Using Food Waste as a Sustainable Rubber Filler

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Katrina Cornish, Ohio Research Scholar and Professor of Horticulture and Crop Sciences and Food, Agriculture and Biological Engineering, Cornish’s lab at Ohio State’s Wooster campus designs natural rubber alternatives using crops of guayule and Buckeye Gold dandelion, combined with eggshells and tomato peels.

Cornish Barrera

Professor Katrina Cornish with Postdoctoral Researcher Cindy Barrera in the group’s research facility

Through the Program of Excellence in Natural Rubber Alternatives (PENRA) research facility, Cornish’s research group found that partially replacing carbon black with ground eggshells or tomato peels in rubber enhanced its overall strength, elasticity and softness. Both materials offer practical advantages in tire manufacture. Tomato skins offer high-temperature stability, while the porousness of eggshells enable it to bond well with rubber. Additional testing led the researchers to widen their applications of these alternatives beyond tires to other rubber products such as gaskets, hoses and rubber gloves.

Researchers from The Ohio State University have developed a patent-pending, greener—or, more accurately, reddish-brown—alternative to the carbon black filler used in tires.

Natural rubber is a vital resource for any developed country and is used in over 40,000 commercial products. By 2020 the USA may suffer a supply shortfall of 1.5 million metric tons of imported natural rubber. While the use of synthetic rubber has surpassed natural rubber in quantity, there are particular properties and high-performance applications that make natural rubber irreplaceable by synthetic rubber.

As carbon black supply dwindles, eggshells and tomato skins abound. America alone consumes almost 100 billion eggs and 13 million tons of tomatoes annually, with their shells and skins going to landfills. Cornish expects the food factories that dispose of these items to become the go-to source for new filler material.

Cornish explains that the technology has the potential to address three problems: allow more sustainable tire manufacturing process, reduce the tire industry’s dependence on foreign oil, and keep waste out of landfills.


Cornish’s research has been covered by several national media this month, which served as sources for this article:

Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/making-tire-filler-from-eggshells-1489093113

US News & World Report: https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-03-09/incorporating-food-waste-into-tires-may-sustain-industry-long-term

How Stuff Works: http://now.howstuffworks.com/2017/03/10/food-waste-wheels-researchers-turn-tomatoes-tires

Yahoo! News: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/tires-made-eggshells-tomato-skins-081804297.html

Krishna Wins ONR Grant to Develop Next-Gen IR Detector Technologies

ECE team wins $3 million ONR grant to make infrared detector technologies at Ohio State tops

The research team consists of (l-r) Teressa Specht, SeungHyun Lee, Vinita Dahiya, Gustavo Vieira and Krishna. Alireza Kazemi (not pictured).

 

Landing planes in zero visibility. Detecting pollution at the nanoscale.

A potential $3 million in new grant funding could help make The Ohio State University a worldwide leader in next-generation infrared detector technologies.

Electrical and computer engineering (ECE) professor Sanjay Krishna had only been at Ohio State a month, hired as part of the university’s Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability (M&MS) Discovery Themes initiative, before landing the grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

“This means great things for Ohio State’s Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability Discovery Theme initiative,” Ohio State professor Steve Ringel said, who leads the M&MS program to create pre-eminence in materials and technologies for sustainability, focusing on innovation and industry deployment.

“Sanjay is the epitome of what M&MS is all about,” Ringel said. “Not only is he a world leader in critical areas of science and technology that impact energy and the environment who, through awards such as this, is already enhancing our prominence academically, but he is also dedicated to the translation of those successes into the private sector through his innovative activities as an entrepreneur.”

The new grant funding comes on behalf of the High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office (HEL-JTO)Multidisciplinary Research Initiative (MRI) Program, under the Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology, (DUSDS&T).

It is an alphabet soup of acronyms, for sure, but Krishna said the intention of the grant award is simple – to explore new realms of infrared camera technologies and set the stage for more advancements decades down the line.

