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INSIDE CI: Fall Potpourri

October 1, 2011
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A lot of people I know don't like autumn. They think this time of year is depressing because the leaves are dying and winter is on its way. I tend to take the opposite view; autumn is actually one of my favorite seasons. Mums of all shapes and sizes are blooming, the leaves are turning the most amazingly vibrant colors, and everyone's digging out their cold-weather clothes. It seems like every day brings something new and interesting.

The words "new" and "interesting" are certainly applicable to the myriad advances being made in our industry. For example, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed technology that could enable solid oxide fuel cells to be powered by coal gas. "The technique could provide a cleaner and more efficient alternative to conventional power plants for generating electricity from the nation's vast coal reserves," writes Georgia Tech's John Toon. Read about the team's "Self-Cleaning Anodes."

As the use of ceramic materials continues to increase across multiple industries, the methods used to produce those materials have likewise continually evolved. Uniform ceramic nanofibers with diameters of 75-125 nm can now be created through an electrospinning process. According to John M. Finley II, chairman and CEO of MemPro Ceramics Corp., "The process begins with polymer chemistry, which is used to form ultrafine fibers that are treated and converted into ceramics." Learn about "Developing Ceramic Nanofibers."

Rare earths are used in a number of applications ranging from dental ceramics and medical glassware to ceramic capacitors. Suppliers in areas such as the U.S., Canada and Australia are working to expand their resources to alleviate the problems caused by China's reduced rare earth exports. Gradient's David Mayfield discusses "'Rare' Growth Opportunities."

Be sure to take a look at the full Table of Contents on p. 5, or scan the mobile tag on the cover for direct access to all of our content online.

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