Using AI to predict new materials with desired properties

Tsukuba, Japan, Aug 1, 2020 – (ACN Newswire) – Scientists in Japan have developed a machine learning approach that can predict the elements and manufacturing processes needed to obtain an aluminum alloy with specific, desired mechanical properties. The approach, published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, could facilitate the discovery of new materials.



Aluminum alloys are lightweight, energy-saving materials which are used for various purposes, from welding materials for buildings to bicycle frames. (Credit: Jozef Polc via123rf)



Aluminum alloys are lightweight, energy-saving materials made predominantly from aluminum, but also contain other elements, such as magnesium, manganese, silicon, zinc and copper. The combination of elements and manufacturing process determines how resilient the alloys are to various stresses. For example, 5000 series aluminum alloys contain magnesium and several other elements and are used as a welding material in buildings, cars, and pressurized vessels. 7000 series aluminum alloys contain zinc, and usually magnesium and copper, and are most commonly used in bicycle frames.

Experimenting with various combinations of elements and manufacturing processes to fabricate aluminum alloys is time-consuming and expensive. To overcome this, Ryo Tamura and colleagues at Japan's National Institute for Materials Science and Toyota Motor Corporation developed a materials informatics technique that feeds known data from aluminum alloy databases into a machine learning model. This trains the model to understand relationships between alloys' mechanical properties and the different elements they are made of, as well as the type of heat treatment applied during manufacturing. Once the model is provided enough data, it can then predict what is required to manufacture a new alloy with specific mechanical properties. All this without the need for input or supervision from a human.

The model found, for example, 5000 series aluminum alloys that are highly resistant to stress and deformation can be made by increasing the manganese and magnesium content and reducing the aluminum content. "This sort of information could be useful for developing new materials, including alloys, that meet the needs of industry," says Tamura.

The model employs a statistical method, called Markov chain Monte Carlo, which uses algorithms to obtain information and then represent the results in graphs that facilitate the visualization of how the different variables relate. The machine learning approach can be made more reliable by inputting a larger dataset during the training process.

Further information
Ryo Tamura
National Institute for Materials Science
tamura.ryo@nims.go.jp

Paper: https://doi.org/10.1080/14686996.2020.1791676

About Science and Technology of Advanced Materials Journal

Open access journal STAM publishes outstanding research articles across all aspects of materials science, including functional and structural materials, theoretical analyses, and properties of materials.

Chikashi Nishimura
STAM Publishing Director
NISHIMURA.Chikashi@nims.go.jp

Press release distributed by ResearchSEA for Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.

Copyright 2020 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved. http://www.acnnewswire.com

Let the robot swarms begin!

Scientists are looking for ways to make millions of molecule-sized robots swarm together so they can perform multiple tasks simultaneously.

Tsukuba, Japan, June 19, 2020 – (ACN Newswire) – Multi-disciplinary research has led to the innovative fabrication of molecule-sized robots. Scientists are now advancing their efforts to make these robots interact and work together in the millions, explains a review in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.

“Molecular robots are expected to greatly contribute to the emergence of a new dimension in chemical synthesis, molecular manufacturing, and artificial intelligence,” writes Hokkaido University physical chemist Dr. Akira Kakugo and his colleagues in their review.

Rapid progress has been made in recent years to build these tiny machines, thanks to supramolecular chemists, chemical and biomolecular engineers, and nanotechnologies, among others, working closely together. But one area that still needs improvement is controlling the movements of swarms of molecular robots, so they can perform multiple tasks simultaneously.

Towards this end, researchers have made molecular robots with three key components: microtubules, single-stranded DNA, and a light-sensing chemical compound. The microtubules act as the molecular robot’s motor, converting chemical energy into mechanical work. The DNA strands act as the information processor due to its incredible ability to store data and perform multiple functions simultaneously. The chemical compound, azobenzene derivative, is able to sense light, acting as the molecular robot’s on/off switch.

Scientists have made huge moving ‘swarms’ of these molecular robots by utilizing DNA’s ability to transmit and receive information to coordinate interactions between individual robots. See the video below.

Scientists have devised a new method of using DNA to control molecular robots. Molecules swarm like a flock of birds, showing different patterns of movement when this method is applied. (Copyright: Hokkaido University)

Scientists have successfully controlled the shape of those swarms by tuning the length and rigidity of the microtubules. Relatively stiff robots swarm in uni-directional, linear bundles, while more flexible ones form rotating, ring-shaped swarms.

A continuing challenge, though, is making separate groups of robots swarm at the same time, but in different patterns. This is needed to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. One group of scientists achieved this by designing one DNA signal for rigid robots, sending them into a unidirectional bundle-shaped swarm, and another DNA signal for flexible robots, which simultaneously rotated together in a ring-shaped swarm.

