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APRIL 2018 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 41 Shaughnessy: Were you seeing any problem in getting the raw materials? In the past we've seen slowdowns here and there in the supply chain. Amla: Copper has been a major thorn, in the sense like it's something we haven't planned for because it's going into another industry, so with the rise of EVs, the copper that was originally destined for our laminate industry is going into batteries. That was creating shortages until recently, where they saw parity in pricing on very smooth copper as the pricing on the automo- tive side started going down, so we're seeing those pressures. We're also seeing pressure from the glass indus- try, because, again, there are alterna- tive uses for it, and the same thing goes for resin. Somehow for the industry to sur- vive and thrive there will have to be more sharing of the profits all the way upstream. If not, then there will be supply chain pressures and availabil- ity of raw materials will become an issue. There are more lucrative out- lets for these raw materials right now. It's a dynamic situation where if we get parity in pricing, then we'll be able to get raw materials; if not, then the supply will shift to the alternative market. Some of this can be also related to shutdowns and other things that happen on a periodic basis, such as what we've seen with the furnace shutdowns that happened recently. That's a maintenance-related issue. That happens with the glass manu- facturers. Shaughnessy: Well, it sounds like you all have a good plan going. I appreci- ate your time. Amla: Thanks, Andy. DESIGN007 A New Way to Atomically Thin Materials Metallic conductivity and hydrophilicity of MXenes have established them as electrodes in rechargeable batteries and supercapacitors, as well as other applications, includ- ing photothermal cancer therapy, electromagnetic shielding, water purification and gas sensing. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, researchers have now introduced a new production method. Instead of using conventional, yet more expensive, titanium aluminum carbide, they selectively etch silicon out of titanium silicon carbide, a cheaper and more common precur- sor, to synthesize titanium carbide. Two-dimensional materials, consisting of extremely thin layers that are a few atoms thick, have unique properties that are completely different than the normal three-dimensional versions. A prominent example of this is graphene, which is made of single layers of carbon atoms. In 2011, a new class of two-dimensional materials was synthesized at Drexel Uni- versity in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, USA). Known as MXenes, the materials are made of transition metal carbides and nitrides, where the M stands for a transition metal, such as titanium, vanadium, or molybdenum, X can be carbon and/or nitrogen, and many compositions are available (about 30 have already been experimentally demonstrated and dozens more are expected). One such MXene is titanium carbide, Ti3C2. A team led by Yury Gogotsi at Drexel University has now developed a successful variation of this process. By adding an oxidizing agent, the researchers could weaken the silicon bonds and oxidize silicon. Using mixtures of hydrofluoric acid and an oxidizing agent like nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide, or potassium permanganate, the team produced titanium car- bide MXene by selectively removing silicon out of Ti3SiC2.

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