Akron Phy sics Club
Meeting Announcement: MONDAY, January 27, 2003 - TANGIER, 6:00 PM
For our first meeting of the new year, we will hear from another emissary from the University of Akron’s famous glass temple of polymer etiology. Prof. Gustavo Carri of the University of Akron’s Department of Polymer Science, will speak to us on:
WORMLIKE POLYMER CHAINS
STUDIED BY MULTICANONICAL ALGORITHMS
... a title recently changed, we might add, from one posted earlier this month: "Effect of Molecular Weight Polymer Architecture, and External Forces on the Statistical Properties of Semi-Flexible Polymers (An Off-Lattice Monte Carlo-Simulation Study)."
Minutes, January 27, 2003
Present for our first meeting of the year were Tom Brooker, Sam Fielding-Russell, Dan Galehouse, Jack Gieck, Bob Hirst, Ben Hu (welcome back, Ben!), Bill Jenkin, John Kirszenberg, Steve Kraus, Leon Marker, Robert Mallik, Pad Pillai, Darrell Reneker, Ernst von Meerwall, and Charlie Wilson. And as a bonus for the evening — and, we hope, for the future — Bill Jenkin brought his niece, Milian France, author, screen writer, former teacher, and avocational (albeit nonmathematical, she says) physicist.
Called upon by Chairman Ernst von Meerwall for a report on the state of the club’s finances, Treasurer Dan Galehouse, who admittedly has unique objectives for a treasurer (mostly because he carries our treasury is in cash!), was pleased to announce that our wealth had shrunk by another fifteen dollars, resulting in a net balance of $$130.38 — which is infinitely higher than its low point two years ago when our net shrank from $11.00 to a new balance of minus $13.00.
When invited to contribute, your secretary called upon the membership to note and appreciate(!) the digital candid pictures that our webmaster, John Kirszenberg, shot (of a typical APC social hour) and placed in last month’s Newsletter. The obvious lack of recognition revealed that apparently not everybody has the club’s website in his/her Favorite Places. So therefore, the following hyperlink will be included in future meeting e-invitations (I know, if you didn’t have this already, you wouldn’t be reading this). Nevertheless: http://physics.uakron.edu/APC/news.htm
Clicking on the above will make this Newsletter, together with APC Archives and other goodies, appear as if by magic. You can then save the hyperlink as such (it will continue to work), or you can place the site in your own Favorite Places. Please!
At this point Chairman Ernst introduced our speaker, Dr Gustavo Carri of the University of Carri.jpg (78267 bytes) Akron’s Institute of Polymer Science, who, without any physical testing equipment, does amazing analyses of the properties of polymers that have yet to be synthesized in the real world. His “tools” (which is much too weak a word) consist of dozens of computers (e.g. 32, or 64 — or some other multiple of two) he has teamed, or otherwise lashed together, into a super-computer that makes 2001’s “Hal” seem severely retarded by comparison.
The title originally announced in this Newsletter for Dr. Carri’s talk on how he performs these wonders was “The Effect of Molecular Weight Polymer Architecture, and External Forces on the Statistical Properties of Semi-Flexible Polymers (An Off-Lattice Monte Carlo-Simulation Study).” But later in the month, for clarification (and this is not sarcasm as we shall see), our speaker changed it to Helix-Coil Transition of Wormlike Polymer Chains Studied by Multicanonical Algorithms.
Before launching into detail, Dr. Carri first introduced his staff, generously crediting them for their individual contributions to the project. When we met them on the screen it was apparent that he has assembled a United Nations of scientists and engineers from such disparate sites as Brazil, India, and Turkey. And Gus is from Argentina.
With his excellent graphics, our speaker made his new title come to life. The worms took shape as he explained the transition of polymers from random coil configuration (shown as a chaotic heap of bent molecular strands) to helical polymer chains as their temperature was increased — becoming twisted into long, tight, helices, some with frayed ends. These did look something like worms, but to this writer the mental model became more useful when he thought they look like tired, old-fashioned screen-door springs on which some parts had been overstretched. Perhaps these springs had been fashioned out of cheap steel wire that hadn’t spent enough time in the puddling furnace and also hadn’t been uniformly tempered after being bent into a coil — so that the yield point of the metal varies throughout the length of the spring.