Light-sensing azobenzene has also been used to turn swarms off and on. DNA translates information from azobenzene when it senses ultraviolet light, turning a swarm off. When the azobenzene senses visible light, the swarm is switched back to on state.

“Robot sizes have been scaled down from centimeters to nanometers, and the number of robots participating in a swarm has increased from 1,000 to millions,” write the researchers. Further optimization is still necessary, however, to improve the processing, storing and transmitting of information. Also, issues related to energy efficiency and reusability, in addition to improving the lifetime of molecular robots, still need to be addressed.

Further information

Akira Kakugo
Hokkaido University
kakugo@sci.hokudai.ac.jp
Paper: https://doi.org/10.1080/14686996.2020.1761761

About Science and Technology of Advanced Materials Journal

Open access journal STAM publishes outstanding research articles across all aspects of materials science, including functional and structural materials, theoretical analyses, and properties of materials.

Chikashi Nishimura
STAM Publishing Director
NISHIMURA.Chikashi@nims.go.jp
Image and caption:

A molecular robot, which is typically between 100 nanometers to 100 micrometers long, requires an actuator, processor and sensor to function properly. By fine-tuning their mutual interactions, millions of robots can move together in swarms that are much bigger in size than a single robot, offering several advantages. Scale bar: 20 μm. (Copyright: Akira Kakugo)

Press release distributed by ResearchSEA for Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.



Copyright 2020 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved. http://www.acnnewswire.com

TANAKA Memorial Foundation Announces Recipients of Precious Metals Research Grants

TOKYO, Mar 31, 2020 – (ACN Newswire) – The TANAKA Memorial Foundation's Representative Director, Hideya Okamoto, announced the recipients of the FY2019 Precious Metals Research Grants.

Following a rigorous screening process, Gold Awards, each for 2 million yen, were presented to Professor Yasuhiro Konishi of Osaka Prefecture University and Associate Professor Kazuhiko Yamada of Kochi University. In addition, five research projects received Silver Awards, and two Young Researcher Awards were granted.

The TANAKA Memorial Foundation undertakes programs designed to foster developments in new precious metal fields while contributing to the advancement of science, technology, and socio-economics for the overall enrichment of society. The research grant program was launched in FY1999 and has continued each year since with the goal of supporting the various challenges of the "new world opened up by precious metals." This year, the program's 21st year, a total of 198 applications were received in a wide range of fields where precious metals can make contributions to the research and development of new technologies. A total of 16.1 million yen in research grants was awarded for 26 projects.

The names of the two Gold Award recipients, their research, and the reasons for their selection are below.

– Professor Yasuhiro Konishi, Osaka Prefecture University
Development of recycling technology that creates an industry for recycling precious metals from global e-waste
This research seeks to create a method of highly efficient selective recovery of precious metals in a liquid by using bread yeast (a common product) as a separating agent. Professor Konishi is researching the separation and recovery of precious metals through a simple technique using bread yeast that can be applied by anyone (not only in developed countries, but in developing countries as well). This research was highly rated for the creation of precious metal recycling technology that is less expensive, more efficient, uses less energy, and produces less carbon emissions than earlier techniques while offering the possibility of building a foundation for the promotion of an e-waste resource recycling industry.

– Associate Professor Kazuhiko Yamada, Kochi University
Elucidation of the mysterious surface of gold at a molecular level
This research seeks to elucidate the mysterious surface of gold at a molecular level using the world's only next-generation nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) device that can measure gold (197 Au). Gold has numerous applications as an industrial material in electronic components, optical sensors, catalysts, medical and diagnostic equipment and materials, and bonding agents, but there are not clear explanations of its organic bond structures and dynamic molecular behavior. By developing and introducing a high-sensitivity measurement system using NMR techniques, it will be possible to explain the structures and dynamic molecular behavior of organic metal bonds, and this research was highly rated for the potential to accelerate research and development.

Five Silver Awards, two Young Researcher Awards, and 17 Encouragement Awards were also granted. The recipients and an overview of the Precious Metals Research Grants are indicated below. Applications for the FY2020 research granted are scheduled to open in the fall.

