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Notes from the Lab


Materials in many industrial processes are exposed to corrosive, high-temperature environments containing both oxygen and sulfur. As a result, materials that are simultaneously resistant to both of these elements would find considerable utility in coal and petroleum combustion, gas turbines, waste incinerators and related applications.

Now MIT researchers led by Professor Linn Hobbs of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering have developed just such a material. They report that a chromium-niobium alloy appears to exhibit better high-temperature corrosion resistance than many other materials currently being tested or in service. The alloy system, for which the researchers recently received a patent, could be used as a coating on components that would be exposed to corrosive environments, or the chromium and niobium elements could be ion-implanted into the components.

Other MIT researchers involved in the work are graduate student Julia Duncan and postdoctoral associate Chuxin Zhou, now employed at Molten Metal Technology. The work was sponsored by the National Science Foundation. (Source: Materials Processing Center Industry Collegium Report)


An Energy Laboratory team has developed a prototype system-dynamics model that can predict the economic and environmental outcomes associated with various options for managing municipal solid waste (MSW).

The model simulates the institutional framework that generates, disposes, manages and reclaims MSW. Given information on waste-stream composition and flows, disposal locations and costs, recycling options and environmental emissions, the model can predict the impacts of economic instruments (e.g., waste charges), regulatory instruments (e.g., product bans or performance standards), facility closings and facility siting decisions.

Using the model, town planners, firms, environmental groups and other stakeholders can determine how to manage a solid waste system to best meet each group's goals. The model is now being field tested in Rhode Island, and a refined version for broader use in New England will be available within a year.

The work is supported by the US Department of Energy and is being performed by graduate student Henry Taylor under the supervision of Professor John Sterman of the Sloan School of Management, Professors David Marks and Fred Moavenzadeh of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Dr. Elisabeth Drake of the Energy Laboratory.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 27, 1995.

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