This model was particularly helpful in understanding the saw tooth pattern of force-elongation plots of the “springs” (or worms) as they were stretched until the force suddenly dropped — each “tooth” then representing an unstable structural domain that had unraveled and elongated. In subsequent slides, our speaker had plotted a variety of parameters against temperature, e.g., number of helices vs. temperature, energy vs. temperature, average length of the helix vs. temperature, radius of gyration vs. temperature, etc., etc. Some of these were plotted as families of 7 parallel curves whose shapes resembled the latest rides at Cedar Point — with body-wrenching high-g discontinuities — most of these occurring between 300° and 400° K.
All this detailed data, one almost tended to forget, was derived from at least some polymers that existed only in imagination of Dr. Carri’s group — and in the octillions(?) of clusters of magnetic bits in Gus’s teamed computers. Our speaker convinced (most of) us that he has a new way of simulating worm-like (or screen-door spring-like) polymers capable of forming such helical dominions — and actually “testing” their physical properties utilizing equations of the kind he also exposed us to, but which this Mac’s software (and this writer’s mind) are not capable of reproducing.
And once again, if you haven’t done so PLEASE ZAP your RESERVATIONS (or regrets) by Thursday PM, February 20.
P.S.: Don’t miss the candid pix of our club (click on this URL: http://physics.uakron.edu/APC/Gallery.htm )— a contribution by our Webmaster John Kirszenberg — including one of our January speaker Dr. Gus Carri in action — and (probably) one of YOURSELF.
Meeting Announcement: MONDAY, February 24, 2003 - TANGIER, 6:00 PM
Our February speaker is an old friend of the Akron Physics Club. Indeed, two months after the club’s initial organizational meeting, to quote from the minutes for November, 1990: “Dr. Bryon Anderson, Professor of Physics and Director of the Kent State University Planetarium, treated us to "A Short Tour of the Planets" — a delightful custom show he presented for us in the celestial dome of the planetarium.” Eight years later, Dr. Anderson, whose entire career has been in nuclear physics and astrophysics, came to Akron to boggle our minds with “The Solar Nutrino Problem,” whose solution, he declared at the time, would constitute Nobel Prize material.
So it is a delightful surprise that, radically changing venues from the depths of space and subatomic worlds, and with an eye to the weather after the vernal equinox hits, this time Dr. Anderson will be probing:
THE PHYSICS OF SAILING
Our speaker plans to discuss a copious variety of the physics aspects of sailing, including hull speed, surface and form resistance, keel forms and induced drag; and then, of course, there is Reynolds' number and turbulence, as well as sail forms, the physics of surface water waves, the nature of resistance for an object moving through a fluid, as well as Bernoulli's principle as applied to keels and sails.
Minutes, February 24, 2003
Drawn by our speaker’s exciting, balmier-weather topic, despite (or perhaps because of) our recent daunting snowfall (44 cm!) our February meeting attracted a near-record crowd: Bill Arnold and his two guests, wife Mary Arnold and her friend Megan Vance, plus such regulars as Dave Brown, Sam Fielding-Russell, Dan Galehouse and son Ben, Jack Gieck, Bob Hirst, Ben Hu, Bill Jenkin and niece Milian France, whom we met last time. (Milian is losing her guest status herewith, having declared she expects to be a regular!) Then we had our Webmaster John Kirszenberg and his guest, Jerry Cafarelli, plus Steve Kraus, Robert Mallik, Leon Marker, Gary Roberts, Jack Strang, Ernst von Meerwall, Charlie Wilson, and Dave Wynn. Good group!
Although Dan Galehouse, when asked by Chairman Ernst about the health of our treasury, was still collecting at the time, our intrepid treasurer later slipped an encoded (in Galehouse handwriting) message to your secretary, quantifying the club’s wealth at $115.38 after paying Tangier for our dinners. Dan is obviously well on his way to achieving his objective of reducing our portable treasury (which is in cash, since no bank will have such a chintzy club) of less than $100 — making him a less likely target for itinerant muggers.
Whereupon Program Chairman John Kirszenberg introduced our speaker, an old friend of the Akron Physics Club. Since we last had the pleasure of his company, Kent State’s Prof. Bryon Anderson has brought his net authorship of papers published in journals of nuclear physics to more than 100 — not including his and Dr. Nathan Spielberg’s recent book, Seven Ideas that Shook the Universe.
Departing from his career-long devotion to nuclear physics (in which field he has carried out experiments at 15 different accelerator laboratories around the world), Dr. Anderson devoted the evening to another dedicated interest, The Physics of Sailing. Evidence of this other fixation appeared in one of his first (beautiful) Power-Point graphics: His 27-foot (single-mast) sloop that he described as a floating bed-and-breakfast — and which he recently relocated (sailed?!) from Chesapeake Bay to Lake Erie.
