Nov 23, 2017 - New composite material made of carbon nanotubes. Due to their unique properties, carbon nanotubes would be ideal for numerous applications, but to date they cannot be combined adequately with other materials, or they lose their beneficial properties. Scientists have developed an alternative method of combining, so they retain their characteristic properties. As such, they 'felt' the thread-like tubes into a stable 3-D network.
| FULL STORY In this simple procedure, water is mixed with the carbon nano tubes and dripped into a white ceramic material which is highly porous. Like a sponge, it sucks up the black liquid. If the ceramic scaffolding is chemically etched out, only the fine felted coat remains. The felt made of tiny tubes has thereby interconnected to form a network of larger tubes. The hollow spaces can be filled with polymers, to create a conductive and tear-resistant composite material. Credit: Fabian Schuett
Extremely lightweight, electrically highly conductive, and more stable than steel: due to their unique properties, carbon nanotubes would be ideal for numerous applications, from ultra-lightweight batteries to high-performance plastics, right through to medical implants. However, to date it has been difficult for science and industry to transfer the extraordinary characteristics at the nano-scale into a functional industrial application. The carbon nanotubes either cannot be combined adequately with other materials, or if they can be combined, they then lose their beneficial properties. Scientists from the Functional Nanomaterials working group at Kiel University (CAU) and the University of Trento have now developed an alternative method, with which the tiny tubes can be combined with other materials, so that they retain their characteristic properties. As such, they "felt" the thread-like tubes into a stable 3D network that is able to withstand extreme forces. The research results have now been published in the journal Nature Communications.
Industry and science have been intensively researching the significantly less than one hundred nanometre wide carbon tubes (carbon nanotubes, CNTs), in order to make use of the extraordinary properties of rolled graphene. Yet much still remains just theory. "Although carbon nanotubes are flexible like fibre strands, they are also very sensitive to changes," explained Professor Rainer Adelung, head of the Functional Nanomaterials working group at the CAU. "With previous attempts to chemically connect them with other materials, their molecular structure also changed. This, however, made their properties deteriorate -- mostly drastically."
In contrast, the approach of the research team from Kiel and Trento is based on a simple wet chemical infiltration process. The CNTs are mixed with water and dripped into an extremely porous ceramic material made of zinc oxide, which absorbs the liquid like a sponge. The dripped thread-like CNTs attach themselves to the ceramic scaffolding, and automatically form a stable layer together, similar to a felt. The ceramic scaffolding is coated with nanotubes, so to speak. This has fascinating effects, both for the scaffolding as well as for the coating of nanotubes.
On the one hand, the stability of the ceramic scaffold increases so massively that it can bear 100,000 times its own weight. "With the CNT coating, the ceramic material can hold around 7.5kg, and without it just 50g -- as if we had fitted it with a close-fitting pullover made of carbon nanotubes, which provide mechanical support," summarised first author Fabian Schütt. "The pressure on the material is absorbed by the tensile strength of the CNT felt. Compressive forces are transformed into tensile forces."
The principle behind this is comparable with bamboo buildings, such as those widespread in Asia. Here, bamboo stems are bound so tightly with a simple rope that the lightweight material can form extremely stable scaffolding, and even entire buildings. "We do the same at the nano-scale with the CNT threads, which wrap themselves around the ceramic material -- only much, much smaller," said Helge Krüger, co-author of the publication.
The materials scientists were able to demonstrate another major advantage of their process. In a second step, they dissolved the ceramic scaffolding by using a chemical etching process. All that remains is a fine 3D network of tubes, each of which consists of a layer of tiny CNT tubes. In this way, the researchers were able to greatly increase the felt surface, and thus create more opportunities for reactions. "We basically pack the surface of an entire beach volleyball field into a one centimetre cube," explained Schütt. The huge hollow spaces inside the three-dimensional structure can then be filled with a polymer. As such, CNTs can be connected mechanically with plastics, without their molecular structure -- and thus their properties -- being modified. "We can specifically arrange the CNTs and manufacture an electrically conductive composite material. To do so only requires a fraction of the usual quantity of CNTs, in order to achieve the same conductivity," said Schütt.
