AM&p enewsletter wednesday, September 30, 2009

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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DOE awards half-billion dollar loan to Fisker Automotive to develop plug-in hybrid

Fisker Automotive and the U.S. Department of Energy have agreed to terms for a loan of more than half a billion dollars to create affordable, fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid electric cars. A majority of the low-interest funds will go toward the design, engineering, and assembly of Fisker Automotive’s next-generation plugin hybrids. The funds are part of the DOE’s $25-billion Advanced Technologies Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program, created by Congress in November 2008 to help promote the development of energy-efficient, advanced-technology vehicles.

A hybrid solar cell has been developed at Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands. Researchers developed a precursor compound that mixes with a polymer and is converted into a nanoscale metal oxide after it is incorporated in the photoactive layer. This allows better mixing and enables extracting up to 50% of the absorbed photons as charges in an external circuit. However, the power conversion efficiency of 2% in sunlight must be enhanced to make them really useful.

Manufacturing processes for solar cells that could cut the cost of solar power by 20% and raise the efficiency of multicrystalline silicon cells to ~18% have been announced by startup 1366 Technologies of Lexington, Mass. In sunny environments, this could bring the cost of solar down to about 15 or 16 cents per kilowatt hour. The company has made full-size solar cells with the type of equipment used in large-scale manufacturing.



The basic elements of a solar cell made of carbon nanotubes instead of traditional silicon has been developed by Cornell University researchers. They fabricated, tested, and measured a simple solar cell called a photodiode, formed from an individual carbon nanotube. Shining lasers of different colors onto different areas of the nanotube, they found that higher levels of photon energy had a multiplying effect on how much electrical current was produced.


Video of the Week: Alkali metals react explosively with water.
Watch the fireworks as the alkali metals lithium through cesium are dropped into water.


Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A, “Fracture and Delamination of Chromium Thin Films on Polymer Substrates” by M.J. Cordill, A. Taylor, J. Schalko, and G. Dehm has been chosen by Dr. David Laughlin, editor of Metallurgical and Materials Transactions, as an Editor’s Choice article for Open Access.
Open Access articles are freely available to all readers at no charge on SpringerLink.  As a member of ASM, members can access the full-text of all articles in Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A&B.
Fracture and Delamination of Chromium Thin Films on Polymer Substrates
New emerging technologies in the field of flexible electronic devices require that metal films adhere well and flex with polymer substrates. Common thin film materials used for these applications include copper (Cu) with an adhesion interlayer of chromium (Cr). Copper can be quite ductile and easily move with the polymer substrate. However, Cr is more brittle and fractures at lower strains than Cu. This study aims to examine the fracture and subsequent buckling and delamination of strained Cr films on polyimide (PI).READ THE ARTICLE


High quality attendance at ASM Heat Treating Expo
Due to the current economy, expectations for the ASM Heat Treating Society Conference & Exposition were not high – but exhibitors were pleased by the number and quality of attendees at the event in Indianapolis. “The total number of attendees was down from previous ASM events, but the quality was definitely there,” said Carl Wesolowski, Inductotherm Group. “We talked to general managers, presidents, vice presidents of sales – the people who make executive decisions for their companies, which was fantastic.”
“We came away from the show with over 100 new qualified leads. We also received a first time order from the Cryogenic Institute of New England, and we had never quoted the owner before the show. Obviously we expected to come away from the show with new leads for potential clients, but it was even more exciting to get a first time order,” said James LaFollette, GeoCorp, Inc.

“I’m proud of what the Heat Treating Society and ASM Staff were able to provide to the heat treating community in Indianapolis,” said Thom Passek, HTS executive director. “It was truly a team effort. We expect that it will only get better two years from now, when we return to Indy in mid-September 2011 along with AGMA.”


ASM and Industrial Heating collaboration announced

HTS news to move to Industrial Heating in January
ASM International and Industrial Heating magazine have signed a letter of intent to collaborate on making Industrial Heating the official publication of the ASM Heat Treating Society (HTS). Once approved by both organizations, as of January 1, 2010, HTS member news will be published in Industrial Heating on a bi-monthly basis to provide coverage of society activities and events.
Industrial Heating also will become the official publication of the HTS Conference & Exposition, which will return to Indianapolis with the American Gear Manufacturers Association’s Gear Expo event in September 2011.
While HTS will discontinue publication of Heat Treating Progress magazine, the society will continue to publish all of its electronic products including its weekly enewsletter, the HTS website at, and sponsored webinars that provide in-depth coverage of heat treating for HTS members. The society also will continue to build on its role as the leading provider of education, knowledge, and networking to the heat treating community.
“Our strategic plan has made it a society-wide priority for us to build partnerships and collaborations that improve our members’ experience,” said Joe Zion, ASM Access Publisher. “Industrial Heating has been a strong voice within the Heat Treating Society, and we look forward to the opportunity to partner on new opportunities in the future.”
This collaborative effort will provide HTS members with the information and news they need, while enabling the society to focus on developing innovative online products that provide timely technical updates and trackable leads. “This collaboration is good for our membership and the heat treating community, and good for ASM,” Zion said. “We will keep you up to date as we move forward.”