List of FY2019 Precious Metals Research Grants Recipients

– Platinum Award (0 award, 5 million yen)
Non granted

– Gold Award (2 awards, 2 million yen each)

Yasuhiro Konishi, Professor, Osaka Prefecture University
Development of recycling technology that creates an industry for recycling precious metals from global e-waste

Kazuhiko Yamada, Associate Professor, Kochi University
Elucidation of the mysterious surface of gold at a molecular level

– Silver Awards (5 awards, 1 million yen each)

Norihiro Murayama, Professor, Kansai University
Development of an innovative gold separation and recovery process using a new organic reducing agent

Keisuke Ohto, Professor, Saga University
Sequential recovery of precious metals using a micro-reactor system

Takeshi Tsuji, Associate Professor, Shimane University
Creation of a method for production of binder-free platinum sub-micron particles

Toshinori Fujie, Lecturer, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Development of a wireless power supply on-body blood glucose sensor using digital fabrication

Hironori Ohba, Senior Principal Researcher, National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology
Creation of a precious metal continuous recovery system using laser atomization separation

– Young Researcher Awards (2 awards, 1 million yen each)

Akihiro Yoshimura, Assistant Professor, Chiba University
Creation of an innovative platinum-group metal recycling process using solid aqua regia

Yoshiaki Nishijima, Associate Professor, Yokohama National University
Excess hydrogen exposure response of gold-palladium alloys and hydrogen sensor applications

– Encouragement Award (17 awards, 300,000 yen each)

Hideaki Sasaki, Senior Assistant Professor, Ehime University
Teppei Araki, Assistant Professor, Osaka University
Chen Chuantong, Specially Appointed Associate Professor, Osaka University
Shingo Fukuda, Assistant Professor, Kanazawa University
Yoshiki Shimizu, Research Group Leader, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
Satoshi Hinokuma, Senior Researcher, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
Yasuo Suzuki, Visiting Professor, University of Shizuoka
Jiro Kondo, Associate Professor, Sophia University
Makoto Tanabe, Specially Appointed Associate Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Shintaro Yasui, Assistant Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Kazuhito Tabata, Associate Professor, The University of Tokyo
Junsaku Nitta, Professor, Tohoku University
Shinnosuke Horiuchi, Assistant Professor, Nagasaki University
Takeshi Kato, Associate Professor, Nagoya University
Akinobu Yamaguchi, Associate Professor, University of Hyogo
Kuniaki Nagamine, Associate Professor, Yamagata University
Kaoru Ohno, Professor, Yokohama National University

Overview of the 2019 Precious Metals Research Grants

Conditions:
– New technology related to precious metals.
– Research and development related to precious metals that bring about innovative evolution in products.
– Research and development of new products using precious metals.
*Precious metal refers to eight elements of platinum, gold, silver, palladium, rhodium, iridium, ruthenium and osmium.
*If development is conducted jointly (or planned to be) with other material manufacturers, please indicate so.
*Products that have already been commercialized, put to practical use, or that are planned are not eligible.

Grant amounts:
– Platinum Award: 5 million yen (1 award)
– Gold Award: 2 million yen (1 award)
– Silver Awards: 1 million yen (4 awards)
– Young Researcher Awards: 1 million yen (2 awards)
– Encouragement Award: 300,000 yen (several awards)
*The grant amount is treated as a scholarship donation.
*Awards may not be granted in some cases.
*The number of awards is subject to change.

Eligible Candidates:
– Personnel who belong to (or work for) educational institutions in Japan (universities, graduate schools, or technical colleges), or public and related research institutions.
– As long as the applicant is affiliated with a research institution in Japan, the base of activity can be in Japan or overseas.
– The Young Researcher Awards are for researchers under the age of 37 as of April 1, 2019.

Application period:
– 9am, September 2, 2019 (Mon) – 5pm, November 29, 2019 (Fri)

Inquiries concerning the research grant program:
Precious Metals Research Grants Office
Marketing Department, TANAKA Kikinzoku Kogyo K.K.
22F Tokyo Building, 2-7-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-6422
TEL: 03-6311-5596 FAX: 03-6311-5529 E-mail: joseikin@ml.tanaka.co.jp
TANAKA Memorial Foundation website: https://tanaka-foundation.or.jp

Press release: http://www.acnnewswire.com/clientreports/598/331.pdf

TANAKA Memorial Foundation

Established: April 1, 2015
Address: 22F Tokyo Building, 2-7-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Representative: Hideya Okamoto (Senior Advisor to TANAKA Holdings Co., Ltd.)
Purpose of Business: To provide grants for research related to precious metals to contribute to the development and cultivation of new fields for precious metals, and to the development of science, technology, and the social economy.
Areas of Business:
– Provision of grants for scientific and technological research related to precious metals.
– Recognition of excellent analysis of precious metals and holding of seminars and other events.

TANAKA Kikinzoku Kogyo K.K.