Applications for use range from battery and filter technology as a filling material for conductive plastics, implants for regenerative medicine, right through to sensors and electronic components at the nano-scale. The good electrical conductivity of the tear-resistant material could in future also be interesting for flexible electronics applications, in functional clothing or in the field of medical technology, for example. "Creating a plastic which, for example, stimulates bone or heart cells to grow is conceivable," said Adelung. Due to its simplicity, the scientists agree that the process could also be transferred to network structures made of other nanomaterials -- which will further expand the range of possible applications.
| Story Source:
Materials provided by Kiel University. || November 23, 2017 |||
Nov 21, 2017 - Robots are now being developed to sort household recyclables and differentiate between construction wastes. What will this mean for the human workers? Matt Clay in Waste Management World writes about the increasing presence of robots in industry, in particular recyclables and waste, that robots once suitable for only niche applications, are now being developed that can sort household recyclables and differentiate between construction wastes. What will this mean for the human workers? Does it mean the start of robot revolution? How accurate is the technology?
British pre-eminent scientist Prof Stephen Hawking once warned that the “development of full artificial intelligence (AI) could spell the end of the human race”. While we are many years away from AI taking over from humans in true Terminator fashion, technology has changed how we interact.
The rise of smart phones and apps have meant that electronic devices have become an extension of the body; a high tech major organ of communication. Being without it, for many, leads to what is now being called ‘nomophobia’ – the fear of being without your mobile phone.
While devices are becoming more integrated in our daily lives, one industry that perhaps hasn’t seen technological development as fast as others is waste management. Many material recovery facilities (MRFs) do contain teams of near infrared (NIR) advanced machines sorting through waste streams at a lighting pace. Yet, teams of waste pickers – people stood in lines working long and hard hours – still remain to provide final quality control; humans are still key to the operation.
Nov 21, 2017 - Soul Machines says the humanised AVA will enable customers to get answers to questions direct them to content and enable them to complete transactions. Soul Machines, a spinout from the University of Auckland Bioengineering Institute, is developing digital human interface to Autodesk’s customer assistance chatbot, the Autodesk Virtual Agent, AVA.
Soul Machines says the humanised AVA will enable customers to get answers to questions direct them to content and enable them to complete transactions.
“Soul Machines is advancing AVA’s capabilities, with a digital human face and persona that it literally brings AVA to life using [our] world leading Human Computing Engine (HCE),” the company said.
However to take full advantage of humanoid AVA, Autodesk customers wil need to turn on the video on the phone or computer so AVA can see them,
HCE is described as a virtual nervous system that combines neural networks and biologically inspired models of the human brain that will give AVA “the ability to see and hear as well as sensory systems that enable to recognise and respond emotionally in an incredibly human like way.”
Soul Machines’ CBO Greg Cross said: “Talking to one of our digital humans means you will get the same sort of social responses and non-verbal communication cues as if you were sitting face to face across a table from a real person. It means our customers can deliver highly personalised brand accretive experiences in a way they have not been able to afford to do up till now.”
CEO of Soul Machines Dr Mark Sagar said “[Ava] has a virtual nervous system and all kinds of sensory capabilities so she can respond to the user’s behaviour in real time to facilitate the communication.”
The move, announced Autodesk University, Autodesk’s annual conference in Las Vegas, follows Soul Machines’ announcement in March 2017 that it had developed for the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme, an online virtual assistant for Australia’s disabled community who “can understand thousands of questions put to her in plain English and respond with clear and simple replies.”
Both Nadia and AVA have been developed from Soul Machines’ Baby-X, billed as “an intelligent, emotionally responsive virtual toddler” created by Sagar and his team in the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and which drew worldwide attention when it was released in 2013, leading to the launch of Soul Machines, in November 2016.
This YouTube video says that Air New Zealand is also looking at using Soul Machines’ virtual humans for customer service, and it shows just how human they are.
