Innovation in Materials Science

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Authors: Elena Beretta, Alberto Gandolfi, C.C.A. Sastri
Abstract: We present some examples of mathematical discoveries whose original import was mainly theoretical but which later ended up triggering extraordinary ad- vances in engineering, sometimes all the way down to technological realizations and market products. The examples we cite include Markov chains and Markov random fields, spin glasses, large deviations and the inverse conductivity problem, and their effects in various areas such as communication and imaging technologies.
Authors: Michael C. Connelly, Jainagesh A. Sekhar
Abstract: We explore an improved method for the measurement of innovation and innovative activity across long life-cycles especially where patentable technology plays a part in the innovation. In a previous publication we were able to distinguish four stages of a long life cycle. In this article we examine whether the patent life cycle and the production activity life cycle are related. Two conventional schools of thought commonly exist in reference to measurement of technical innovation, one suggesting the use of patents as the best indicator of innovative activity, and the other recommending alternative means, not using patent data. This article proposes a novel method of measurement utilizing yearly patent counts. A model was developed using nine metals whose yearly production activity was correlated with patent counts associated with the same materials. This correlated data was then entered into best-fit equations to obtain fitted patent and activity life cycle curves. Differences in the origins of these fitted curves were interpreted as lags of time in the life cycle of the patent or activity thus allowing for comparisons between patents and innovation activity. The behavior of the number of patents with time was found to be similar to production growth, making patents a measure and representation of technical innovation. In conclusion we were able to categorize the metals into three groups. Group 1, containing nickel and chromium, are metals whose patent activity is driving their production. Group 2, containing aluminum, zinc and copper, are metals in which production is driving the patenting. Group 3, which is composed of the Stage IV metals iron, manganese, molybdenum and tungsten, represents materials that have no current innovative activity that can be measured or correlated to the patent activity. The results suggest a fertile field of future research extending the initial pattern equation model to include R&D, Patents, and Performance, as well as Sales, as innovation activity. Further, the model shows promise for the analysis and assessment of existing and future industrial technology life cycles involving materials, processes, products, software and service innovations.
Authors: John P. Dismukes, Lawrence K. Miller, Andrew Solocha, John A. Bers
Abstract: This study addresses past, current and future development of the wind electrical power industry, that began prior to 1890 in Cleveland, Ohio and Askov, Denmark. Overcoming technological, business, societal and political hurdles required approximately 120 years of exploration to establish wind electricity generation as a radical innovation entering the acceleration stage of the industrial technology life cycle. Materials and integrated materials systems featuring mechanical, structural, fluid dynamic, electrical, electronic, and telecommunications functionality developed and introduced over that period have contributed uniquely to current commercial viability of wind turbine electrical power generation. Further growth and maturation is expected to continue to ≈ 2100, corresponding to a life cycle of ≅ 210 years. This finding has profound implications for radical innovation theory and practice, since historical analysis attributes a 50-60 year life cycle for 5 industrial revolutions, and emerging theory anticipates acceleration of radical innovation, as discussed in companion papers in this conference. Rapid growth in installed capacity of large scale wind turbines (>1MW) now positions wind electrical power generation in the Acceleration Stage, characterized by market competition between dominant wind turbine designs and societal acceptance by wind energy communities of practice in Europe, North America and Asia. Technical cost model based learning curve projections of Cost of Electricity (COE) suggest that by 2020 COE from wind will be competitive, without tax incentives, with electricity from conventional fossil and nuclear fuel sources. Capture by wind energy of up to 20% of the world electricity market appears likely by the end of the 21st Century.
Authors: David W. Swenson
Abstract: In today’s global market system innovation is the driver for economic development and wealth creation. Developing a competitive advantage now requires a business culture of rapid innovation, collaborative strategies, a systematic methodology, and a culture of concurrent change. This is the reality in today’s innovation economy and particularly relative to developing alternative energy systems and materials. With the ever-increasing requirements for energy in a growing economy and the political, environmental, and resource constraints prevalent in today’s world, new, more efficient energy systems are mandatory. The U.S. has experienced inadequate energy generation capacity in key geographic regions further emphasizing the need to enhance our energy generation capacity through a multitude of energy sources. A viable capacity additive to this supply and demand dilemma is the development of alternative energy sources such as fuel cells, photovoltaics, and wind. To achieve this capacity additive will require significant advancement in key engineering materials combined with innovation stimulants to leap-frog the current performance and cost barriers for competitive energy producing alternatives. The energy demand curve experienced globally over the past few years illustrates unmet market needs where opportunity exists to develop innovative key materials to enable the projected growth for renewable and biomass markets. To accelerate advanced materials to market in the energy arena requires a system of enabling innovation combined with the development of a collaborative approach to optimize available resources. Collaborative partnerships between multiple companies incorporating technology, market/distribution, and financial investors are essential to optimize innovation and successful commercialization of technology. Higher value disruptive innovations meet new market needs while pushing a company to new technology and/or capability requirements. Competitive success for innovative technology increasingly depends on speed to market and speed to profits.