Headquarters: 22F, Tokyo Building, 2-7-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Representative: Akira Tanae, Representative Director & CEO
Founded: 1885
Incorporated: 1918
Capital: 500 million yen
Employees: 2,332 (including overseas subsidiaries) (as of March 31, 2019)
Sales: 765,869,423,000 yen (FY2018)
Main businesses: Manufacture, sales, import and export of precious metals (platinum, gold, silver, and others) and various types of industrial precious metals products.
Website: https://tanaka-preciousmetals.com

Press Inquiries
TANAKA HOLDINGS Co., Ltd.
https://tanaka-preciousmetals.com/en/inquiries-for-media/

Copyright 2020 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved. http://www.acnnewswire.com

Bringing the green revolution to electronics

Tsukuba, Japan, Feb 28, 2020 – (ACN Newswire) – Researchers are investigating how to make electronic components from eco-friendly, biodegradable materials to help address a growing public health and environmental problem: around 50 million tonnes of electronic waste are produced every year.



Designing electronics components using more eco-friendly materials could help reduce the impacts of the 50 million tonnes of e-waste produced annually.



Less than 20% of the e-waste we produce is formally recycled. Much of the rest ends up in landfills, contaminating soil and groundwater, or is informally recycled, exposing workers to hazardous substances like mercury, lead and cadmium. Improper e-waste management also leads to a significant loss of scarce and valuable raw materials, like gold, platinum and cobalt. According to a UN report, there is 100 times more gold in a tonne of e-waste than in a tonne of gold ore.

While natural biomaterials are flexible, cheap and biocompatible, they do not conduct an electric current very well. Researchers are exploring combinations with other materials to form viable biocomposite electronics, explain Ye Zhou of China's Shenzhen University and colleagues in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.

The scientists expect that including biocomposite materials in the design of electronic devices could lead to vast cost saving, open the door for new types of electronics due to the unique material properties, and find applications in implantable electronics due to their biodegradability.

For example, there is widespread interest in developing organic field effect transistors (FET), which use an electric field to control the flow of electric current and could be used in sensors and flexible flat-panel displays.

Flash memory devices and biosensor components made with biocomposites are also being studied. For example, one FET biosensor incorporated a calmodulin-modified nanowire transistor. Calmodulin is an acidic protein that can bind to different molecules, so the biosensor could be used for detecting calcium ions.

Researchers are especially keen to find biocomposite materials that work well in resistive random access memory (RRAM) devices. These devices have non-volatile memory: they can continue to store data even after the power switch is turned off. Biocomposite materials are used for the insulating layer sandwiched between two conductive layers. Researchers have experimented with dispersing different types of nanoparticles and quantum dots within natural materials, such as silk, gelatin and chitosan, to improve electron transfer. An RRAM made with cetyltrimethylammonium-treated DNA embedded with silver nanoparticles has also shown excellent performance.

"We believe that functional devices made with these fascinating materials will become promising candidates for commercial applications in the near future with the development of materials science and advances in device manufacturing and optimization technology," the researchers conclude.

Further information
Ye Zhou
Shenzhen University
yezhou@szu.edu.cn

Paper
https://doi.org/10.1080/14686996.2020.1725395

About Science and Technology of Advanced Materials Journal
Open access journal STAM publishes outstanding research articles across all aspects of materials science, including functional and structural materials, theoretical analyses, and properties of materials.

Shunichi Hishita
STAM Publishing Director
HISHITA.Shunichi@nims.go.jp

Press release distributed by ResearchSEA for Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.

Copyright 2020 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved. http://www.acnnewswire.com

Gaining more control over fuel cell membranes

Tsukuba, Japan, Feb 21, 2020 – (ACN Newswire) – More organization at the molecular level could improve the efficiency of membranes used in the hydrogen fuel cells that provide energy to electric cars and other industrial applications, according to a review published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.



Molecular orientation enhances proton conduction in proton-conductive polymers. (Copyright: Yuki Nagao)



Hydrogen fuel cells are the energy-producing components of electric cars. To work, they need to be able to split hydrogen molecules into positively charged protons and negatively charged electrons. A particular type of membrane – a proton-conducting polymer membrane – is used for this purpose. It only allows protons to pass through it, while the electrons get circuited around the membranes to create the desired electric current. Protons are then transported along a thin 'ionomer' film and then into an electrochemical catalyst where electrons and protons rejoin.

Research has shown that proton transport through the thicker proton-conducting polymer membranes is better than it is in the thinner ionomer ones.

This second part of the proton transport process must be studied to improve fuel cell performance, says materials scientist Yuki Nagao of the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, who has been researching proton-conducting films for many years.

Using state-of-the-art technologies, he and others have been looking into the molecular structures of ionomer films and have been finding that the more organized they are internally, the better they conduct protons.

Some ionomer films commonly used in hydrogen fuel cells are made with perfluorinated sulfonic acid. The films can be placed on surfaces made from substances such as silicon oxide, magnesium oxide, or sputtered platinum or gold. Nagao has found that proton conductivity in these films depends on the type of surface and may affect fuel cell performance.

Molecules in another type of film, made from alkyl sulfonated polyimide, become more organized with water uptake. This property is the result of the material's ability to enter a liquid crystal phase when solvent is added."