Nov 21, 2017 - An exciting new era in America’s Cup racing has been unveiled today as the concept for the AC75, the class of boat to be sailed in the 36th America’s Cup is released illustrating a bold and modern vision for high performance fully foiling monohull racing yachts.
The Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa design teams have spent the last four months evaluating a wide range of monohull concepts. Their goals have been to design a class that will be challenging and demanding to sail, rewarding the top level of skill for the crews; this concept could become the future of racing and even cruising monohulls beyond the America's Cup.
The AC75 combines extremely high-performance sailing and great match racing with the safety of a boat that can right itself in the event of a capsize. The ground-breaking concept is achieved through the use of twin canting T-foils, ballasted to provide righting-moment when sailing, and roll stability at low speed.
The normal sailing mode sees the leeward foil lowered to provide lift and enable foiling, with the windward foil raised out of the water to maximise the lever-arm of the ballast and reduce drag. In pre-starts and through manoeuvres, both foils can be lowered to provide extra lift and roll control, also useful in rougher sea conditions and providing a wider window for racing.
Although racing performance has been the cornerstone of the design, consideration has had to be focused on the more practical aspects of the boat in the shed and at the dock, where both foils are canted right under the hull in order to provide natural roll stability and to allow the yacht to fit into a standard marina berth.
An underlying principle has been to provide affordable and sustainable technology ‘trickle down’ to other sailing classes and yachts. Whilst recent America's Cup multihulls have benefitted from the power and control of rigid wing sails, there has been no transfer of this technology to the rigs of other sailing classes. In tandem with the innovations of the foiling system, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa are investigating a number of possible innovations for the AC75's rig, with the requirement that the rig need not be craned in and out each day. This research work is ongoing as different concepts are evaluated, and details will be released with the AC75 Class Rule before March 31st, 2018.
The America's Cup is a match race and creating a class that will provide challenging match racing has been the goal from the start. The AC75 will foil-tack and foil-gybe with only small manoeuvring losses, and given the speed and the ease at which the boats can turn the classic pre-starts of the America's Cup are set to make an exciting comeback. Sail handling will also become important, with cross-overs to code zero sails in light wind conditions.
A huge number of ideas have been considered in the quest to define a class that will be extremely exciting to sail and provide great match racing, but the final decision was an easy one: the concept being announced was a clear winner, and both teams are eager to be introducing the AC75 for the 36th America's Cup in 2021.
The AC75 class rule will be published by March 31st 2018.
16 Nov 2017 - The launch of Virgin Australia’s daily Melbourne-Hong Kong services on 12 November was designed to meet growing demand for cargo capacity on the route, according to Virgin Atlantic Cargo, which provides long-haul international cargo sales and management for Virgin Australia.
Volumes have been increasing steadily in both directions since Virgin Australia commenced five Airbus A330-200 flights a week in July. The extra capacity provided by the new daily service will support the peak perishables season ex Australia as well as thriving e-commerce and courier business from Hong Kong.
Virgin Atlantic Cargo has generated over 1,200 tonnes of freight and courier traffic since the route began. Regular shipments have included garments, shoes, electronics goods, vitamins, milk powder and meat. The appointment in August of Jarrod Paterson as account manager in Melbourne has also helped the airline develop other lines of business, such as shipments of fresh lobster, Abalone and chilled salmon from Tasmania to Hong Kong.
Continued inward business investment in Melbourne is also expected to help sustain long-term cargo demand. Amazon is one of the latest global brands to announce fresh investment in the state of Victoria with its plans for a 24,000 square metre e-commerce distribution centre in Melbourne.
Pip Palmer, Virgin Atlantic’s Regional Sales Manager, Australia and New Zealand, said: “Cargo volumes to and from Melbourne have exceeded our expectations so far. There are a series of positive business indicators that show not only a consistent level of demand from our current customers but also opportunities for new traffic like we have started to generate from Tasmania.”
Virgin Atlantic, which has provided long-haul international sales for Virgin Australia since 2009, also sells capacity on Virgin Australia’s operations from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to Los Angeles. Shipments to and from Australia can also connect with its global network over both Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
Freight volumes have been increasing steadily in both directions since Virgin Australia commenced five Airbus A330-200 flights a week in July.
