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Electrically Conductive Cement 159

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-your-display-harden dept.
zero_offset writes "The Tokyo Institute of Technology has announced a process for creating an inexpensive, nearly transparent, electrically conductive alumina cement. The conductivity is comparable to metal, and the transparency should be adequate for use in display panels. The process relies upon commonplace and inexpensive metals compared to the rare metals such as iridium currently used in display panels."
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Electrically Conductive Cement

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  • by Robotech_Master (14247) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:08PM (#18696817) Homepage Journal
    I see they're finally getting around to using that formula Scotty provided. [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by InvalidError (771317)
      That was my first thought as well.
    • by Aereus (1042228)
      Now we just need them to invent transparisteel and tritanium... ;)
      • Don't forget Trinium, Naqahdah, and Naqahdriah!
        • by Goeland86 (741690)
          what about permacrete?
          I wonder if we'll get any closer to wedge impeller drives for starships, along with Warshawski sails for FTL travel... Who knows what science holds for us in the future...
          • by arodland (127775)
            Crystoplast / armorplast would be reasonably cool, although really if you think about it it's just another standin for transparent aluminum. Impellers, though, would just rule.
      • by ncc74656 (45571) *
        I'd be even more impressed if they managed to invent unobtainium. :-)
      • by iamacat (583406)
        Actually dilithium would be the most urgent need. What's the use for all the hull materials if you can not go to warp?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by quixote9 (999874)
      Be nice if it was just the first step to implementing all that stuff. You know: no poverty, competent government, no wars (except with Klingons and such, of course).
      • by DAtkins (768457) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:36PM (#18697065) Homepage
        Not that I'm normally this deep or anything...

        The nice thing about progress is that everything is a small step toward that.

        It's the period between then and now that you have to worry about. Star Trek had 2 more World Wars before Cochrine developed the warp drive. :)
      • by Original Replica (908688) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:46PM (#18697129) Journal
        no wars (except with Klingons and such, of course).

        Nothing brings people together like a common enemy, so for us to have no morewars here on Earth, the most likely catalyst would be war with an alien species. Keep in mind that with that competent government, there was complete global control, and we have only ever seen that government through the eyes of it's military officers.
        • Re:It's about time! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by InsertCleverUsername (950130) <slashdot@nospAm.rrusson.fastmail.fm> on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @09:30PM (#18697769) Homepage Journal

          Nothing brings people together like a common enemy, so for us to have no more wars here on Earth, the most likely catalyst would be war with an alien species.

          True, but it would have to be a really good hoax. Otherwise it's not likely we'd have a prayer against aggressive aliens. As Sagan and many others would point out, a space-faring civilization is going to be much older and more technologically advanced than us. Reminds me of that old saying, "don't bring a knife to an phaser fight."

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            Otherwise it's not likely we'd have a prayer against aggressive aliens. As Sagan and many others would point out, a space-faring civilization is going to be much older and more technologically advanced than us.

            Why do you think we're trying to so hard to find alien life. If aliens find us, they are probably way more advanced; But if we find THEM first, it likely means WE are more advanced than them. Then all we have to do is spread rumors that they insulted Jesus, Mohamed, Buddha, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Elvis, called all our mamas "nappy headed hos," and that they "Hate Freedom." We will have all humanity united behind our efforts to introduce "Democracy" to the new planet with interstellar ballistic miss

            • We will have all humanity united behind our efforts to introduce "Democracy" to the new planet with interstellar ballistic missiles.

              Don't worry, the aliens will be so eager for our 'democracy', that they'll welcome us as liberators. They'll be showering our soldiers with flowers. Whole thing should take about six months.

              • by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc@cGINSBERGarpanet.net minus poet> on Thursday April 12, 2007 @12:13PM (#18704541) Homepage
                heh and for the record, I was laughing just as hard 4 years ago when people said that about Iraq.

                I mean seriously, how do people have their head so deep in the sand that they actually think things like that? Why is modern warfare so poorly understood? (Ok, admittedly the media makes no attempt at all at explaining it)

                Yah, if everyone in iraq were well... a moron. If they hadn't studied a bit, if nobody paid attention to the past 50 fucking years... then yes, their army would have met ours on the battlefield. We would have said "Oh look, a massive troop formation", pressed a button, and the war would be over in 6 weeks.

                They didn't do that cuz anyone with half a brain knows you can't fight like that against an army like the US unless you have an army like...well... like china, or the US. Major air force, major navy, cruise missles, all that good stuff.

                Unless you have an army like the US or china, you just can't fight us like that. You have to play to your own strengths. You hide in civilian clothes, in civilian houses... cuz its what works. History always vindicates the victor. Does it matter whether you are a war criminal or not?