"Developing a better understanding of these properties and their impacts on proton conduction will be important for clarifying proton conduction mechanisms," explains Nagao.

Further research is needed to understand how to control molecular organization through the application of external magnetic fields, by employing their liquid crystal properties, or by developing hydrogen bond networks between polymer chains within the thin films. This could help lead to a variety of applications using highly proton-conductive polymer thin films.

Further information
Yuki Nagao
Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
ynagao@jaist.ac.jp

Paper
https://doi.org/10.1080/14686996.2020.1722740

About Science and Technology of Advanced Materials Journal
Open access journal STAM publishes outstanding research articles across all aspects of materials science, including functional and structural materials, theoretical analyses, and properties of materials.

Shunichi Hishita
STAM Publishing Director
HISHITA.Shunichi@nims.go.jp

Press release distributed by ResearchSEA for Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.

Copyright 2020 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved. http://www.acnnewswire.com

TANAKA to Exhibit at FC EXPO 2020

TOKYO, Feb 13, 2020 – (ACN Newswire) – TANAKA HOLDINGS Co., Ltd. (Head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director & CEO: Akira Tanae) announced that TANAKA KIKINZOKU KOGYO K.K. (Head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director & CEO: Akira Tanae), which operates TANAKA PRECIOUS METALS manufacturing business, will exhibit at "FC EXPO 2020 – 16th International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Expo," one of the world's largest fuel cell exhibitions, which will be held at Tokyo Big Sight from Wednesday, February 26 until Friday, February 28, 2020.



Artist's rendering of booth


Large evaluation CCM sample for water electrolysis electrode catalysts



TANAKA has started offering large evaluation samples of Catalyst Coated Membrane (CCM) used in solid polymer water electrolysis for manufacturing hydrogen from renewable energy and will exhibit this technology for the first time. The provision of large-sized CCMs for a coating surface of up to 1000 x 1000 mm, according to design requirements, will make it possible for equipment and infrastructure manufacturers to conduct large-sized tests in the initial development stages, thereby greatly contributing to shortening the time taken for technology development. Having such manufacturers use CCM with reliable performance as a benchmark in the development stages will also aid in developing more efficient solid polymer water electrolysis equipment.

Precious metal plating is essential for the metal parts used in fuel cell stacks and water electrolysis cell stacks to maintain strong electrical conduction properties. TANAKA has long engaged in developing Au, Pt, Pd, Rh, Ru, and Ir plating technology for base materials such as titanium and stainless steel. This is the first time that it will exhibit highly corrosion-resistant precious metal plating technology and rare precious metal plating technology.

Overview of FC EXPO 2020 – 16th International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Expo
Dates: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., February 26 (Wed.) to February 28 (Fri.), 2020 (closes at 5 p.m. on final day)
– Venue: Tokyo Big Sight West 4 Hall, TANAKA KIKINZOKU KOGYO K.K., booth number/ W27-31
– Official exhibition website: https://www.fcexpo.jp/en-gb.html

TANAKA will also exhibit various fuel cell-related products made using precious metals. These include its electrode catalysts for fuel cells that boasts a world-class shipment volume and is used in polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs), electrode catalysts for water electrolysis that are required to produce hydrogen, palladium hydrogen permeable films, which enable high purity hydrogen refinement, reforming catalysts, which can be used to produce hydrogen from hydrocarbons such as natural gases, PROX catalysts, which can selectively perform oxidation removal of carbon monoxide when hydrogen is generated, and combustion purifying catalysts that purify and deodorize impure gases generated during the hydrogen refinement process at low temperatures. (See the table below for a list of the main exhibits).

In recent years, a global trend toward the use of renewable energy as an alternative to fossil fuels is apparent and stems from the international framework provided by the Paris Agreement, adopted at COP21 with the purpose of eliminating greenhouse gases. Hydrogen energy is positioned as a central technology in this movement, with progress being made in the practical application of manufacturing hydrogen from renewable energy, storing and transporting energy by means of hydrogen, and utilizing hydrogen with fuel cells. Amid these global trends, TANAKA continues to proactively engage in the development of new technologies and contributes to the realization of a hydrogen-based society as a leading company in precious metal products.

Main contents of exhibit: Products marked with "*" will be exhibited for the first time

Electrode catalysts for water electrolysis
Electrode catalysts for anodes (oxygen generating electrodes) use an oxidation Ir system, while electrode catalysts for cathodes (hydrogen generating electrodes) utilize a Pt system. The catalysts offered have a large specific surface area and low electrolysis overpotential.

*Electrode catalysts for water electrolysis Evaluation CCM
Evaluation CCMs used for TKK electrode catalysts can be utilized as a standard CCM for development. It can now be offered for coating surfaces of up to 1000 x 1000 mm. These CCMs can even be utilized for intricate coating shapes and in small amounts.