16 Nov 2017 - The International Energy Agency’s new forecast that demand for natural gas will increase 45% by 2040 is a major opportunity for New Zealand, says the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ). “Global demand for natural gas is only going to grow because it has half the greenhouse emissions of coal. This means that producing and exporting it from New Zealand has the potential to be a win-win outcome for global emissions and for our economy,” says PEPANZ CEO Cameron Madgwick.
“The report clearly highlights the role natural gas can play in reducing emissions by replacing coal in industrial processes and power generation. This reinforces the need for new exploration and development of our natural resources, benefiting New Zealand and the world.
“Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is going to be a major growth industry and this is great news for New Zealand given our potential deposits.
“Much of the demand is likely to come from China, India and other Asian countries. Other nations are eager to meet this demand and by the mid-2020s the United States is projected to become the world’s largest LNG exporter.
“This is an export industry New Zealand can and should be a part of. It could mean more jobs, exports and earnings for the Government through royalties and taxes.
“Taranaki is the only region currently producing but we know other areas have great promise. The recent report by New Zealand Oil and Gas looked at the Barque prospect off the coast of Oamaru and predicted it could generate $32 billion in taxes and royalties for the Government over the life of the field.”
The International Energy Agency also forecasts that global oil demand will continue to grow to 2040. While fuel efficiency and electric vehicles will reduce use by passenger cars, other sectors such as trucks, planes and shipping will continue to drive demand.
16 Nov 2017 – New Zealand is calling out for expert help from the U.S. to fill a massive construction and engineering skills and talent shortage as it struggles to cope with the largest infrastructure and housing build in the Pacific nation’s history.
The new Labour-led Government is introducing a special “KiwiBuild” fast track visa system to facilitate the search for top construction talent, spearheaded by an innovative international recruitment campaign called LookSee Build NZ.
LookSee Build NZ is a consortium of private companies, local body entities and government organisations. The aim of the campaign is to attract some of the more than 56,000 construction and engineering staff, including 2,200 high-end specialist positions, New Zealand needs for the more than NZ$125 billion program of infrastructure works over the next decade.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also announced a new NZ$2 billion housing program for the construction of 10,000 homes a year for 10 years, as well as a program of infrastructure works in addition to the existing pipeline.
Looksee Build spokesman and construction consultant Aaron Muir says it is the first time New Zealand’s public and private construction sector have combined in a single cause but the need for top talent is so acute it required an innovative approach to talent procurement.
Engineers, particularly in the areas of geotechnical, seismic, civil and structural, are top of New Zealand’s shopping list because of the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes, a nationwide seismic audit of buildings and significant compliance issues with historic buildings around the country.
But a broad range of specialist skills are required across the board and the campaign is offering a sweetener to entice Americans to migrate with a range of quintessential ‘Kiwi experiences,’ such as fishing, surfing and canoeing safaris, cultural events and the chance to see stunning sites of natural beauty, Muir says.
If people do get a job as a result of LookSee Build NZ their airfares to New Zealand will be repaid, he adds.
Over the past 12 months LookSee has seen unprecedented interest from US professionals looking to relocate to New Zealand. “We had a great response earlier this year to our LookSee Wellington campaign for tech workers to come to our capital and we believe New Zealand’s work and lifestyle environment will also appeal to construction professionals,” says Muir.
Former Californian Casey Giberson, a Discipline Manager, Resilience, for environmental and engineering consultancy Tonkin + Taylor, says the attraction of New Zealand is twofold: lifestyle and the breadth and complexity of construction work.
“It’s a small country and you can come down here and really make a difference for public good and that’s a rare and precious thing,” says Giberson. “We’re not looking for over designed or over engineered infrastructure and buildings however we are looking for people who can come up with simple and ingenious ways to create a tailored solution to a complex problem – we need those skills.”
Giberson started out in California doing transportation engineering and planning and then land development and associated infrastructure. In his 11 years in New Zealand he has covered a diverse range of disciplines, including exposure to specialist technical areas which Giberson believes has future-proofed his career.
