nanotubes mediated by phonon-induced oscillating friction, Nature Nanotech., 10 (2015) 692-695

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 8:22 pm on June 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Nanofiber ceramics, , New ceramic nanofiber ‘sponges’ could be used for flexible insulation and water purification, Tsinghua University in China   

    From Brown: “New ceramic nanofiber ‘sponges’ could be used for flexible insulation, water purification” 

    Brown University
    Brown University

    [THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO E.B.M., about to commence his college adventures at Brown University]

    June 2, 2017
    Kevin Stacey

    Nanofiber ceramics. Researchers from Brown and Tsinghua Universities have developed sponge-like materials made from ceramic nanofibers. The materials could be useful in a variety of applications, from insulation to water purification. Gao/Li/Wu/Brown/Tsinghua

    Researchers have found a way to make ultralight sponge-like materials from nanoscale ceramic fibers. The highly porous, compressible and heat-resistant sponges could have numerous uses, from water purification devices to flexible insulating materials.

    “The basic science question we tried to answer is how can we make a material that’s highly deformable but resistant to high temperature,” said Huajian Gao, a professor in Brown University’s School of Engineering and a corresponding author of the research. “This paper demonstrates that we can do that by tangling ceramic nanofibers into a sponge, and the method we use for doing it is inexpensive and scalable to make these in large quantities.”

    The work, a collaboration between Gao’s lab at Brown and the labs of Hui Wu and Xiaoyan Li at Tsinghua University in China, is described in the journal Science Advances.

    As anyone who has ever dropped a flower vase knows well, ceramics are brittle materials. Cracks in ceramics tend to propagate quickly, leading to catastrophic failure with even the slightest deformation. While that’s true for all traditional ceramics, things are different at the nanoscale.

    “At the nanoscale, cracks and flaws become so small that it takes much more energy to activate them and cause them to propagate,” Gao said. “Nanoscale fibers also promote deformation mechanisms such as what is known as creep, where atoms can diffuse along grain boundaries, enabling the material to deform without breaking.”

    Because of those nanoscale dynamics, materials made from ceramic nanofibers have the potential to be deformable and flexible, while maintaining the heat resistance that make ceramics useful in high-temperature applications. The problem is that such materials aren’t easy to make. One often-used method of making nanofibers, known as electrospinning, doesn’t work well with ceramics. Another potential option, 3-D laser printing, is expensive and time-consuming.

    So the researchers used a method called solution blow-spinning, which had been developed previously by Wu in his lab at Tsinghua. The process uses air pressure to drive a liquid solution containing ceramic material through a tiny syringe aperture. As the liquid emerges, it quickly solidifies into nanoscale fibers that are collected in a spinning cage. The collected material is then heated, which burns away the solvent material leaving a mass of tangled ceramic nanofibers that looks a bit like a cotton ball.

    The researchers used the method to create sponges made from a variety of different types of ceramics and showed that the materials had some remarkable properties.

    For example, the sponges were able to rebound after compressive strain up to 50 percent, something that no standard ceramic material can do. And the sponges can maintain that resilience at temperatures up to 800 degrees Celsius.

    The research also showed that the sponges had a remarkable capacity for high-temperature insulation. In one experiment, the researchers placed a flower petal on top of 7-millimeter-thick sponge made from titanium dioxide (a common ceramic material) nanofibers. After heating the bottom of the sponge to 400 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes, the flower on top barely wilted. Meanwhile, petals placed on other types of porous ceramic materials under the same conditions were burnt to a crisp.

    The sponges’ heat resistance and its deformability make them potentially useful as an insulating material where flexibility is important. For example, Gao says, the material could be used as an insulating layer in firefighters’ clothing.

    Ceramic nanofiber sponges retain the heat resistance that makes ceramics useful in high-temperature applications. They even outperform other ceramic materials (Al2O3) in insulating at temperature around 400 degrees C.

