The fifth, regular presentation of new research instruments, R&D projects and technologies, ready for commercial uses, has been held in the Novosibirsk AKADEMGORODOK on the premises of the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy. Events of this kind, which bring together researchers and industrialists, help promote their mutual interests, generating new ideas and concrete solutions. Among the first speakers at the presentation was Academician F. Kuznetsov, Director of the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of the RAS Siberian Branch. Discussing the latest achievements of his colleagues, he mentioned a new technology of purification of natural and industrial waste water; of collection and reprocessing of secondary raws containing precious metals; materials on the basis of rare earth sulfides which can find applications in the form of various items produced from polycrystalline, monocrystalline and vitreous materials; about new inorganic pigments, etc.
The speaker discussed in detail problems of production of large-size crystals (which were shown to the participants during a special excursion). The speaker discussed applications in many countries of monocrystals of potassium-gadolinium-wolframite, activated with neodymium ions and of scitillation crystals of orthogermanate of bismuth which are used in gamma-rays detectors. At the present stage such products are used mainly for export, although there are hopes that wealthy users will soon appear also in our own country.
Interesting new developments have been reported by researchers of the Institute of Catalysis of the RAS Siberian Branch (named after G. Boreskov) who take every opportunity of establishing links with industrial quarters. The main speaker on behalf of the Center was a senior researcher of the Laboratory of Energy-Accumulating Processes and Materials, Prof. M. Tokarev who described new technologies of gas drying and rational uses of heat. This concerned what are known as selective sorbents of water with high adsorption capacity. In absorbing and releasing water in the sorption and desorption cycles, they accumulate and then release heat. This feature is also taken into account in the drying of gases. Such sorbents have proved to be more effective as compared with the traditional industrial dryers.
The speaker also discussed other applications of what is known as sorbents-active thermal protection. For example, the so-called "black boxes" for aircraft in distress are now being produced according to the new methods for certain types of aircraft. These are fitted with thermal protective shields developed by experts of the Institute of Catalysis.
Based on the principle of humidity absorption and evaporation is a new method of application of composites-the development of "fre-on-free" refrigerators. Actively involved in this research together with the Siberian scientists are their colleagues from the Italian Institute of Advanced Technologies.
Institute scientists, working in conjunction with specialists of the Institute of Catalysis and the Institute of Thermal Physics (named after S. Kutateladze) of the RAS Siberian Branch, have developed a system of regeneration of heat and moisture for ventilation on the basis of the newly obtained materials. At the end of his presentation Prof. M. Tokarev turned to an absolutely "exotic" branch of modern research-production of fresh water from air!
The audience listened with great interest to a presentation of yet another researcher of the Institute of Catalysis, L. Simonova who spoke of high-dispersion silicagel IK-01 - 2 which can be used as filler of polymers, elastomers, technical rubber items, and as carrier of catalysts and a component of medical-pharmaceutical and cosmetic preparations (toothpastes, medicinal creams). This silicagel is also used as thickening agent for hermetics and paints and composite materials. Institute scientists have also developed production technique for high-dispersion powdered silicagels with regulated granulometric composition, featuring a simple and safe method of synthesis which has already been checked on pilot units. Scientists from Novosibirsk are prepared to produce lots of silicagel in keeping with customer requirements with optimal properties for concrete applications.
The report by L. Simonova was augmented by her colleague from the same Institute, D. Kochubei. He focused on a new material for radiography which is produced in the form of plates with surface or volumetric modifications. Its uses cover medical radiography, X-ray microscopy and difFractometry and dosimetry. The new material has a number of advantages over the existing ones, including low cost, the possibility of studying low-contrast biological micro-objects, and high sensitivity to X-rays.
The list of speakers included representatives of several other Siberian research centers who all tried to present their "wares" in a most attractive light. Prof. L. Isaenko of the Institute of Mineralogy and Petrography of the RAS Siberian Branch made two presentations: "Mono-crystal Optical Materials for the UV-IR bands" and "Cultivated Alexandrite". A report on "Single-crystals of Synthetic Diamonds for High-Tech Applications" was made by Dr. Yu. Palyanov. And there were also reports on the organization of small-scale production of non-linear optical elements from crystals of barium borate. The production of modular foam materials was discussed by Dr. L. Kazantseva.
It goes without saying that not all of the concepts and ideas developed by Siberian researchers have yet reached the stage of their practical implementation by industrial users. But most, if not all of them, offer a tangible promise for a not too distant future.
Nauka v Sibiri (Science in Siberia), 2003
Prepared by Yaroslav RENKAS
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