In addition to the world class construction projects across the country Muir says the ‘Kiwi experiences’ will give them a real taste of the lifestyle that is available if they choose to live in New Zealand”.
More information about the recruitment campaign can be found at www.lookseebuildnewzealand.co.nz.
About LookSee Build NZ LookSee Build NZ is an innovative international talent procurement program that turns the traditional recruitment process on its head by taking the opportunities in New Zealand to the world and, in turn, bringing the world back to New Zealand. It is specifically designed to address an acute skills and talent shortage in the construction and engineering sectors and future-proof the building industry as the country gears up for the largest infrastructure and housing build in the nation’s history. Acting on behalf of a range of participating employers, including public and private sector entities, the LookSee Build NZ campaign is targeting highly skilled professionals from the US, particularly seismic and structural engineers, to assist them in becoming ‘New Zealand-ready’ before match-making candidates who are interested, qualified and available with the appropriate employer.
| Published in The American Surveyor Nov 10, 2017 |||
15 Nov 2017 - A study done by the University of Southern California and New Zealand’s Victoria University shows that additional trade schools could be a better way to close the income gap than universities. The research found that more investment is needed to go to vocational training because "there are too many four-year colleges serving too many students, and too few institutions with greater focus on vocational education and training," according to Joshua Aizenman, economics chair at University of Southern California.
Data shows that the amount of available vocational training relative to the size of a country's manufacturing sector may reduce income inequality and improve the fortunes of workers earning below the top 10 percent of household incomes, according to the report.
"Pushing more students to B.A. granting colleges may no longer be the most efficient way to deal with the challenges caused by the decline in manufacturing employment," said Aizenman.
Many believe fewer works would mean decreased output, but real gross domestic product manufacturing has risen over the past two decades, according to the report. This leads to the popular conclusion that machines have replaced labor in the workplace.
14 Nov 2017 -The New Autodesk Connect and Construct Exchange partner program tames construction app chaos. LAS VEGAS, Nov. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- At its 25th annual flagship user conference, Autodesk University, Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) previewed its next generation BIM 360 platform, a seamless cloud service connecting the entire construction project lifecycle. Autodesk also launched the "Connect and Construct Exchange," a new BIM 360 integration partner program designed to bring third-party software applications and data into the BIM 360 construction workflow. The Connect and Construct Exchange launched with more than 50 inaugural BIM 360 integrators.
The next generation of BIM 360, built on the Autodesk Forge platform, supports informed decision-making throughout the construction project lifecycle by centralizing all project data in a single place. Autodesk Forge is a connected developer cloud platform which enables customers and partners to create customized, scalable solutions for engineering, construction and manufacturing challenges. BIM 360 connects project stakeholders and workflows at all stages of the building lifecycle – from design to construction to operations, from the field to the office and back. BIM 360 removes the uncertainty that plagues construction projects of all sizes by pairing its project management tools and database with machine learning analytics and insights. The result is closer collaboration among project teams, greater transparency about changes, and improved data continuity that translates into increased profitability.
"Construction projects are growing more complex, but Autodesk meets that challenge head-on with BIM 360, making construction work safer, simpler, and connected," said Andrew Anagnost, president and CEO, Autodesk. "With the confusion of an ever-increasing number of construction apps across the industry, the option to manage all project data in a single cloud platform results in more predictable building project outcomes."
Developed with Autodesk Construction Industry Customers The new BIM 360 platform is a result of collaboration between Autodesk and 500 construction professionals from 100 organizations who informed the company's software development process. Autodesk BIM 360 solutions presently house almost four million models, and BIM 360 customers have logged approximately 200 million field observations.
"Autodesk made it a priority to work in lock-step with construction professionals to build the BIM 360 platform, which has resulted in a game-changing project management service," said Andy Leek, director, Virtual Design and Construction at PARIC, a St. Louis, Missouri based construction services firm. "Construction software is so fragmented with endless vendors claiming to offer the best mousetrap for each particular process. PARIC is trying to solve all of our problems as seamlessly as possible, and Autodesk BIM 360 could ultimately be our backbone to connect everyone from design to ownership in one place."
