Rock Products

JUN 2013

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Scientists Discover Formula to Turn Cement into Metal A team of scientists from Japan, Finland and Germany have discovered the formula to turn liquid cement into liquid metal. This makes ce‐ ment a semi‐conductor and opens up its use in the consumer electronics marketplace for thin films, protective coatings and computer chips. Previously only metals have been able to transi‐ tion to a metallic‐glass form. Cement does this by a process called electron trapping, a phe‐ nomena only previously seen in ammonia solu‐ tions. Understanding how cement joined this exclusive club opens the possibility of turning other solid, normally insulating materials into room‐temperature semiconductors. "This phenomenon of trapping electrons and turning liquid cement into liquid metal was found recently, but not explained in detail until now. Now that we know the conditions needed to create trapped electrons in materials we can develop and test other materials to find out if we can make them conduct electricity in this way," stated Chris Benmore, a physicist from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, who along with Shinji Ko‐ hara of Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute/SPring‐8 led the research effort. The team of scientists studied mayenite, a com‐ ponent of alumina cement made of calcium and aluminum oxides. They melted it at tempera‐ tures of 2,000 C using an aerodynamic levitator with carbon dioxide laser beam heating. The material was processed in different atmos‐ pheres to control the way that oxygen bonds in the resulting glass. The levitator kept the hot liquid from touching any container surfaces and forming crystals, allowing the liquid to cool into a glassy state that could trap electrons in the way needed for electronic conduction. The levi‐ tation method was developed specifically for in‐ situ measurement at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source by a team led by Benmore. The scientists discovered that the conductivity was created when the free electrons were "trapped" in the cage‐like structures that form in the glass. The trapped electrons provided a mechanism for conductivity similar to the mechanism that occurs in metals. To uncover the details of this process, scientists combined several experimental techniques and analyzed them using a supercomputer. They confirmed the ideas in experiments using differ‐ ent X‐ray techniques at Spring 8 in Japan com‐ bined with earlier measurements at the Intense Pulsed Neutron Source and the Advanced Pho‐ ton Source. The results were reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the official journal of the United States National Academy of Sciences. Thompson Pump's Workshop is a Success Thompson Pump & Manufacturing Co. Inc. held its 23rd an‐ nual Pumpology School, April 17‐19, at its corporate facilities in Port Orange, Fla. The company hosted 55 attendees from 15 states and seven foreign countries. The three‐day work‐ shop included training sessions for sales and service‐ori‐ ented professionals on pumping fundamentals, dewatering and bypass applications, selecting the correct pumping equipment, designing, installing and maintaining pumping systems, troubleshooting, pump maintenance and more. son, Thompson Pump president. "Pumpology School pro‐ vides a great learning opportunity for students and Thomp‐ son Pump alike." Pumpology School offers hands‐on demonstrations and classroom training from industry experts. Upon completion of training and successfully passing a comprehensive ex‐ amination, attendees are recognized as certified Pumpolo‐ gists. "Building on our tradition of excellence – this was our most successful Pumpology School yet," said Bill Thomp‐ 58 ROCKproducts • JUNE 2013 www.rockproducts.com

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