Synthesis of Carbon Nitrides and Lithium Cyanamide from Carbon Dioxide

Michigan Tech professor Yun Hang Hu has developed a new process to recover and dispose of CO2 emissions from point-continuous sources, like power plants and other industry emitters. Through a chemical process, the sequestered CO2 is transformed into two usable products; amorphous carbon nitride (C3N4), a semiconductor; and, lithium cyanamide (Li2CN2), a substance used to formulate fertilizers. This invention provides an energy efficient, exothermic, and cost effective method for converting carbon dioxide, a harmful greenhouse gas, into useful materials.

This technology (U.S. Patent pending) is currently seeking commercialization partners for pilot plant validation. For more information contact Mike Morley in the Office of Innovation and Industry Engagement, (906) 487-3485.

Titanium Dioxide Nanotubes for Irregular Surfaces

Medicine utilizes implants to repair damaged hips, knees and teeth. Various methods have been developed to provide a roughened implant surface that promotes bone growth.  These methods include sandblasting and chemical etching however; high costs and potential toxicity have left the medical device industry looking for better alternatives in preparing artificial joints and teeth for implant.

At Michigan Tech, researchers have developed a system of low cost electrodes (replaces platinum electrodes) that can be positioned to create titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanotubes on an irregular surface.  The resulting nanotubes have an outside diameter of approximately 120nm and a wall thickness of 20nm. The tubes can be etched in a close-packed configuration or free standing configuration.

This technology offers many advantages over current medical implant, surface preparation, methods.  TiO2 nanotubes create an irregular surface conducive to osteoblast colonization and eliminate the need for highly toxic hydrofluoric acid in the etching process.  This technology provides a programmable method for electrochemically etching irregular surface shapes and low cost TiO2 nanotubes replace expensive platinum electrodes with a cheaper electrode material.  The TiO2 nanotube technology is ideally suited for irregular surfaces, is safer than other etching processes and improves the implant surface.

A utility patent application has been filed for this technology and exclusive license terms are available.  For more information contact John Diebel in the Office of Innovation and Industry Engagement, 906-487-1082.

Smart Control System for Suppressing Boom Oscillation in Heavy Hydraulic Equipment

A major problem facing operators of heavy hydraulic equipment is boom oscillation. Speed fluctuations resulting from moving and stopping payloads cause boom oscillations to occur. In turn, these oscillations transfer along the boom to longitudinal oscillation of the excavator body where they result in early wear on mechanical parts and harmful effects on human health including operator fatigue.

Manual correction is impossible given the time to dampen the oscillation for accurate placement of the bucket is greater than the time gained through increasing the maneuver speed. In addition to machine wear and operator health issues, this results in lower productivity.

The solution to this problem is a smart control system, developed at Michigan Tech, that implements an active boom oscillation control in hydraulic equipment. The control system continuously monitors the sensor signal inputs such as the hydraulic pressure profile of boom cylinder. The smart control system continuously analyzes the sensor profiles and evaluates the data to predict boom oscillations. When the system anticipates an upcoming boom oscillation, it generates one or more control impulse input motions to counteract the impending oscillation. The level of oscillation control experienced by test operators operating with this system is substantially greater than experienced with any competing oscillation control strategy or technology.

This technology offers a number of advantages when implemented on excavators, backhoes, wheel loaders and other similar equipment. It can be retrofitted onto existing equipment designs and improves operator’s working environment and performance. This technology also enhances dynamic stability and maximizes the life expectancy of the machine.

The smart control system has been tested at the laboratory and field scale on a commercially produced excavator. Development was in cooperation with a heavy equipment manufacturing company who holds a non-exclusive license. The smart control technology can be incorporated into existing heavy equipment designs and only requires the addition of an inexpensive signal processing control unit.

Additional non-exclusive license terms are available. For licensing information contact Mike Morley in the Office of Innovation and Industry Engagement, 906-487-3485.