NREL patents method for continuous monitoring of materials during manufacturing

February 8, 2016, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) was recently issued a patent for a novel method that rapidly characterizes specialized materials during the manufacturing process. This approach significantly improves on standard quality control techniques by allowing for complete monitoring of materials without interrupting workflow.

"This technique enables materials manufacturers to detect potential problems early without slowing or stopping the ," said Bhushan Sopori, an NREL materials performance scientist and of the On-line Monitoring in Solar Cell and Fuel Cell Manufacturing technology.

Mike Ulsh, manufacturing R&D project lead for NREL, sees the commercial benefits of implementing this invention in a number of industries including manufacturing of fuel cell components, semiconductor wafers, glass, and coatings. "Introduction of this technique has the potential to help decrease the cost of producing materials in a variety of industries," said Ulsh. "It would likely have the largest impact on reducing cost in high-throughput environments, such as roll-to-roll processing facilities, because it can characterize materials at a speed of tens of feet per minute."

Characterization of materials using this method is accomplished via wide-angular illumination on the conveyor belt or roll-to-roll processing platform. Spectral imaging and reciprocal optics are then utilized to assess a number of material features including thickness, surface conditions, and uniformity. The novel method was demonstrated on a roll-to-roll processing pilot plant at NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF).

Explore further: Wearable electronic health patches may now be cheaper and easier to make

Related Stories

Making LED-illuminated advertisements light and flexible

April 27, 2015

VTT is involved in a European project, developing novel LED advertising displays, which combine thin, lightweight and bendable structures with advanced optical quality. The project will implement, for example, a LED display ...

Study advances hydrogen production efforts

December 22, 2015

Researchers at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have made advances toward affordable photoelectrochemical (PEC) production of hydrogen.

Recommended for you

A novel approach of improving battery performance

September 18, 2018

New technological developments by UNIST researchers promise to significantly boost the performance of lithium metal batteries in promising research for the next-generation of rechargeable batteries. The study also validates ...

Germany rolls out world's first hydrogen train

September 17, 2018

Germany on Monday rolled out the world's first hydrogen-powered train, signalling the start of a push to challenge the might of polluting diesel trains with costlier but more eco-friendly technology.

Technology streamlines computational science projects

September 15, 2018

Since designing and launching a specialized workflow management system in 2010, a research team from the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has continuously updated the technology to help computational ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.