Research Picks Extra – December 2016

The technology life cycle

Understanding how the science base relates to the technology life cycle is an important aspect of assessing university research and industrial applications and how each affects the other. Researchers in Japan have found that in the early stages of the technology life cycle one role of academic work is to broaden the technology scope, which then ultimately leads to a wide variety of technologies reaching the market, at least when it comes to solar cell technology. By contrast, in the latter stages of the technology life cycle where both product and process are important collaboration between academia and industry is of even more relevance to developing intellectual property and obtaining patents successfully.

Motohashi, K. and Tomozawa, T. (2016) ‘Differences in science based innovation by technology life cycles: the case of solar cell technology’, Int. J. Technology Management, Vol. 72, Nos. 1/2/3, pp.5–18.


Auditing the cloud

As we increasingly rely on cloud-based storage, there is a growing need for security checks, privacy protection and auditing of those resources in a way that does not put some of the burden back on the user and so negate some of the benefits of cloud services. Researchers in China have now developed a framework for an authenticators generation centre (AGC) that is lightweight in terms of computing power needed for batch auditing and authentication. Moreover, because the authenticators operate on blinded cloud data the approach conserves data privacy. Tests have demonstrated that the system is secure, the team reports.

Shen, W., Yu, J., Hao, R. and Wang, X. (2016) ‘A public cloud storage auditing scheme for resource-constrained clients’, Int. J. High Performance Systems Architecture, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp.121–130.


Quenching metals with ionic liquids

Ionic liquids have been seen as an environment friendly alternative to volatile organic solvents (VOCs) for many applications. Now, researchers in Germany have now used high-speed videography to help them investigate the heat transfer mechanisms involved in the quenching of metals using ionic liquids. The industrial processing of metals for engineering and other applications commonly involves heating and cooling processes to endow the final product with specific physical characteristics. The team points out that common quenching liquids have several drawbacks such as the formation of layers of vapour. The incredibly low volatility of ionic liquids means this problem the Leidenfrost effect, cannot arise. The team’s work shows that ionic liquids offer an alternative quenching media for metallic components.

Beck, M., Neise, C., Ahrenberg, M., Schick, C., Kragl, U. and Kessler, O. (2016) ‘Heat transfer mechanisms analysed by high speed video recording of metal quenching in ionic liquids and water’, Int. J. Microstructure and Materials Properties, Vol. 11, No. 5, pp.359–372.


SUVs and brain injury

More than one in five of the annual road traffic accidents involving a fatality around the world involve a vehicle hitting a pedestrian. The head and lower limbs are the most common collision points but it is well known that pedestrians hit by SUVs (sports utility vehicles) are more likely to suffer serious injury or death than those hit by a sedan-type car. A collaboration between scientists in the USA and Japan has investigated the effects of the various forces, translational and rotational accelerations, experience by a pedestrian hit by an SUV and the potential for traumatic brain injury. Their work points to the emerging option of a pre-crash brake assist activation system as being one approach to ameliorating the risk of a pedestrian sustaining a traumatic brain injury when there is a primary head strike in a typical, low-speed, wrap-around impact case.

Tamura, A., Koide, T. and Yang, K.H. (2016) ‘Effects of translational and rotational accelerations on traumatic brain injury in a sport utility vehicle-to-pedestrian crash’, Int. J. Vehicle Design, Vol. 72, No. 3, pp.208–229.

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.