*Precious metal plating products and electrodes
Substrate processing and precious metal plating are offered for products of various shapes, including for use as feeder plates for solid polymer electrode films. The amount of precious metals used can be reduced by making the plating thinner, using partial plating, and recoating technology.

Electrode catalysts for fuel cells
Electrode catalysts that are both active and durable have been developed by means of precious metal catalyst technology and electrochemical technology cultivated over many years. Highly active catalysts are provided for fuel cell cathodes, while catalysts with excellent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning-resistant properties are provided for anodes.

Palladium alloys, hydrogen permeable films
In fuel cell hydrogen production, we utilize palladium, the only metal that allows the sole permeation of hydrogen gas, thus enabling removal of impure gases from hydrogen gas materials. With TANAKA's original ultra-thin film processing technology and advanced cleaning technology, we are able to offer purified hydrogen gas that is highly reliable with maximum hydrogen permeability.

Reforming catalyst
A reforming catalyst is used to generate hydrogen from hydrocarbon such as natural gas. High active properties are maintained at a wide range of temperatures while suppressing the deposition of carbon, which tends to be problematic in reforming reactions. Catalysts that can suppress ammonia, a byproduct of nitrogen in reforming gas, are also available.

PROX catalysts
PROX catalysts perform selective oxidation removal on carbon monoxide to 10 ppm or below from hydrogen and carbon monoxide generated by means of reforming reactions. Displaying high active properties at a wide range of temperatures from low to high, these catalysts are supported by small amounts of precious metals, making it possible to offer them at a low cost.

Oxidation catalysts
These catalysts are used to convert toxic carbon monoxide and highly flammable hydrogen etc. that are ultimately discharged in fuel cell systems into harmless and safe carbon dioxide and water vapor by means of an oxidation reaction. Plating a metal honeycomb structure with a high-performance catalyst makes it possible to display high active properties from low temperatures without impairing the flow of processed gas.

Precious metal compounds
Precious metal compounds are used in numerous industrial fields as plating chemicals and catalysts. TANAKA can flexibly produce a range of products from general compounds such as gold potassium cyanide and palladium chloride to intricate organic precious metal compounds according to the use under comprehensive quality control systems.

TANAKA HOLDINGS Co., Ltd. (Holding company of TANAKA PRECIOUS METALS)
Headquarters: 22F, Tokyo Building, 2-7-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Representative: Akira Tanae, Representative Director & CEO
Founded: 1885
Incorporated: 1918**
Capital: 500 million yen
Employees in consolidated group: 5,123 (FY2018)
Net sales of consolidated group: 925,259 million yen (FY2018)
Main businesses of the group: Strategic and efficient group management and management guidance to group companies as the holding company at the center of TANAKA PRECIOUS METALS.
Website: https://www.tanaka.co.jp/english/
**TANAKA HOLDINGS adopted a holding company structure on April 1, 2010.

TANAKA KIKINZOKU KOGYO K.K.
Headquarters: 22F, Tokyo Building, 2-7-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Representative: Akira Tanae, Representative Director & CEO
Founded: 1885
Incorporated: 1918
Capital: 500 million yen
Employees; 2,332 (including overseas subsidiaries) (as of March 31, 2019)
Sales: 765,869,423,000 yen (FY2018)
Main businesses: Manufacture, sales, import and export of precious metals (platinum, gold, silver, and others) and various types of industrial precious metals products.
Website: https://tanaka-preciousmetals.com

About TANAKA PRECIOUS METALS
Since its foundation in 1885, TANAKA PRECIOUS METALS has built a diversified range of business activities focused on precious metals. TANAKA is a leader in Japan regarding the volumes of precious metals handled. Over the course of many years, TANAKA has not only manufactured and sold precious metal products for industry but also provided precious metals in such forms as jewelry and resources. As precious metals specialists, all Group companies within and outside Japan work together with unified cooperation between manufacturing, sales, and technological aspects to offer products and services. Additionally, to make further progress in globalization, TANAKA KIKINZOKU KOGYO welcomed Metalor Technologies International SA as a member of the Group in 2016.

As precious metal professionals, TANAKA PRECIOUS METALS will continue to contribute to the development of an enriching and prosperous society.

The five core companies that make up TANAKA PRECIOUS METALS are as follows.
— TANAKA HOLDINGS Co., Ltd. (pure holding company)
— TANAKA KIKINZOKU KOGYO K.K.
— TANAKA DENSHI KOGYO K.K.
— ELECTROPLATING ENGINEERS OF JAPAN, LIMITED
— TANAKA KIKINZOKU JEWELRY K.K.