Krishna is a world-leading researcher and innovator in the field of narrow bandgap semiconductors applied to infrared imaging sensors and related technologies.

“I want to make Ohio State the number one research group in this particular area,” Krishna said.

His winning research proposal, “Low Excess-noise Avalanche Photodetectors with Superlattices (LEAPS),” outlines research and development toward high performance short wavelength infrared detectors based on III-V semiconductors designed for manufacturing.

“Infrared detectors are important because they can be used for chemical sensing,” Krishna said. “If you want to find out what is coming out of a factory, or what pollution is coming out of a car. Usually these hydrocarbons have characteristics of nature in the infrared. So, if you send a laser beam and watch it come back, you can see that it’s nitrogen oxide or carbon dioxide, or even methane.”

He said infrared detectors can enhance the ability to see through objects.

“If you are landing a plane in wet and foggy conditions, you can see. If a firefighter or first responder is entering a building, you can see in the infrared beyond what you can see in the visible,” Krishna said.

Infrared technology can also study how heat dissipates from the human body.

“We are currently emitting photons,” he said. “You can use this for not only human detection, but also temperature profiles of human beings. This can be applied for a variety of medical applications, including the early detection of skin cancer.”

Krishna said the list goes on to include medical imaging, corrosion detection and food safety applications.

The final task of their grant award is to train new students to take up the proverbial infrared research baton for generations to come, Krishna said.

The professor said he would like to position Ohio State as one of the only two universities in the United States with the ability to undertake “design to camera” research and development in the infrared field.

Collaborators on the project include the University of Virginia, the MIT Lincoln lab, the University of Illinois, Chicago and industry representative L-3 Cincinnati Electronics.


 

This story originally appeared on Electrical and Computer Engineering’s website: https://ece.osu.edu/news/2017/02/ece-team-wins-3-million-onr-grant-make-infrared-detector-technologies-ohio-state-tops

Innovations in Materials Research Newsletter – Winter 2017 Issue

The Winter 2017 issue of Innovations in Materials Research, the biannual newsletter of the OSU Institute for Materials Research, is now available online!

Winter 2017 newsletter cover

The latest issue of our biannual newsletter is now available online and in print. Features include stories about two student design challenges IMR has coordinated, two new Global Partnership Grants supporting OSU-India partnerships, advances in energy research that began at our SEAL facility, and four new faces at IMR who are helping us grow and expand our programs and impact in materials research.

 

Features

  • Global Partnership Grants Fund Ohio State/IIT Bombay Research Collaborations
  • Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability (M&MS) Discovery Theme Updates: Materials Innovation Lab Design Challenge, ENGR 2367 Experiential Learning Model Includes Industry Partnerships
  • Research Highlight: Innovative Energy Research Advances Have Origins at SEAL
  • New Faces at IMR Helping Build Its Future
  • Ohio State’s Newest Materials Lab: CCIC-NMR Facility
  • 2016 OSU Materials Week Recap

 

With regular updates from:

  • Center for Emergent Materials (CEM), Ohio State’s NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC)
  • Core campus materials facilities
  • IMR Member News

 

Download the Winter 2017 Innovations in Materials Research

 


About Innovations in Materials Research

Innovations in Materials Research is IMR’s biannual newsletter (formerly IMR Quarterly) featuring technical articles highlighting OSU research, updates on research funded by IMR grants, facility updates, recently awarded grants, and other materials research news.

To receive the newsletter by mail or to make suggestions for future articles please contact Layla Manganaro at manganaro.4@osu.edu.

 

 

 

 

 

Engineering Technical Communications Class Design Challenge Is No Bull!

An undergraduate Engineering Technical Communications class recently had the unique opportunity to work with local industry leaders and create innovative designs to address a real need.  Students in a section of this Fall’s ENGR 2367 class piloted a collaborative educational model with representatives of Worthington Industries, a leader in the diversified metal manufacturing industry headquartered in central Ohio, and one of Worthington’s customers, Select Sires, a Plain City, Ohio-based industry leader in reproductive management solutions for dairy and beef producers.