Authors: E.C. Subbarao
Abstract: Disruptive inventions in electroceramics arose out of need for greatly improved properties or short-supply of existing materials, or, more importantly, serenpedity. In the case of ceramic capacitors, the key property of the material, dielectric constant, jumped from less than 10 (mica) to 100 (titania) to over 1000 (barium titanate ceramics) to over 10,000 (relaxor ferroelectrics) to over 100,000 (multilayer ceramics). The challenge for miniaturization demanded by integrated circuits was thus met. An excellent insulator such as barium titanate was converted into a good conductor by doping but the unexpected discovery was the abrupt increase in electrical resistivity over a million fold at the Curie temperature, opening new vistas of applications. The disruptive invention of superconductivity in oxide ceramics, that too at easily accessible, above liquid nitrogen, temperatures created unprecedented scientific efforts. The discovery of piezoelectric properties in lead zirconate titanate ceramics totally transformed the entire field of transducers, sensors and actuators. Mixing a piezoelectric ceramic powder and a polymer into a composite with controlled connectivity in 0, 1, 2 or 3 directions led to an unbelievable range of piezoelectric and electrostrictive properties and applications. Ceramics, noted for their opacity, have become endowed with superior electro-optic properties by magical alchemy.
Authors: Stephen J. Pearton, Wan Tae Lim, Yu Lin Wang, K. Shoo, D.P. Norton, Je Won Lee, F. Ren, John M. Zavada
Abstract: There is strong interest in new forms of transparent, flexible or wearable electronics using non-Si materials deposited at low temperature on cheap substrates. While Si-based thin film transistors (TFTs) are widely used in displays, there are some drawbacks such as light sensitivity and light degradation and low field effect mobility (<1 cm2/Vs). For example, virtually all liquid crystal displays (LCDs) use TFTs imbedded in the panel itself. One of the promising alternatives to use of Si TFTs involves amorphous or nanocrystalline n-type oxide semiconductors. For example, there have been promising results with zinc oxide, indium gallium oxide and zinc tin oxide channels. In this paper, recent progress in these new materials for TFTs is reviewed. It is expected that GaInZnO transistor arrays will be used for driving laminar electroluminescent, organic lightemitting diode (OLED) and LCD displays. These transistors may potentially operate at up to an order of magnitude faster than Si FTFs.
Authors: Robert Schafrik, Robert Sprague
Abstract: High temperature structural materials, such as nickel-based superalloys, have contributed immensely to societal benefit. These materials provide the backbone for many applications within key industries that include chemical and metallurgical processing, oil and gas extraction and refining, energy generation, and aerospace propulsion. Within this broad application space, the best known challenges tackled by these materials have arisen from the demand for large, efficient land-based power turbines and light-weight, highly durable aeronautical jet engines. So impressive has the success of these materials been that some have described the last half of the 20th century as the Superalloy Age. Many challenges, technical and otherwise, were overcome to achieve successful applications. This paper highlights some of the key developments in nickel superalloy technology, principally from the perspective of aeronautical applications. In the past, it was not unusual for development programs to stretch out 10 to 20 years as the materials technology was developed, followed by the development of engineering practice, and lengthy production scaleup. And many developments fell by the wayside. Today, there continue to be many demands for improved high temperature materials. New classes of materials, such as intermetallics and ceramic materials, are challenging superalloys for key applications, given the conventional wisdom that superalloys are reaching their natural entitlement level. Therefore, multiple driving forces are converging that motivate improvements in the superalloy development process. This paper concludes with a description of a new development paradigm that emphasizes creativity, development speed, and customer value that can provide superalloys that meet new needs.
Authors: Gene A. Danko
Abstract: Innovations in gas turbine engine design and materials are tracked from the earliest days of functional engines to the present. Materials and design are shown to be mutually interdependent, driving engine capability to unprecedented levels of performance with each succeeding product generation.
Authors: L. Lawrence Chapoy, John M. Lally
Abstract: Innovations are tracked and explained for four different classes of Ophthalmologic devices: contact lenses, intraocular lenses, intracorneal rings and viscoelastic agents. Successive improvements in the performance profile of these devices are driven by deficiencies that come to light for each version of the device, thus leading to a continuous evolution and product improvement. Standard considerations of materials engineering property profiles can and do apply. There is nothing mysterious about the use of such materials in connection with devices used for ophthalmology. The motivation leading to such innovation is the value proposition relating to the research and development expenditures and the promise of an eventual return.

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