                All I had to do to realise this was a decade or longer conflict.... BEFORE IT STARTED.... was to imagine the US army gets instantly wiped out and china invades the US. Whats gonna happen? Are we going to welcome our liberators?

                No... people will smile by day. And whenever able bodied americans meet, one may say "come to my house, we have a meeting tonight". And guess what... people will come to those meetings... and people will fight. They will fight until either they are gone and new generations have risen up accepting chineese rule... or until the foriegn fighters leave.

                We either stay until the next generation of Iraqi accept us, or we leave them to fight it out to fill the power vaccuume.

                Course, I realise your making fun of the people who thought that but seriously... I find living in a country where people go around not just saying that shit but believing it to be downright embarassing.

                -Steve
                • Yah, if everyone in iraq were well... a moron. If they hadn't studied a bit, if nobody paid attention to the past 50 fucking years

                  What? Are you trying to say that things we (the US) did during the Cold War still count? The Cold War is over. Why are all those people still so upset? More importantly, who is Anna Nicole's baby-daddy?
            • by Grishnakh (216268)
              Perhaps the aliens have already found us. Just read the Book of Ezekiel in the Bible; it seems to describe an alien ship landing.
          • True, but it would have to be a really good hoax. Otherwise it's not likely we'd have a prayer against aggressive aliens. As Sagan and many others would point out, a space-faring civilization is going to be much older and more technologically advanced than us. Reminds me of that old saying, "don't bring a knife to an phaser fight."

            No no no, all we need to defend ourselves is a cable repair guy, a laptop and an actor who thinks he has a music career!

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by jasontn (758694)
            ... a really good hoax ... just like Alan Moore's The Watchmen?
    • Given the number of "Transparent Aluminum omg omg!" articles we've seen in the past, I'm surprised that this (which looks better than any of those before) didn't get the Star Trek treatment, too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GreyPoopon (411036)

      I see they're finally getting around to using that formula Scotty provided.

      It's unfortunate that it has to be produced as a thin membrane in order to be transparent. I think we're all looking for 1-inch thick plates that have the strength of aluminum with the transparency of glass.
  • by Kelson (129150) * on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:09PM (#18696829) Homepage Journal
    Hazards of sans-serif fonts at small pitches, I guess.
  • ut oh (Score:3, Funny)

    by HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:10PM (#18696837) Homepage Journal
    Soon there may be some real repercussions when I'm lounging on the concrete wall outside the library and the security guard comes around to say,"Hey! You can't be sleeping here!" *bzzt* OUCH!
  • by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:12PM (#18696853) Homepage
    Use it to build RF-proof houses. No more problems with Wifi security!
    • by iggymanz (596061)
      except they got the recipe wrong, it wasn't supposed to be conductive, and you wouldn't believe the stink an electrocuted whale makes.
      • First of all, Scotty didn't expect Plexicorp to instantly make him a bunch of transparent aluminum; he exchanged the formula for sheets of plain old plexiglas.

        Second, according to Wikipedia (although un-cited), the formula shown was actually that of Lexan, so it wouldn't have been electrically conductive anyway.

  • by Short Circuit (52384) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:13PM (#18696863) Homepage Journal
    Does anybody else remember the conductive LEGOs introduced with the 9V system? It just seems to me that this, if cheap enough, might be useful in construction environments where wire is difficult or impractical to route.

    Depending on its conductivity, it might even be useful for home and industrial high-current applications.

    Granted, electrical wiring is a pretty mature field, but I'm sure that something like this opens up possibilities.
  • by Atario (673917) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:14PM (#18696875) Homepage
    A stadium where the entire surface of the building blinks and scrolls ads at you.

    That, or extra-heavy monitors.
    • It could have some interesting applications as a road surface. traffic alerts and stop lights being part of the road itself.
      • i've been singing the praises of a solar-panel-as-roadway for several years now. nowhere in print, of course, except i think in several /. posts. this is a step in that direction...
      • It could have some interesting applications as a road surface. traffic alerts and stop lights being part of the road itself.

        Where they would be frequently covered up by other cars, dirt, dust, snow, etc... Not to mention that keeping your eyes (litterally) 'on the road' is a bad thing as it disrupts your scan pattern and may cause you to miss other cars misbehaving. (The phrase 'keep your eyes on the road' isn't meant to be taken literally - it's the driving equivalent of 'keep your head in the game'.)

      • Potholes.

