by Yaroslav RENKAS, journalist
This last February (2007) the All-Russia Exhibition Center (AEC) hosted the Seventh International Salon of Innovations and Investments. The aim of such salons is to foster the technical retooling of our economy, promote the market of intellectual property and marry the interests of the designers and manufacturers of high-tech products - of business and industry, too.
The Salon brought together more than 350 Russian research organizations, enterprises and techno-parks as well as colleges and universities, inventors, small businesses, venture foundations, financial and consulting structures... Scientists and experts from many countries-also from those of what we call "near abroad" (former Soviet republics, now independent states): Byelorussia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Ukraine, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Iran, Malaysia and other countries. Many major agreements, contracts and protocols of intention were signed for cooperation in the power industry, resource-saving, biotechnologies, in the production of innovative materials, machinery, instruments and in other fields.
As always, Moscow was at its best. In the opinion of Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, "the active assimilation of the latest products in the industry of commodities and services, in all the spheres of urban management is of particular significance, for at the present stage only high-tech and science-intensive enterprises can be competitive." The latest Salon was proof positive of that. For instance, the I. G. Bardin Institute of Ferrous Metallurgy came up with most up-to-date technologies for the steel industry (melting, extrafurnace treatment, continuous casting), for coke-free metallurgy, production of ferroalloys, technogenic wastes utilization, off-grade raw materials processing, and so forth.
N.E. Bauman Moscow State Technical University, a habitue at such exhibitions, had quite a few wonders up its sleeve this year, too. It demonstrated RASKAN-3, an original device for sounding structural parts. This is a multifrequency holography radar operating on reflected signals. The transmitting and receiving ends of its antenna are located on one side of the sounded surface. The images thus obtained show both metal objects and dielectric in homogeneities. RASKAN-3 offers a wide range of possibilities in sounding complex and significant objects (such as bridges, airfield runways, over- and underpasses and the like) for the detection of faults in structural parts, hollows and cracks in the lower stories and basements of buildings so as to prevent water leakages. This apparatus will be handy in military and anti-terrorist activities, in archeology and extraterrestrial work.
The Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) did not come empty-handed either. Forty central and regional organizations and departments of RAS exhibited their handiwork. Thus, the RAS Institute of Solid Body (the town of Chernogolovka near Moscow) displayed a technology for obtaining opal matrices in the form of mono-and multiplayer films and three-dimensional structures. Built of submicrone particles of silicon dioxide, these materials combine to advantage physical and chemical characteristics, such as chemical inertia and high heat resistance (at t° up to 1,000°C), making them usable in nanotechnologies, i. e. in the production of new semiconductors for optoelectronics, magnetic-recording systems, and in liquid chromatography and chemical catalysis.
Quite nearby guests could see a stand displayed by the Institute for Problems of the Technology of Microelectronics and Extrapure Materials (also Chernogolovka-based). One of its novelties: nanoresonators of UV semiconductor lasers for high-performance TV projectors of great brightness and large image area. Another one: microprobes with 1.1 - 2.5 µm dielectric coating with the use of UHF plasma. These devices are employed in electron microscopy and medicine. The same research center demonstrated a process it developed for the controlled formation of macropore structures in the course of deep anodic pickling on silicon. This technology is indispensable for long-range radio and television communication as a basis of photon crystals, as well as in the automotive industry for designing engines on the basis of original fuel elements. It is of good use to power industry workers for building compact generators, to opticians, and for upgrading X-ray image systems.
The A. V. Shubnikov Institute of Crystallography of Moscow brought some of its products, too - namely high-precision instruments for laboratory and synchrotron experiments involving the use of roentgen.
The Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a regular participant in salon exhibitions, came with an impressive array of products. As always, the G. K. Boreskov Institute of Catalysis (Novosibirsk) set the tone. The high scientific potential of this research center, one of the world's biggest, enables it to move a head in developing high-performance catalytic technologies and catalysts for the oil and petrochemical industries, for new materials synthesis, for the power industry, and for neutralization of technogenic wastes. All these techniques are ecologically safe and parsimonious in terms of resource-saving. The latest achievements of Siberian researchers and manufacturers include microspheric zeolite-containing cracking catalysts of the LUX-1 (for processing heavy gas oil with a boiling temperature as high as 850°C and obtaining a maximum output of gasoline with a high octane value) and of the LUX-2 series (for processing a mix of materials, above all products of secondary origin with a boiling point up to 600°C for the purpose of obtaining an optimal yield of light petroleum products).
The Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (likewise affiliated with the RAS Siberian Branch) had something to offer, too. Guests could see its method of cold gasodynamic spraying on most different articles made of metals, dielectrics (ceramics including) and on glass with a high-speed flow of powder particles accelerated by a supersonic jet of gas-a technique that can be used for coating pipes (both their inner and outer surface), semiclosed reservoirs, elements of structures hard of access during repair and restoration works. All that was complemented with novel laser technologies and
complexes, the unique setups capable of generating high-power emissions of over 5 kW at enterprises of the nuclear, automobile, machine-building, electric engineering and other industries.
Regional manufacturers were also up to the mark. Like the Ivanovo-based plant of heavy engineering that brought in up-to-date high-rate center lathes (super-centers) meant for the machining of parts made of cast iron, steel, aluminum and magnesium alloys by high-precession drilling, boring, milling, threading, grooving and other procedures difficult of execution on such materials. These lathes are 5 to 6 times superior in efficiency compared with older generation machines.
The city of Nizhni Novgorod, a major industrial and manufacturing city in this country, offered a wide mix of innovative products. Apart from its engineering, iron-and-steel, petrochemical and defense industries, Nizhni Novgorod boasts of a unique R&D complex. Demonstrated in Moscow were the latest hard- and software and related technologies, micro- and optoelectronic equipment, UHF and laser systems, high-tech medical devices, telecommunication outfit and many other remarkable things.
Kaluga, a region south of Moscow, updated its exhibits significantly through radiation devices, computer equipment and pharmacological products. The Kalugamash ОАО (Open Joint-Stock Company) brought in some of its makes of machinery, in particular PRSM-4, a self-propelled vehicle for the electroresistance welding of rail joints. Its UK-25/28 SP crane is employed by railwaymen for dismantling and laying railroad tracks of up to 25 m rail lengths.
The aircraft designed and built by the Yu. A. Gagarin R&D Association of Komsomolskoye on the Amur (Far East) are on the cutting edge of progress-machines named for the aircraft designer P. A. Sukhoi. Guests could familiarize themselves with the combat characteristics of Su-27 SKM fighter planes designed for destroying air-, ground- and sea-based targets both in solo and in group engagements, in day- and nighttime, and under hard weather conditions; of Su-30 MK2, a combat aircraft of high fighting efficiency; of Su-35, a multipurpose supermaneuverable machine capable of winning air superiority and immobilizing ground- and sea-based targets located far from home airfield bases; of Su-33 and Su-27 KUB, jump-off combat aircraft for solo flights capable of landing on surface ships and meant for defending the Navy against enemy air attacks.
So much for the war aircraft. Civilian planes were represented by Be-103, a two-engine machine for countries having long coastal territories and regions abounding in rivers, lakes and small bodies of water hard of access to other kinds of transportation. SA-20 P, a light multipurpose amphibian plane, and Su-80 GP, a passenger and transport craft for local and regional lines, rubbed wings with the superplane S-100 (Sukhov), an aircraft for regional lines. This one is said to have a promising future.
Those were but a few novelties featured at the Moscow Salon. It is gratifying that the number of such wonders is on the rise, and the Russian economy is getting more receptive to them, a sure sign that it is has embarked on an innovative course of advancement.
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