Giving us a preview of his talk, Dr. Anderson explained that we would hear about hulls, keels, and sails. One of the first new concepts that some of us non-sailors acquired is that the maximum speed of a boat is determined by the length of its hull, a quantifiable, predictable value known to sailors as “hull speed” – above which a dramatic increase in drag sets in. And it applies to battleships and destroyers as well as to Sunfish sailboats (or to a 27-foot sloop). A 5-foot hull is limited to 3.4 mph; a 20-foot sailboat can’t exceed 6.8 mph. Forty feet will get you 9.7 mph. And sadly, an 80-foot Americas Cup racing craft with soaring sails, propelled by a brisk, ideal wind, can attain all of 13.8 mph. Some of us (admittedly not all!) can run faster than that. Which is why naval vessels have to be so very long to achieve 20 to 30 mph.
As it turns out (and this was a brand-new, somewhat mind-blowing concept for this landlubber to admit acquiring this late in life) the longer the wavelength is in a dispersive medium like water, the faster the wave moves — an effect we all should have noticed when watching the expanding concentric ripples created by throwing stones into a pond. So: when the wavelength of the wave created by the boat itself coincides with the length of the hull (illustrated by a great side-view slide showing the maximum depth of a wave’s trough smack in the middle of the boat’s hull). The next slide showed how any attempt to go faster results in enormous resistance as the bow begins “ploughing.” The effect is somewhat like that encountered by an aircraft when it reaches the speed of sound. Our speaker went on to explain the particle mechanics in wave formation, including a simple energy equation that can be used to calculate hull speed without having to resort to empiricism. Indeed, this value is usually published with the price tag of the boat.
Dr. Anderson’s presentation had more surprises: A tailored bulbous bow in such powered vessels as oil tankers (which operate at a constant speed) saves as much as 15% in fuel. Although a reasonably smooth hull surface is desirable, polishing it has little effect when trying to decrease the shearing of adjacent water molecules – for there will always be a static layer of water adhered to the boat. Polishing is also no help in trying to increase the speed at which laminar flow becomes turbulent, at which transition point the fluid resistance quadruples.
As we got into the physics of keels, Dr. Anderson demonstrated how Bernoulli effects on a winglike keel are much more significant in counteracting the effect of side winds than presenting a long, broad, flat wall-like keel. Water moving faster over one side of the keel than on its opposite surface causes a decrease in pressure on the higher-velocity side, providing lift in that direction, as with an airplane wing with higher velocity air going over the (longer path) top surface. Modern keels have become much shorter structures, with streamlined wing-like cross sections, the most sophisticated terminating their bottom edges in a bulbous, submarine-shaped protuberance that reduces induced drag due to vortex formation in the water.
Bernoulli’s principle has at least as much influence on sails, we learned, although our speaker made it clear that the net movement of a boat is controlled by a symphony of harmonized (albeit counteractive) forces produced by such instruments as the keel, the sail(s) and their position with respect to wind direction, and the heading of the boat as one “moves in a sidling way.”
“The only way a keel will work,” Bryon explained, “is if the boat isn’t going straight in the way you are pointed, but off to the side a bit.” And it was obviously Captain Anderson who added, “And you will just instinctively do this when you sail a sailboat.
“The main way a sail works,” he showed us, “is not from the wind pushing on the side of the sail the wind is coming from, but it’s from the faster-moving wind going around the back of the sail — and that [lift] produces about three times as much pull as the pressure of the wind going around the front side.” It became apparent why square riggers met their demise, since winds blowing directly on the sail is not a good choice – although their square sails did an adequate job if the helmsman was lucky enough to have a perfect tailwind. But sailors know, it seems, that their fastest point of sail is not straight down wind, but approximately with the wind coming directly from the side; however, the optimum angle varies as a function of wind speed. And, yes, one can exceed wind speed by 50 to 100% (e.g., in a low-resistance catamaran) if he is not going directly downwind. Ice boats have been clocked going 100 mph in a 20-mile wind!
It went on like this with a discussion of the formation of and effects resulting from trailing vortices in both water and air (with another stunning, real-world graphic in fog). We heard about sail aspect ratios, the elements of Reynolds criterion — which value establishes the transition from laminar, or “viscous,” flow to turbulence. We also heard about windsurfing, and lots of other neat stuff that we will no doubt find more detailed in a new book on sailing by Bryon Anderson to be released later this year.
