Smash Your Old Electronics
Researchers at Rice University and the Indian Institute of Science may have a solution for all of that e-waste we leave in our wake of consumerism. Pulverize it. They want to simplify electronic waste recycling by crushing it into nanodust.
By pulverizing your old BlackBerrys, Palm Pilots, and Zunes, the researchers believe that they can make it easier to separate, sort, and reuse the particles.
Right now, those motherboards are dumped into landfills, or burned or treated with chemicals to recover the valuable metals and alloys. None are particularly environmentally friendly. The researchers use a low-temperature cryo-mill to pulverize the waste, primarily the chips and other electronic components and polymers that make up the PCBs.
The test their idea, they gutted computer mice and put the innards in a cryo-mill with argon gas, a single tool-grade steel ball, and a steady stream of liquid nitrogen, which kept the container at -182°F — and then they shook it. The ball smashed the polymer first, then the metals and then the oxides, into 20-100 nanometer-wide particles. Afterwards, the particles are bathed in water to separate them.
It could be a suitable solution to more sustainable e-waste recycling. A solution that we may need pretty soon, as e-waste could grow by as much as 33% over the next four years. By 2030, it will weigh more than a billion tons, so maybe it’s time to start smashing.
Car Harvests Water While You Drive
In Peru, a billboard harvests water from the air to give locals access to clean drinking water. The billboard filters and condenses the air and then runs the water through a carbon filter and into a holding tank. It makes approximately 2,500 gallons of drinking water every three months.
Inspired by the billboard, Ford engineer Doug Martin and a colleague wondered if they could do the same with a car. They call their idea On-the-Go H20, and it collects condensation from your air conditioner, and then filters and pumps the drinking water into a faucet on the center console inside the car.
When the system is activated, it pumps the water from a reservoir beneath your car, through a .1 micron filter to remove impurities, and into the cabin through a faucet.
The new system was selected as a finalist in both the Transportation and Developing-World Technology categories as part of Fast Company’s 2017 World Changing Ideas Awards, which recognizes concepts that offer innovative solutions to the issues facing humanity.
Hyperloop Commences Capsule Construction
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, harbinger of the tube technology, has started construction of the world's first full scale Passenger Hyperloop Capsule — the pods.
After more than three years and thousands of hours of design, research, and analysis, the 98.5-feet-long capsule will be officially revealed as soon as early next year, at the company's R&D center in France.
The passenger capsule is being built in collaboration with Carbures, a group that specializes in manufacturing composite parts and structures and a leading expert in fuselage and advanced materials construction in both aeronautics and aerospace.
The capsule will be 98.5 feet long, nine feet wide, and weigh 20 tons. It will be able to carry up to 40 passengers at a speed up to 760 mph.
After the reveal next year, the capsule will then be put to the test in a commercial system in a soon-to-be announced location.
This is Engineering By Design with David Mantey.