Category - Knowledge

​Creating Hydrogen through Electrolysis

Hydrogen, a versatile element with a myriad of applications, serves as a crucial feedstock for various chemical processes. Beyond its role in chemical synthesis, hydrogen also holds promise as a cleaner energy alternative to traditional fossil fuels. Its clean-burning properties make it an attractive option for power stations, offering a pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. In transportation, it also offers a cleaner fuel alternative for heavy vehicles such as trucks, buses, and construction machinery. There is even the potential for hydrogen-powered ships navigating our seas. The current method of creating hydrogen, however, steam methane reforming (SMR), raises environmental concerns due to its carbon emissions. This prompts a closer examination of alternative hydrogen production methods, particularly water electrolysis. In this article, we compare the established method of hydrogen production, SMR, with emerging water electrolysis techniques. By weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, we aim to shed light on the quest for a more sustainable hydrogen production process that aligns with our collective goal of a greener future.

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The Different Types of Electric Motor

The electric motor stands as a cornerstone of modern engineering. It powers everything from household appliances to industrial machinery and now even the personal car. At its core, a standard electric motor comprises several key components working in harmony. A rotor sits within a stator usually surrounded by an enclosure or frame. Differential energisation of electrical coils within the motor facilitate a changing magnetic field which induces the rotor to turn. There is usually some way to mount the motor, as well as a way to wire it to a power source. Together, these elements form the fundamental structure of the electric motor, converting electrical energy into mechanical motion with remarkable efficacy. In this review, we look at some of the different types of electric motor in use today. These different devices are distinguished by their internal workings which usually also determines their suitability for a particular application.

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Exploring UHF RFID: Power, Modulation, and Global Standards

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is increasingly being used to track just about everything. Indeed, applications of the technology include diverse areas ranging from business inventory management to crowd control at large public events. As we delve further into the era of the internet of things, the use of RFID is expected to rise even more. There are a number different types of RFID technologies in use today, differentiated by the electromagnetic frequencies they use and whether their tags are passive or active. One type of RFID tag technology that has been growing in use more recently is that which uses the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) band of the electromagnetic spectrum. The UHF band encompasses radio frequencies from 300 MHz to 1 GHz, but the UHF RFID tags and readers that are making the most waves recently are those that use the 860 MHz - 960 MHz portion of the spectrum. But how exactly do UHF RFID tags work?

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Are FPGAs the Future of AI?

Diagramatic representation of the components inside an FPGA chip

An FPGA, or Field-Programmable Gate Array, is a programmable semiconductor chip enabling the implementation of various electronic circuits by circuit designers. Unlike fixed physical circuits in traditional processors, FPGA's digital circuits can be configured and reconfigured for diverse tasks. Importantly, no physical changes occur during FPGA programming. Instead, a matrix of programmable logic blocks and interconnects exists within FPGA chips, allowing construction of desired electronic circuits by enabling/disabling as needed. This flexibility is valuable for developing device prototypes or optimising electronic circuits for real-world applications. Today, FPGAs are proving valuable in Artificial Intelligence, raising the question of whether they will be the key processor in future AI.

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FPLC Explained

Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography or FPLC (formerly called Fast Performance Liquid Chromatography) is an advanced technique used in biochemistry and molecular biology to separate, and sometimes purify, biomolecules, in particular, proteins. As with other types of liquid chromatography, FPLC employs a liquid mobile phase and a fixed stationary phase. The mobile phase, containing the molecules of interest, runs through the stationary phase which consists of one or more specialized resins or matrices responsible for the chromatographic separation. In addition, the flow rates and elution conditions in FPLC are all controlled automatically through a system of pumps, interconnecting tubes, and columns to achieve the desired result. In fact, FPLC is similar to a better known type of liquid chromatographic technique called High Performance Liquid Chromatography or HPLC. However, FPLC operates at relatively low pressure but with a relatively fast flow rate, which is the reverse of how HPLC works. Significantly, FPLC is pivotal for various downstream applications in medical diagnostics and scientific research. 

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The Mechanics Behind Measuring Electrical Conductivity of Solutions

Electrical conductivity of a solution refers to its ability to conduct electric current. The metric is used in several real-world applications including the monitoring of water supplies for purity, and when measuring the concentration of plant nutrients in a feed solution. It is also a component of some scientific tools like Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography (FPLC) where it is used to monitor the ionic strength of the mobile phase or buffer.  

Electrical conductivity occurs because of the presence of charged ions within a solution. Applying an electric potential across the solution causes the charged ions to migrate towards their respective oppositely-charged electrodes. As a result, the flow of ions mediates the passage of the electric current. Significantly, the conductivity level of the solution depends on a number of factors, the main ones being the concentration of ions in the solution as well as its temperature.

In this post, we investigate the units normally used to quantify this electrical phenomenon, how to actually measure the conductivity of solutions, and finally, its relationship to the TDS metric.

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Thermionic Emission

Thermionic emission is the process whereby charged particles (usually electrons), known as thermions, are emitted from the surface of a heated material, usually a metal. The process is driven by the extra thermal energy that is added to the system. As a result, energised electrons can overcome the surface barrier of the material and escape into the surrounding space. This phenomenon has been used in various applications, including vacuum diodes, cathode ray tubes and, more recently, mass spectrometry. 

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