An ENGR 2367 class design team shows their prototype for the design challenge.

An ENGR 2367 class design team shows their prototype for the design challenge.

The two companies presented their real-world problem to the class: they needed a vessel custom designed to effectively and safely transport hundreds of bull semen samples to farmers around the U.S.  Select Sires specializes in providing highly fertile, superior genetic products to enhance the productivity and profitability of their customers, dairy and beef producers.  The transportation of such a sensitive biological product faces many challenges, from temperature control to complex logistics management.  This challenge was not a typical assignment for the undergraduate students, who needed to quickly become knowledgeable about a broad range of topics including livestock breeding, shipping regulations, and the cost, use and limitations of raw materials such as stainless steel and expanded polystyrene.

A student design team presents their prototype to the audience.

A student design team presents their prototype to the audience.

The course was led by instructor Mary Faure, Director of the Engineering Technical Communications unit in the Department of Engineering Education, while the collaboration with Worthington Industries was facilitated by the Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability staff at Ohio State’s Institute for Materials Research (IMR), Dr. Jay Sayre, Assistant Vice President, and Kari Roth, Senior Technology Integrator.  This multidisciplinary pilot project attempted to fill gaps within the engineering curriculum by offering instruction and practice in communication through a high-quality, industry-led learning experience for students.  Industry partners engaged in conversations with students about their teams’ design responses to the problem, allowing the students to gain one-on-one attention from practicing engineers and to hone their interpersonal and communication skills while completing their projects.

Team presentation 3

A student design team shares their proposal with the class and judges.

“Today’s engineering students need engaging, contextually-positioned technical communications, project management, entrepreneurial thinking, and teamwork instruction and practice in order to perform well in advanced discipline-specific engineering classes, internships, capstone, and in their entry level engineering positions,” said Faure.  “This project was designed to provide important skill-building through an authentic, hands-on experience, which today’s students crave, while fulfilling an essential component of the General Education curriculum.  It gives students a unique experience without adding credit hours to their curriculum or cost to their college expenses.”

 

“This wasn’t just a hypothetical situation… It was a very real problem and we talked to real engineers, real businessmen from real companies, to solve a real need.” – Ben Beecroft, second-year student, computer science and engineering

 

Student design groups were able to present their final designs at an evening event in the new Materials Innovation space on Kinnear Road.  Each group was given up to 15 minutes to present their vessel design to the judges, Dr. Bill Benson and Michael Luh from Worthington Industries, and Mel DeJarnette with Select Sires. The lively presentations included videos, prototypes, and many unique suggestions to best transport Select Sires’ bull semen samples across the country safely to its customers.  All teams received constructive feedback from the judges, who had the difficult task of selecting a winning design.  Worthington Industries generously provided gift cards to all members of the winning team – Alex Machtay, Matt Rowland, Robert Jankovsky, and Adam DeNise.

The winning student design team (Alex Machtay, Matt Rowland, Robert Jankovsky, and Adam DeNise) joined by judges Mel DeJarnette with Select Sires and Dr. Bill Benson and Michael Luh from Worthington Industries

The winning student design team (Alex Machtay, Matt Rowland, Robert Jankovsky, and Adam DeNise) joined by judges Mel DeJarnette with Select Sires and Dr. Bill Benson and Michael Luh from Worthington Industries

The industry partners who participated in the pilot said they enjoyed working with the students, were surprised and pleased at the quality of their projects, and would welcome continuing the collaboration in the future with another cohort. One student from this class is now being considered for a summer internship with Worthington Industries.

The hope is that the success of this authentic, interdisciplinary learning experience paves the way for an “integrated curriculum” that crosses college boundaries, offering students of all majors engaging, high-quality learning experiences that more accurately prepare students to be effective in the workplace or in graduate schools regardless of their disciplinary interests.

Participants in the student design presentations event included ENGR 2367 students, instructor Mary Faure, and representatives from Worthington Industries, Select Sires, and the Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability program.