Connect and Construct Exchange BIM 360 connects fragmented workflows across preconstruction, execution, fabrication, installation, and facility management. The new Autodesk Connect and Construct Exchange launched today adds value for each of these phases of construction with an inaugural group of more than 50 BIM 360 integration partners of which more than 40 are now available on the exchange. The exchange's goals are to showcase, catalogue and generate awareness for all applications and integrations to the next-generation BIM 360 platform so customers and partners have a broad choice of solutions to enhance and extend their workflow to better meet their unique construction needs.
"Rhumbix enables construction teams to manage timekeeping, quantity tracking, and other critical tasks from the palm of a hand with just two taps on a mobile device," said Zach Scheel, CEO, Rhumbix. "Our seamless integration with BIM 360 ensures that everything on the job site is tracked and communicated back to the home office and field trailer."
Rhumbix modernizes construction field operations, helping builders go paperless in the field and improving how they measure and manage labor productivity to be more profitable.
Availability Available immediately. Learn more about Autodesk's next generation BIM 360 platform preview. Visit Connect and Construct Exchange for more information on Autodesk BIM 360 integration partners.
New Zealand CADPRO Systems is New Zealand’s leading supplier of professional Computer Aided Design (CAD) technology an an approved provider on the Autodesk Services Marketplace. They specialise in providing Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology to architects, engineers, contractors and owner/operators in the Architecture, Engineering & Construction markets, as well as Digital Prototyping solutions for Engineers & Manufacturers.
14 Nov 2017 - Port Taranaki is withdrawing from the container sector, including closing its container transfer site. Port Taranaki chief executive Guy Roper said changes to the New Zealand supply chain had prompted the decision, particularly the introduction of larger international container vessels, the development of inland ports for the containerisation of products, and the increased use of rail transport linking regions to ports with international departures. With coastal shipping impacted by these changes, there was now reduced incentive for shipping lines to call at Port Taranaki.
“We have not had a full container service at Port Taranaki for three years – the last container ship to call was in October 2014,” Mr Roper said. “Since then we have worked hard with potential customers and shipping lines to make it viable to call at the port.
“However, container services rely on scale and throughput, and with the changes to the national supply chain, we have been unable to secure sufficient trade to attract shipping lines. As a result we will no longer seek to recommence a container shipping service.”
Mr Roper said the decision would result in the closure of the container transfer site.
“As a service to Taranaki companies, through an arrangement with shipping lines we have maintained a container transfer site, making containers available to local importers and exporters,” Mr Roper said. “However, with Port Taranaki’s decision to withdraw fully from the container sector, the container transfer site will close.”
Mr Roper said the port was in consultation with two staff who would potentially be affected by the closure of the container transfer operation.
The site is expected to close at the end of January. From 1 December the site will operate from 7am to 3pm weekdays.
In addition, Port Taranaki has closed the cold store on the Blyde Wharf, which stored chilled and frozen products for the dairy and poultry industries. The closure, which was effective from 1 November, resulted in the loss of one position at Port Taranaki.
“Because of the halt in container trade in the past three years, the cold store has been under-utilised, which is why we decided to close it,” Mr Roper said.
The decision to withdraw from the container business has been made following a strategic review of the container sector by the Port Taranaki Board.
Board chairman Peter Dryden said the changes occurring within the New Zealand supply chain and the need to operate a sustainable and successful business for the benefit of the Taranaki community, had brought about the review and subsequent decision.
“After examining our position in the container sector and what we believe are permanent changes to the New Zealand supply chain, investing in future capability to be competitive, such as machinery and systems, was not viable,” Mr Dryden said.
“Port Taranaki will now focus on growth in other areas of the business, such as our burgeoning log business, as well as concentrating on our core business of bulk liquids, bulk dry products and support of the offshore oil and gas sector,” he said.
Mr Dryden said the port would retain its mobile harbour cranes in support of other work, including Port Taranaki’s offshore business.
“We will be working with local logistics providers to ensure continuity for Taranaki importers and exporters,” he said.