Day 3 in Ashikaga: HERE’S MY CARD

The research being performed at Ashikaga University focuses mostly on environmental technology such as figuring out renewable energy sources, weather forecasting technology, & radioactive-waste disposal. After talking with the many professors yesterday, I learned that the university sometimes works in conjunction with private businesses such as construction companies by testing concrete quality and providing large concrete forms for bridge building components. All the research being performed was extremely impressive and has certainly influenced me to learn more about these environmental technologies.

As I will be interning for the Environmental Protection Agency’s office of site evaluation, I found much of the construction technology at Ashikaga University fascinating and probably asked too many questions! Ashikaga’s division of engineering attempts to ensure safe building practices and safe disposal of hazardous wastes. And yesterday, I was extremely grateful because I received a business card from one of the professors who is performing influential research somewhat related to what I will be investigating at the Environmental Protection Agency. Thank you, Dr. Tomoyoshi Nishimura, I look forward to reading your research. While my investigations will focus on mostly ferrous soils, I think I could learn a lot from Dr. Nishimura’s research dedicated to radioactivity and porous stones.

A couple other impressive works happening at Ashikaga include renewable energy storage using hydrogen storage alloy to reduce CO2 emissions, using water as a driving force to power machines by using the special alloy martensite, bio-fuel made from organic waste, and lighting rod telemetry to better forecast thunderstorms in Japan.

Martensite is memory metal. Once exposed to a certain temperature, it reforms back into its shape via contracting molecules. Hot water and cool air are perfect for martensite’s molecular deformation. Cooling deforms the martensite memory wire and heating the alloy stiffly contracts it. This martensite wire was connected to a pully mechanism half submerged in toy car chassis and water fueled the energy for the toy car move.

Ashikaga University also performs research on biofuel. Currently they have created pucks of wood shavings, old newspapers, and used coffee grounds to be burnt in furnaces. Doctor Jonathan Goldbergbelle explained to me that cornhusks in the United States would be a great resource to be burned as biofuel. I have thought about the possibility of coconut husks as well. I am curious whether any of my peers have any other ideas for resources to be used as biofuel?

4 responses to “Day 3 in Ashikaga: HERE’S MY CARD

  1. Martensite is one stage of the memory metal nitinol – useful in thermostats, surgery, and magic performances.

    Unfortunately, corn and corn stover are relatively inefficient as biofuels. But they are abundant in the US and we’ve created a specialized infrastructure around that crop. Keep in mind that stover is full of nutrients. If we burn it or convert to ethanol we have to replenish the fields with chemicals.

  2. Mary E Perlman

    Fascinating read, Lee. I admire your curiosity and engagement with these new experiences!

  3. Fascinating read, Lee! Your curiosity and engagement is what every speaker loves.

  4. Well said.

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