Finally, writing this account gives the writer license to declare that for the remarkable Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782), a contemporary of Benjamin Franklin and a physician before becoming the “first mathematical-physicist,” to be able to deduce his “Bernoulli’s Principle,” using solely his mastery of mathematics to attack such an intuitively opaque subject, is an achievement that boggles the mind of this engineer.
P. S.: Don’t miss the candid pix of our club (click on this URL: http://physics.uakron.edu/APC/Gallery.htm )— a contribution by our Webmaster John Kirszenberg
Meeting Announcement: MONDAY, March 31, 2003 - TANGIER, 6:00 PM
Celebrating our victory to get past this year’s reluctant vernal equinox, we will be privileged to hear from Prof. Lloyd Goettler, Director the University of Akron’s Institute of Polymer Engineering as well as Chair of the Department of Polymer Engineering. Dr. Goettler’s topic will be:
LAYERED SILICATE NANOCOMPOSITES
Minutes, March 31, 2003
Surviving the confusion surrounding just when our March meeting was actually scheduled but nonetheless present for the occasion were Dave Brown, Sam Fielding-Russell, Milian France, Dan Galehouse, Jack Gieck, Bob Hirst, Bill Jenkin, Dan Livingston, Leon Marker, Robert Mallik, Pad Pillai, Jack Strang, Ernst von Meerwall, David Wynn, Casey Wynn, and Charlie Wilson.
Called upon by the chair for a statement of our wealth, Treasurer Dan Galehouse announced (with an obvious sense of relief) that we had managed to shrink our treasury to a net of $100.38 — within pocket change of achieving his objective of reducing the contents of his portable cash box to a figure less attractive to area muggers — yet sufficient that we will easily survive yet another year without a membership assessment, thus preserving our reputation as the cheapest club in Akron.
Chairman Ernst von Meerwall reminded us that nominations for club officers are due in April, asking Chairman Emeritus Charlie Wilson, author of our by-laws, for a briefing thereon. Charlie, promising to first read the by-laws, declared that he would be soliciting each of us for our input.
After your secretary briefed the membership about our April program (described above), Chairman Ernst introduced our speaker, chemical engineer Prof. Lloyd A. Goettler, Chair of the University of Akron’s Department of Polymer Engineering, and, in addition to his other duties (as Army orders often read), Director of the Institute of Polymer Engineering as well. After 33 years with Monsanto and its spun-off chemical businesses, Dr. Goettler elected early retirement, to join the world of academe. His topic, Layered (Smectic) Silicate Nanocomposites, is one in which he is an acknowledged expert, having worked for many years in multiphased polymer systems before getting into nano-scale materials – actually, our speaker explained, at the upper end of nanotechnology — of the order of 100 nanometers. (One nanometer, we were reminded equals 10–9 meters [sorry Word hates exponents]).
The technology, Lloyd declared, has enormous potential, having had some 1200 start-ups in the field this past year. Its potential has been estimated at $200 billion to as much as $340 billion. Making composites with nano-scale inclusions, it turns out, can change the properties of materials in very efficient ways, including their stiffness, surface smoothness, chemical and electrical properties, and even their optical properties. Potential applications include automotive body panels, fuel cells, sensors, and even ceramic engines. Toyota is currently trying out a nanocomposite timing belt cover.
The form of these materials includes not only nano-tubes we have heard about from two of our speakers, but also nano-fibrils, molecular cages, and platelets – the latter having a spacing of the order of 3Å apart.
With some striking overhead slides, Dr. Goettler showed us some of the possible structural forms that have been achieved with polymers in combination with the claylike mineral montmorillonite. One of these was Nylon 6 tethered to clay. Surprising to this member of the audience was that dramatic changes in physical properties can be achieved in flexural modulus, for example, with the embedding of only 1-2% of reinforcement. It takes ten times that amount with fiberglass. Indeed, to triple the tensile strength of a fiberglass component takes 40% reinforcement.
In summary, potential advantages of nanotechnology include lighter, lower density materials, increased tensile strength, balanced stiffness or toughness, low thermal expansion, dimensional stability, heat resistance, flame retardance, chemical resistance, ultraviolet resistance, scratch resistance, reduced water absorption, colorability or printability, and, in rubber, greater tear strength.