        A pothole in the wrong place could seriously jack up your vision of future roadsigns. I'll take the standard signs we have now, thanks.
  • So does this technically qualify as transparent aluminum?
  • Indium (Score:4, Informative)

    by nuzak (959558) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:26PM (#18696977) Journal
    RTFA, the rare metal in LCDs is Indium, not Iridium.
    • by treeves (963993)
      and it is about as rare as silver, i.e not all *that* rare - at least not nearly as rare as iridium. Why is it used? Because it can wet glass.
  • No, Franco, I said concrete BOOTS, not concrete BOOKS.

  • Cement != concrete (Score:5, Informative)

    by jfengel (409917) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:31PM (#18697015) Homepage Journal
    Cement = anything used to glue things together

    Concrete = a building material composed of aggregates and cement

    Concrete is used for buildings, roads, sidewalks, etc. The aggregate in that case is usually rocks. The cement is usually Portland cement. It's not correct to call it "cement", though people will usually understand what you mean.

    But judging from the comments so far, not in this case. This isn't a replacement for Portland cement, and they're not talking about building materials. This is the kind of cement used to glue bits of LCD screens to each other.
    • by Sj0 (472011)
      Ah, I never would have guessed. I saw the article, but didn't read too deeply. Shame, the things you could do with a clear version of portland cement would probably change just about every industry in the world.
    • But judging from the comments so far, not in this case.

      A shame - I would have stereotyped everybody here as having used model cement at least once in high school, for building models or other things.

      Coincidentally, I just learned tonight that the black sludge that gets mixed with sand and aggregate to make asphalt is called 'asphalt cement'.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mrchaotica (681592) *

        Coincidentally, I just learned tonight that the black sludge that gets mixed with sand and aggregate to make asphalt is called 'asphalt cement'.

        Likewise, the end result after that mixing is properly called "asphalt concrete," not just "asphalt."

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by lessthan (977374)
      Umm... I hunted "alumina cement" [wikipedia.org] down on Wikipedia, which states : Applications - in construction concretes, rapid strength development is achieved, even at low temperatures (truncated for clarity) Is that not the correct entry?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      OK, my buck oh five.

      First, the dictionaries suck. American Heritage also gives cement=Portland cement, or even concrete before cement=glue or binder. This is wrong. The use of the word cement to mean Portland cement -used to make concrete- or worse yet concrete itself, is essentially slang. Its like calling network cable "copper," or fiber-optic cable "fiber." Why they give that definition before "A substance that hardens to act as an adhesive; glue," and "Something that serves to bind or unite," I d
  • Editors? Anyone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eskwayrd (575069) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:35PM (#18697051)
    The conductivity is comparable to metal

    'metal' is pretty generic, and 'metals' conduct at varying levels (understatement). TFA actually states 'manganese'. Why distort the original posting in the summary?

    ...compared to the rare metals such as iridium

    WTF? TFA states 'indium'.

    Methinks the poster should rely on the copy/paste strategy more often than 'transcribe it manually'.

    Anyway, cool stuff. Anyone know enough about display panel construction to give an off-the-cuff estimate of whether this new stuff will take more energy to produce?
  • 1. Find a way to use this stuff to make computer chips, as well as monitors.
    2. Start using 3D printers to make them. Suddenly, hardware is open source.
    3. ???
    4. Profit!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fabs64 (657132)
      actually that sounds like a pretty brilliant way of printing simple "wires" on things.
  • ...wouldn't have to strap myself to a pipe with a wire whenever I decided to work with CMOS components. Sounds pretty useful.
  • Home circuit fabs? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@n ... minus physicist> on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:43PM (#18697113) Homepage Journal
    When I read this, I was thinking of Fab@Home [fabathome.org] with the idea that perhaps you could use this process to help build crude home-built ICs out of simple and cheap materials.

    Unfortunately, it seems as though the process is a bit more complicated, and I don't know how you can get a nozzle heated to 1100 degrees C in a reduced oxygen environment (presumably why it is in a sealed glass tube to work) that would also be something you would want on your kitchen table.

    While of interest to a materials science guy, this really isn't that spectacular of a deal here. It does have the potential of improving LCD screen luminance values, reducing power requirements for laptops (the screen sucks quite a bit of power in the overall system), and helping in other ways. But it isn't something that simply can be poured out of a nozzle.
    • In case you should ever want to do such things: put the nozzle in a mostly sealed environment -- let's say a thermos -- with wires running in. Use resistive heating elements to crank it up to heat (there are resistive elements designed to operate submerged in molten glass, way worse conditions than this) and drop some dry ice in there. The heat will melt the dry ice (even faster than it's already subliming) which will displace the oxygen. Since it's considerably heavier than oxygen, it'll tend to stay in
  • by Velocir (851555) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:47PM (#18697133)
    From TFA: "the cement would make an environmentally-friendly alternative because its ingredients are more readily available". That doesn't make it environmentally friendly, it just makes it less environmentally damaging. There's a BIG difference.