Participants in the student design presentations event included ENGR 2367 students, instructor Mary Faure, and representatives from Worthington Industries, Select Sires, and the Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability program.

Ardeshir Contractor Gives Energy and Environment Discovery Themes Seminar February 7

Join us Tuesday, February 7th at 2:00 PM for “Factors Influencing Product Innovation in Solar Markets,” an Energy and Environment Discovery Themes Seminar with Ardeshir Contractor, Founder and CEO of Kiran Energy, IMR Executive in Residence, and Ohio State Mechanical Engineering alumn. This talk will focus on both product innovation in solar energy and innovation in sustainability financing, and will be of interest to those working in materials science, energy policy, clean tech, entrepreneurship,  global sustainability, business and finance, and innovation.

 

Energy and Environment Discovery Themes Seminar

 

 

Contractor photoArdeshir Contractor, Founder and CEO, Kiran Energy

Factors Influencing Product Innovation in Solar Energy Markets

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

2:00 – 3:30 PM

Mason Hall, 2nd Floor Rotunda, 250 West Woodruff Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210

Reception immediately following program

Registration: Discovery Themes Survey RSVP 

 

 

 

Co-sponsored by the Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability Discovery Theme focus area, Institute for Materials Research and Fisher College of Business

 

Abstract

Background

In 2010, Ardeshir Contractor raised $80M from three US private equity investors and a joint venture with First Solar to build Kiran Energy – a solar energy utility at the forefront of India’s solar energy market.  In its journey, the company examined and deployed multiple innovative products seeking higher performance with leap-frog cost economics and also set early benchmarks in non-recourse project financing.

This talk will focus on both product innovation in solar energy and innovation in sustainability financing.  The size of the solar energy market is significant – nearing an annual investment in solar energy new power plants of $250B.  Solar modules, inverters, monitoring systems, and storage comprise most of this number.  The addressable market for the introduction of new solar technology or product innovation is very large and allows for immense scalability.  The solar market is truly global both in terms of markets and suppliers.

 

Product innovation in solar energy

The seminar will include a review of effective product introductions, many of which exhibit similar characteristics of product astuteness and a drive to forward-looking performance and commercial targets.  Not all successes have been smooth, some of the leaders have had setbacks including unforeseen technical issues.  The large amounts of investment required for manufacturing and selling implied a constant requirement to maintain the path and story of strong financial returns.  Blending aggressive technology and commercial innovation appears to have worked. It is useful to examine how such dual innovation is embedded in a product offering.

 

Innovation in sustainability financing

Solar energy components and systems are expected to function for 20-30 years and the overlay of bankability and financing are critical especially for innovative technology.  The long-term nature of the finance and returns – coupled with the very scale of the explosive investment needs – has required the development of new financial market products and market sources.  Very quickly the sustainable financing story has evolved from government and agency support to mainline financial markets.  However, analytical processes and the banking institutions are still retooling for this.  In addition, an asset that functions over such a long term would require financial evaluation and analysis methods that align with its characteristics.  The approach is to describe these efforts, the evolution of sustainable financing and what it implies to product innovation.

 

Speaker Biography 

Ardeshir Contractor chairs India’s solar energy task force at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and partners with the government in developing policy, standards, and technological opportunity for Indian manufacture in solar.  He is also an adjunct Research Associate with Edhec Infrastructure Institute, Singapore, investigating long term asset finance principles.  In December 2015, he addressed the United Nations at the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21), and he was deeply involved with the UN Environment Programme’s Enquiry on the design of a global sustainable financial system.  Mr. Contractor has served on the boards of Nature India, Government Committees, and Clean Energy Ministerial.  He received his Masters in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University, was the recipient of the 2015 College of Engineering’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and is currently an Executive in Residence with the Institute for Materials Research.

 


Ohio State’s materials research engine and the Discovery Themes program it drives are helping to position Ohio State as a model 21st-century land-grant university focused on interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. The depth and breadth of our faculty, the ingenuity of our students and the global reach of our partners is at the heart of Discovery at Ohio State.