    Another potential use could be in water purification. Titanium dioxide is a well-known photocatalyst used to break down organic molecules, which kills bacteria and other microorganisms in water. The researchers showed that a titanium dioxide sponge could absorb 50 times its weight in water containing an organic dye. Within 15 minutes, the sponge was able to degrade the dye under illumination. With the water wrung out, the sponge could then be reused — something that can’t be done with the titanium dioxide powders normally used in water purification.

    In addition to these, there may be other applications for ceramic sponges that the researchers haven’t yet considered.

    “The process we used for making these is extremely versatile; it can be used with a great variety of different types of ceramic starting materials,” said Wu, one of the corresponding authors from Tsinghua. “So we think there’s huge prospect for potential applications.”

    The work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Chinese Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University and the U.S. National Science Foundation (CMMI-1634492).

    See the full article here .

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    Welcome to Brown

    Brown U Robinson Hall
    Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies.

    With its talented and motivated student body and accomplished faculty, Brown is a leading research university that maintains a particular commitment to exceptional undergraduate instruction.

    Brown’s vibrant, diverse community consists of 6,000 undergraduates, 2,000 graduate students, 400 medical school students, more than 5,000 summer, visiting and online students, and nearly 700 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

    Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 70 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience. Anything’s possible at Brown—the university’s commitment to undergraduate freedom means students must take responsibility as architects of their courses of study.

  • richardmitnick 2:14 pm on February 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , The "Tech Triangle", Tsinghua University in China   

    From Technion via Forbes: “Technion Spreads Its Knowhow To China And NYC In A New Tech Triangle” 

    Technion bloc

    Israel Institute of Technology



    Jan 31, 2017
    Rebecca Fannin

    Technion University was welcomed to New York City at a recent event where Technion’s President Peretz Lavie and Dan Huttenlocher, dean of Cornell Tech, shared plans on the campus being constructed on Roosevelt Island to bring game-changing science and technology education from Israel to New York City. While creating an Applied Sciences graduate school in New York City, Technion simultaneously is opening a campus in southern China’s Guangdong province.

    The technology world is at the forefront of an evolving trend – call it the Tech Triangle — that links Israel with China and the U.S. for venture capital and research and development of next generation breakthroughs. It’s a new angle on advances made by this strong trio of tech hubs.

    Israel and Silicon Valley have long dominated technological leadership and startup prowess, with Technion and Stanford turning out top engineering and entrepreneurial talent. China, which has an equivalent with Tsinghua, has joined this trio and is increasingly regarded as an innovator of breakthrough technologies from virtual reality to artificial intelligence. With 1.2million patents, China today ranks third worldwide for the number of patents – compared with to 2.5 million for the U.S. – and places second globally for venture capital investment, at nearly $50 billion in deals, narrowing the gap with the U.S. at $72 billion in VC investment. Israel comes in fourth globally for VC totals.

    The China link is strong and growing as it angles to become an innovative economic power from a manufacturing center and a good copier of western tech brands. China’s tech titans Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and VCs such as Horizons Ventures have been acquiring and investing in both Israeli and American technology companies and setting up R&D centers. Meanwhile, VC funds are drawing capital from China sources as incubators and accelerators funded by Chinese have opened in Israel and Silicon Valley.

    The ties make sense, despite the challenges of market entry and expansion. Israeli companies need large markets for expansion. Chinese companies need access to leading edge technologies. Silicon Valley has long been a crossroads, leveraging venture capital and tech knowhow from the top hubs.

    A new Silk Road is evolving, and such players as the Technion Israel Institute of Technology with its new campuses in New York City and southern China are helping to create an important Tech Triangle of innovation. Silicon Dragon explores this Tech Triangle at a VC and tech forum held at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, February 20.

    See the full article here .

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    Technion Campus

    A science and technology research university, among the world’s top ten,
    dedicated to the creation of knowledge and the development of human capital and leadership,
    for the advancement of the State of Israel and all humanity.

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