Press inquiries:
TANAKA HOLDINGS Co., Ltd.
[URL] https://tanaka-preciousmetals.com/en/inquiries-for-media/
[PDF] http://www.acnnewswire.com/clientreports/598/200213.pdf

Copyright 2020 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved. http://www.acnnewswire.com

Using bone’s natural electricity to promote regeneration

Tsukuba, Japan, Feb 13, 2020 – (ACN Newswire) – Some materials show promise promoting bone regeneration by enhancing its natural electrical properties, according to a review in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.



Triboelectric nanogenerators (left) and piezoelectric materials (right) are being investigated for their potential to improve bone's natural healing properties. (Copyright: NIMS)



Some solids, including bone, enamel and quartz, form an electric field when deformed. This property, called the piezoelectric effect, happens when a mechanical force pushes atoms closer together or further apart, upsetting the electric balance and causing positive and negative charges to appear on opposite sides of a material.

Scientists discovered that bone was a piezoelectric material in 1957. Since then, they have found that piezoelectricity occurs when bone collagen fibres slide against each other. This leads to the accumulation of charges and the generation of a tiny current, which opens up calcium ion channels in bone cells called osteocytes. This triggers a cascade of signalling pathways that ultimately promote bone formation.

"Piezoelectricity is one of several mechanical responses of the bone matrix that allows bone cells to react to changes in their environment," explain biomedical engineer Zong-Hong Lin of Taiwan's National Tsing Hua University and medical doctor Fu-Cheng Kao of Taiwan's Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, who led the review.

Researchers are seeking to leverage this property to improve bone regeneration and repair. For example, they are exploring materials to fabricate tiny, self-powered electric generators that can be implanted inside or outside bone to stimulate its natural healing processes.

Some teams have significantly accelerated the proliferation and differentiation of mouse embryonic bone-forming cells when using a so-called triboelectric nanogenerator. An electric current is generated when two materials are separated and then brought back into contact. These nanogenerators have been tested with materials such as polydimethylsiloxane, indiumtin oxide, aluminium, and polytetrafluoroethylene. They are showing potential for treating osteoporosis and osteoporosis-related fractures.

Piezoelectric nanogenerators, on the other hand, are made by connecting an electrode to a piezoelectric material on a flexible substrate, and generate a current when force is applied. These nanogenerators have also been shown to promote the proliferation of human bone-forming cells.

Besides nanogenerators, piezoelectric polymers, which have good biocompatibility with human tissues, are showing promise as absorbable screws and pins in severe bone fractures, helping avoid a second surgery for their removal.

Piezoelectric ceramics provide stronger electric currents compared to polymers, but can be toxic. Non-lead-based ceramics, like barium titanate, hydroxyapatite, and zinc oxide are leading candidates for bone scaffolds that promote bone growth and regeneration and for artificial bone substitutes.

Lin and his colleagues expect further research will lead to piezoelectricity-based applications for tissue engineering and bone regeneration.

Further information
Zong-Hong Lin
Taiwan's National Tsing Hua University
linzh@mx.nthu.edu.tw

Paper
https://doi.org/10.1080/14686996.2019.1693880

About Science and Technology of Advanced Materials Journal
Open access journal STAM publishes outstanding research articles across all aspects of materials science, including functional and structural materials, theoretical analyses, and properties of materials.

Shunichi Hishita
STAM Publishing Director
HISHITA.Shunichi@nims.go.jp

Press release distributed by ResearchSEA for Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.

Copyright 2020 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved. http://www.acnnewswire.com

Combined data approach could accelerate development of new materials

Tsukuba, Japan, Feb 11, 2020 – (ACN Newswire) – Researchers in Japan have developed an approach that can better predict the properties of materials by combining high throughput experimental and calculation data together with machine learning. The approach could help hasten the development of new materials, and was published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.



(a) Kerr rotation mapping of an iron, cobalt, nickel composite spread using the more accurate high throughput experimentation method, (b) only high throughput calculation, and (c) the Iwasaki et al. combined approach. The combined approach provides a much more accurate prediction of the composite spread's Kerr rotation compared to high throughput calculation on its own.



Scientists use high throughput experimentation, involving large numbers of parallel experiments, to quickly map the relationships between the compositions, structures, and properties of materials made from varying quantities of the same elements. This helps accelerate new material development, but usually requires expensive equipment.

High throughput calculation, on the other hand, uses computational models to determine a material's properties based on its electron density, a measure of the probability of an electron occupying an extremely small amount of space. It is faster and cheaper than the physical experiments but much less accurate.

Materials informatics expert Yuma Iwasaki of the Central Research Laboratories of NEC Corporation, together with colleagues in Japan, combined the two high-throughput methods, taking the best of both worlds, and paired them with machine learning to streamline the process.

"Our method has the potential to accurately and quickly predict material properties and thus shorten the development time for various materials," says Iwasaki.