STRESS RELIEF: Stress fracture, anyone?
Not that the heel of this shoe would fracture: it is made of laser-sintered titanium! However, the foot and ankle that would inhabit the shoe may very well have fracture issues. Kerrie Luft ( is a British footwear designer. “My latest collection ‘Nouveau’ defines the characteristics of Art Nouveau by rapid prototyping titanium to create the complex geometry of the heel.” The filigree titanium structures were built in an Eos Eosint rapid manufacturing machine.


The Complete Current Issue of AM&P is Now Available Online!

Click below to see the digital edition.



October 27-30

Sessions on Fuel Cells have attracted the highest number of papers and attendance at MS&T over the past several years. We’re building on this success with an ASM-produced symposium at MS&T 2009 in Pittsburgh, attracting members from academia, industries, and national labs to create a whole program that covers the entire scope of our materials challenges. We will begin with fuel cells, but our focus of clean energy efficiency means that we must work to achieve low or negligible pollution and greatly reduced carbon emissions that approach zero. MS&T gives our membership the opportunity to share in ideas and the progress that are benefiting our nation and the world. Take part in shaping a more secure, prosperous and greener future.

ISTFA 2009

The microelectronics FA event of the year is in the Silicon Valley.

ISTFA is in San Jose. And you know the way!

Plan now to attend ISTFA 2009.

Conference: November 15-19, 2009

Exposition: November 17-18, 2009
Education Short Courses: November 14-20, 2009

San Jose McEnery Convention Center

150 West San Carlos St.
San Jose, CA 95113

Don’t miss the industry’s premier event for microanalysis professionals.

- Hear original, unpublished work on FA topics presented by industry professionals from around the world.

- Attend technology-specific user groups.

- Learn more and take advantage of educational short courses and maximize your ISTFA experience.

- Do business and network at North America’s largest FA-related tradeshow.


ASM Member’s Voice: Failure analysis colleagues to honor Charles Morin at MS&T
Dennis McGarry, Ph.D.,P.E.

Project Engineer, S∙E∙A Limited, Columbus, Ohio

Throughout the vast spectrum of materials science and engineering, I have found failure analysis to be one of the most fascinating topics.  It’s also one of the most popular, because I can assure you that someday, you will be working on a failure investigation.

ASM’s failure analysis symposia at Materials Science & Technology (MS&T) have been among the most well attended sessions in recent years.  At October’s event in Pittsburgh, we will hold a special memorial symposium on failure analysis and prevention to honor the late Charles R. Morin, P.E.  Chuck was one of the founders of Engineering Systems Inc. and a leading failure analyst who worked on some of the most high-profile investigations of our times.
From the DC-10 accident in Sioux City, Iowa, to the crane collapse that occurred during construction of the Miller Park baseball stadium in Milwaukee, Chuck brought proven methodologies and techniques to his pursuit of the facts and his goal to determine the root cause.  His was a multidisciplinary approach, and he appreciated the complex interactions between design, specifications, construction and quality control.  “Do we really learn from our mistakes,” he would ask, stressing the importance of sharing knowledge and experiences so that lessons would not have to be expensively re-learned.
The presenters and topics covered at our failure analysis and prevention symposium will be invaluable to the practicing failure analyst, but also to the materials engineer interested in learning how it is done.  As I mentioned, you will most likely be involved in a failure investigation at some point in your career.  It’s a good idea to become familiar with the concepts and the professionals who work with failure analysis on a regular basis, to determine how they perform their analyses, and to learn from some of the top experts in our technical community. 
I encourage you to attend our symposium at MS&T in Pittsburgh.  You will not have a better opportunity to meet your fellow ASM members – friends and colleagues who are willing to share what they know so that all of us can truly learn from past mistakes.  Learn more about MS&T at


Stay current with ASM blogs, including the AM&P Blog and Roger Fabian’s “President’s Take”.


Materials Engineer

McSwain Engineering, Pensacola, Florida

McSwain Engineering, Inc. is seeking a Materials Engineer with failure analysis experience to assist with engineering investigations. Position requires independent research, case management and report preparation. For more details, visit
Visit the ASM Career Center at


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