Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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This Versatile Stress Sensor Actually Retains Its Cool, Even When Working in Lava Eruptions

Researchers from the College of Houston and King Abdullah College of Science and Know-how (KAUST) have developed piezoelectric sensors which may flex beneath strain and function in excessive environments — together with in temperatures related to volcanic eruptions.

The group, led by corresponding writer Jae-Hyun Ryou, affiliate professor of mechanical engineering, was searching for methods to construct sensors which might survive the place normal electronics would fail — high-pressure petrochemical pipelines from geothermal wells the place the temperature reaches over 1,100°F and mafic volcanic lava eruptions which get as scorching as 1,650°F. “Extremely delicate, dependable and sturdy sensors that may tolerate such excessive environments are mandatory for the effectivity, upkeep, and integrity of those functions,” Ryou explains.

The group’s work builds on earlier efforts to show single-crystal gallium nitride movies into piezoelectric strain sensors — the outcomes of which outperformed rival units however started to lose sensitivity when heated above 660°F. Deciding the design wanted a wider bandgap — the minimal vitality wanted to excite an electron and thus conduct electrical energy — the group switched to aluminum nitride movies as an alternative, and found a serious enchancment in most working temperature.

“Our plan is to make use of the sensor in a number of harsh eventualities,” Ryou says of the group’s real-world testing plans, following lab experiments which included working the sensor inside a high-temperature furnace. “For instance, in nuclear crops for neutron publicity and hydrogen storage to check beneath excessive strain. AlN sensors can function in neutron-exposed atmospheres and at very high-pressure ranges due to its secure materials properties.”

The researchers are additionally different makes use of for the sensor know-how, together with utilizing its flexibility in wearable well being monitoring programs and mushy robotics — however there is no phrase but on a timeline for commercialization. “It is onerous to place a selected date on when that could be,” says first writer Nam-In Kim, “however I believe it is our job as engineers to make it occur as quickly as potential.”

The group’s work has been revealed beneath closed-access phrases within the journal Superior Practical Supplies.



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