They tested their approach using a 100 nanometre-thin film made of iron, cobalt and nickel spread on a sapphire substrate. Various possible combinations of the three elements were distributed along the film. These 'composition spread samples' are used to test many similar materials in a single sample.

The team first conducted a simple high throughput technique on the sample called combinatorial X-ray diffraction. The resulting X-ray diffraction curves provide detailed information about the crystallographic structure, chemical composition, and physical properties of the sample.

The team then used machine learning to break down this data into individual X-ray diffraction curves for every combination of the three elements. High throughput calculations helped define the magnetic properties of each combination. Finally, calculations were performed to reduce the difference between the experimental and calculation data.

Their approach allowed them to successfully map the 'Kerr rotation' of the iron, cobalt, and nickel composition spread, representing the changes that happen to light as it is reflected from its magnetized surface. This property is important for a variety of applications in photonics and semiconductor devices.

The researchers say their approach could still be improved but that, as it stands, it enables mapping the magnetic moments of composition spreads without the need to resort to more difficult and expensive high throughput experiments.

Further information
Yuma Iwasaki
NEC Corporation
y-iwasaki@ih.jp.nec.com

Paper
https://doi.org/10.1080/14686996.2019.1707111

About Science and Technology of Advanced Materials Journal
Open access journal STAM publishes outstanding research articles across all aspects of materials science, including functional and structural materials, theoretical analyses, and properties of materials.

Shunichi Hishita
STAM Publishing Director
HISHITA.Shunichi@nims.go.jp

Press release distributed by ResearchSEA for Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.

Copyright 2020 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved. http://www.acnnewswire.com

Measuring the wear and tear of metals

Tsukuba, Japan, Feb 6, 2020 – (ACN Newswire) – For the past 50 years, researchers at the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) have been conducting detailed short- and long-term testing of a wide variety of structural materials manufactured in Japan to ensure they can withstand long-term stresses. Now, NIMS scientists have reviewed this data, in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, summarizing the institute's major findings.



Pipe Specimen for power plant ruptured by internal pressure creep test.



In 1966, NIMS's predecessor, the National Research Institute for Metals, launched its 'creep data sheet project'. The aim of this project was to determine the stress required to rupture heat-resistant steels and alloys in 100,000 hours (about 11.4 years) at high temperatures. This 'creep rupture strength' data was initially needed to determine the allowable stresses metals could be exposed to in power plants. But more recently, this data has been used to assess how much longer power plant parts have before they begin to wear and tear.

Just over a decade later, in 1978, NIMS also began assembling what has become a huge database of fatigue properties of structural materials used in numerous industries, including automobiles and aircrafts. Fatigue describes how cracks propagate in a metal over time. Fatigue tests involve placing a metal sample under repetitive loads, called cycles, to see how long it takes for a crack to develop and propagate. These tests are conducted at room temperature and high temperatures. Samples are exposed to a relatively small number of cycles (in the range of 10 million cycles) or up to 10 billion cycles, lasting for several years.

NIMS data has revealed that the long-term creep strength of materials varies, and that scientists need to choose the type of analysis method for creep rupture data according to the type of material. How creep happens in materials during testing not only depends on the amount of stress applied, but also on the temperature conditions. The researchers have found that materials react differently to varying temperature depending on their chemical composition, the amounts of minor elements in them, and the crystal grain size. Ferritic heat-resistant steels, which are commonly used in thermal power plants, were found to have very long-term, inherent creep strength. But this creep strength is dependent on the amount of minor solutes present in the steel.

Fatigue limits, on the other hand, are affected by a metal's tensile strength and hardness. Interestingly, NIMS scientists have found that some metals can last for an incredibly long time without forming cracks as long as they are constantly exposed to room temperatures. These same metals, however, would eventually form cracks if exposed to the same stress but at high temperature.

Up until now, the creep and fatigue data sheets developed at NIMS have been used mainly for industrial purposes. The institution is now aiming to improve accessibility so the data can also be used by academics.

Further information
Kota Sawada
National Institute for Materials Science
SAWADA.Kota@nims.go.jp

Yoshiyuki Furuya
National Institute for Materials Science
FURUYA.Yoshiyuki@nims.go.jp

Papers
https://doi.org/10.1080/14686996.2019.1697616
https://doi.org/10.1080/14686996.2019.1680574

About Science and Technology of Advanced Materials Journal
Open access journal STAM publishes outstanding research articles across all aspects of materials science, including functional and structural materials, theoretical analyses, and properties of materials.

Shunichi Hishita
STAM Publishing Director
HISHITA.Shunichi@nims.go.jp

Press release distributed by ResearchSEA for Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.

Copyright 2020 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved. http://www.acnnewswire.com