Astonishing Breakthrough - New Electronics Industry Born

SAN DIEGO (UPI) A new discovery in electronics and building materials could allow car body panels to store energy and airplane wings to reveal microscopic fractures.
Researchers are announcing today that hair-thin carbon fibers glued together with epoxy used for decades to build airplanes and other structures also can conduct electricity. That discovery, they say, will lead to the birth of a new electronics technology that will endow structural building materials with unique electrical properties.
Deborah Chung, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Buffalo, says the discovery lays the foundation for a new technology called structural electronics, that could lead to aircraft components that are huge energy-storage devices, solar cars whose body panels can store energy, and even computers without traditional silicon chips.
Whole Piece is Smart
"This discovery makes the electronics vanish into the structure itself," Chung says. With this material, the whole piece is smart, and no electrical interconnection is needed.
The material opens up the possibility of smart structures that could sense and behave intelligently like humans and of new kinds of electronics that are less costly to make and that save space, Chung says.
Chung is presenting her finding at the International Symposium on Smart Structures and Materials in San Diego.
The carbon fiber material is both a metal and a conductor, so it does not need electrical wires and contacts.
She said the carbon material is easier and less expensive to fabricate than silicon, which requires extremely clean factories. In addition, it is stronger than silicon, which tends to be brittle.
Monitoring Structures
"This is an important finding and an interesting innovation," says Victor Li of the University of Michigan's civil engineering department, who is familiar with Chung's work. "It implies combining electronics and structural functions, which has not been done before."
It also gives engineers a way to monitor the structures they build more closely.
"If an airplane wing develops cracks you can't always see them," says ceramic engineering professor Patrick Nicholson of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. "Until now, there has been no way of monitoring the behavior of materials in flight. But this material could give us feedback."
Chung and her colleagues are now building some experimental devices, including light-emitting diodes for electronic equipment, to see how well the material works in practical use.
Comment From Paul Seniura <
After reading the ABC News announcement re: carbon fiber & epoxy building materials, did you get a strong hint as to what they may really be saying, only they can't admit it?
When I first read that article, I started thinking to myself, "Surely they already knew about the electrical properties of carbon." Then why did they make such an obvious announcement?
In Col. Corso's book (I'm still stuck in chapter 10!), I definitely remember mention of the 'skin' surrounding the supposed captured spacecraft near Roswell, NM, in 1947. And mention of the 'body suits' clinging tightly to the supposed captured/rescued EBEs.
Col. Corso said part of the research of these 'skins' supposedly led to Kevlar bullet-proof vests. I don't recall much if anything about Nylon & Polyester, but I dare say DuPont may have been in on this research, too. ;)
I really don't know who discovered (or 'invented') the carbon-fiber/epoxy process, but now it seems to me it may be part of that research as well.
And now we're told this process can do so many *more* wonderful things!
I'm hoping to show what else we've all been missing. Well, the ABC News article kicked me in the rear so-to-speak... Now's the time.
The last paragraph in the ABC News article mentions LEDs (light-emitting diodes). Take my next series of ideas with a grain of salt if you want, but I feel compelled to say it. I know it's long, but please follow along.
One of Art Bell's sponsors (C.Crane Co.?) sells (imports, I believe) a three-band (AM, FM, shortwave to 30MHz) radio powered by a hand-cranked charging system -- no batteries. It's suppose to play up to 30 minutes "at full-room volume" after a 30-second crank. (I know some things about that charging system: it really is legit, and again I believe may have come from similar untold research.)
Art Bell has lately been saying another newer model from that same company includes a "100,000-hour light" that's bright enough to use for room illumination -- again for up to 30 minutes per 30-second charge, and even while the radio is playing.
Companies do make "super-bright LEDs" these days. Where I live I can buy any color off the shelf -- yes even TRUE BLUE, which is apparently still awfully expensive (other colors are dime-a-dozen almost). (The DigiKey Corp. is a good reliable catalog warehouse from which to order these; check out <
Keep those LEDs & charging system in mind. Follow me now to London, England, where a well-known university has finally recently announced "flat screen displays" of the type we've all been waiting for. They and their funders (including Sony) have formed a private company I think in an effort to license the patents &/or sell their own manufactured screens. This 'invention' has been known to seem like 'vaporware': they've announced their 'readiness' many times over the past year or so to bear no fruit. But a while back I did see some articles in prestigious science magazines covering this process. I believe their current problems are only to make it cost-effective & affordable.
Similar to the way printed circuit boards are made, they can literally "paint" these chemicals onto anything -- anything! -- and can even use silk-screening & other printing processes to do so.
What are these chemicals? Some kind of fluorescent plastic semiconductors; if I recall correctly, it's ORGANIC, "long" molecules, quite the opposite of silicon & carbon & metal-based electronic parts usually formed from growing crystals. Hence 'plastic' or 'paint'. They call it "Light-Emitting Polymers" or LEP for short.
This "paint" is flexible as well. Put that on flexible circuit boards (yet another recent advance, I actually had a sample) -- such a board & its metal tracings can bend around a pencil, even -- and you got the makings of London's new flat-screen displays.
They intend this technology to completely replace our picture tubes & liquid-crystal displays in as little as 10 years. The main web site, Cambridge Display Technology, is <
Whew! I feel like James Burke of Connections fame (on PBS and TLC/Discovery channels), trying to relate a bunch of seemingly disjointed facts into a common thread. Not thru yet...
One more amazing thing that ABC News had a pointer to: magnetic levitation. Another university is experimenting with this, I'm sure you know. Last night I downloaded several of their QuickTime movies demonstrating that they can 'lift' many different kinds of materials -- even living -- with no apparent harm. Some of those video clips came from CNN, so I *know* this has been broadcast within the past two or three years. Check out < for more on this. (There is at least one EDU site in USA involved with this, too, I believe, but I've lost the URL.)
Lastly, don't forget Super-Conductivity. Researchers have been finding materials that do this without having to be so 'cold'.
Put all this together. Ya got a 'new smart material' with the carbon-fiber/epoxy advances, ya got a potentially huge 'power-charging and storage system', ya got other materials that can distribute the power without loss, ya got 'super-bright lights' that run totally cool & don't drain the batteries much at all themselves, ya got fiber optics to carry that light, and ya got maglev. (I know I haven't mentioned "everything", blame my own naivete. ;)
I think thousands of people have seen this technology before, probably in its ORIGINAL FORMS not to mention black-budget versions, if you get my drift.
[I guess I better say I have no stock nor interest in the companies mentioned above, other than being a possible customer.]

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