    Also, is 30kg grip strength pretty low for an adult male? I'm pretty sure it is...
    • I'm not sure how 30kg compares to what the average adult can do, but any decent rock climber can do a lot more than that. I've known quite a few people who can do things like one-fingered pull-ups on a campus board, something most slashdotters can only dream about.
      • by bkr1_2k (237627)
        All right, I'll take the bait. Define "decent rock climber" and what does campus boarding have to do with decent climbing? I'll grant you that building strength is good for climbers, but most of the climbers I know have never once used a campus board and they've been climbing (at various different ranges of difficulty) for many years. 1 fingered pullups are for the movies and essentially useless in 99.8% of outdoor climbing in the world.

        I'm going to assume you mean indoor gym "climbers" and sport climber
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chris Pimlott (16212)
      A more abundant material will occur naturally in greater concentrations, which reduces the amount of effort to retrieve and process a high-grade sample. For example, in an area where gold is plentiful, you may be able to find a large quantities of gold just by hand-panning in a stream. In an area where good is scare, you may have to sift through entire mountains to extract the same amount. The latter takes much more energy and investiment and has a much higher toll on the environment than the former.
    • by khallow (566160)
      The usual definition of "environmentally friendly" is whatever the marketer intends it to mean.
    • by Kopretinka (97408)

      You say "environmentally-friendly" is not the same as "less environmentally damaging".

      Well, remember that middle-school bully, when he didn't hit you and instead just said "jerk off"? Well, that seemed almost friendly, didn't it? 8-)

  • by digitalderbs (718388) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:48PM (#18697145)
    What they won't tell you is that it was really developed as a deterent to public urination in the streets.
  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @07:50PM (#18697159)
    Las Vegas couldn't get more annoying. Everywhere from sidewalks to bathrooms blaring logos at you. Even worse would be the saturation subliminal advetising. "No really honey, the floors and walls told me to gamble more".
  • Will it turn out like broadband over powerlines?
  • cheaper tvs? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Forgive my ignorance, but most of the comments only refer to large/heavy structures using this material. But, the article seems like it's saying that this could be used to replace Indium in televisions. Can this not possibly lead to cheaper and more efficient televisions or am I missing something? Can this also not be useful in making cheaper displays in general?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Teancum (67324)
      I guess many of those posting havn't heard about Rubber cement [wikipedia.org], commonly used for building model vehicle kits. Or other kinds of cement like the solvent used in PVC pipes.

      While making it cheaper may be true, the big problem that happens with displays is that you have wires which cross between pixels on any display.... simply to turn the pixel "on" or "off". These can be quite thin and are made of several different kinds of materials, but they do get into the way of the display. By making these wires tran
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by glesga_kiss (596639)

        As far as replacing Indium or other rare earth metals... I don't understand that at all.

        I believe the main benefit is the cost of Indium and similar substances.

        specific color properites of Indium compounds and how they enhance the color gamut

        This substance isn't intended to be part of the light emitting (or blocking) part of a display. It's for the wiring to those parts, built into the screen. By making it more transparent, the light level required can be reduced which saves battery life in laptops and

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Teancum (67324)
          I highly doubt that the value of the 2 grams of Indium used for a display is going to be a major factor in the overall cost of the display. You could use Gold or even Iridium and it wouldn't even be a factor. Californium, perhaps, but that element is sold by the gram. I just don't buy that as a serious argument.

          Trust me when I say that it is the use of Indium compounds and their phosphorescence at bold primary colors that makes it so valuable, and is driving up the world market price of Indium. Compared
    • by Adambomb (118938) *
      What you're saying really IS the purpose of this material, those who are confusing you took the usual rtfa-less slashdot tangent and ran with it.
  • Using this for your outside walls in combination with a high-voltage alarm system should be more effective than a siren!
  • by dr. loser (238229) on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @08:46PM (#18697499)
    The author of the actual paper is Hideo Hosono [titech.ac.jp], not "Hideo Hono". The paper, available here [acs.org], was not published in the April 11 issue of Nano Letters. Rather, it was published on-line on March 22.
  • The Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japanese equivalent of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)...
  • Uhm... Old News? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Wandering Wombat (531833) <mightyjalapeno AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @11:36PM (#18698417) Homepage Journal
    I did a college engineering report on this... in 2004.
  • Can I use this as a substitute when building electronics?

    -jcr

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