Meeting Announcement: MONDAY, April 28, 2003 - TANGIER, 6:00 PM
As promised lo those many inclement months ago, with the advent of spring our April speaker will be Dr. William Chamberlin, Principal Research Scientist for Lubrizol, and Chairman of the Society of Automotive Engineers’ New Technologies Committee, as well as American liaison with a similar Japanese association. All of which makes him eminently qualified to speak about:
FORCES INFLUENCING NORTH AMERICAN TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGY IN 2020
Repeating his popular SAE presentation for our Akron Physics Club, Bill Chamberlin will address such factors as the likelihood of hydrogen fuel, proposed new modes of public transportation as means for addressing congestion, safety, and vehicle emissions, as well as fuel infrastructure, demographics, new technological developments, global politics, consumer preferences, cost, and public attitudes.
Minutes, April 28, 2003
Present for the occasion were Dave Brown, Tom Brooker, Milian France, Dan Galehouse, Jack Gieck, Bob Hirst, Bill Jenkin, John Kirszenberg, Dan Livingston, Pad Pillai,Gerry Potts, Gary Roberts, Jack Strang, Ernst von Meerwall, Joe Walter, David Wynn, and Charlie Wilson.
Called upon once again by the Chair for a statement of our wealth, Treasurer Dan Galehouse seemed relieved to announce that he had at last winnowed down our treasury to a net that had sunk to below a hundred dollars; FYI (or FOI), $85.38; a value so meager that it is likely to be spurned by professional muggers worthy of the name – but sufficient to pass yet another year without a dues assessment. Cheers are due!
Whereupon Chairman Ernst vM summoned Founder Charles III, Chairman of the Nominating Committee for the slate of officers for fall; however, due to a combination of recalcitrance on the part of the our secretary, who no longer wishes to hog the job for himself (after 12 years), and the reluctance of those unwilling to bask exclusively in the honor, Charlie advised that some additional negotiation would be required. In intervening weeks, Chairman Charles subsequently transmitted the following slate via the Information Highway:
|Chair:||Ernst von Meerwall|
|Program Co-Chairs:||John Kirszenberg & Bob Hirst|
|Program Vice-Chair:||Leon Marker|
|Co-Secretaries:||Jack Gieck & David Wynn|
|Co-Asst-Secretaries:||Jerry Potts & Charlie Wilson|
(An observer from the Oort Belt might think this was important.)
It was time to introduce our speaker: William Chamberlin, Principal Research Scientist for Lubrizol, author of at least 18 technical papers, and Chairman of the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Emerging Technologies Committee (as well as the Society’s American liaison with a similar Japanese association), had driven down from Wickliffe to deliver his very popular analysis of Forces Influencing North American Transportation Technology in 2020. His presentation generated so much interest that his talk became a seminar of record length, probably getting our speaker back home close to midnight. We extend both our gratitude and our apologies.
In putting his research together, Bill began by examining what knowledgeable people were predicting, and/or wishing for, in 1980: What was likely to happen, not what should happen. One of the strong influences in thinking at the time was the sudden escalation of fuel prices that peaked in 1982. One of the wilder influences under that narcotic was that, by 2000, fusion power would begin to take over. But in the meantime, to free our society’s transportation from domination by foreign commodities, the “informed” public believed that we should develop cars that would run on either gasoline or methanol (which could probably be made from coal).
Many problems that would ensue were identified. Unlike gasoline, methanol dissolves lots of rubber polymers. Another is that although the present air-fuel vapor mixture in gasoline tanks cannot be set off by a spark, a methanol-air mixture is explosive! One bastardized solution to that problem was a 50-50 mixture of gasoline and alcohol – which still dissolved everything, and polluted sophisticated lubricants. Then, suddenly, the price of oil dropped, and so did interest in these technologies.
But meanwhile, back at foreign automotive ranches, a different approach to the Middle East price problem was introduced: They had been making cars that got 30 miles per gallon compared to the American 11 mpg, and foreign manufacturers began invading “our” market with more efficient cars. And suddenly, our speaker explained, Detroit minds began to realize that they had to have some understanding of the world at large instead of just paying attention to our own back yard. Indeed, they actually began cultural interaction at a technological level, even coming to common languages. This resulted not only in better efficiency but improved safety and a healthier mental attitude about what cars should be like.
Bill followed with a stunning sequence of colorful Power Point slides that presented data showing the effect of gasoline prices on miles driven, vehicle population, vehicle age, their survival rate, etc. We also looked at public attitudes and resulting trends, e.g., the transportation means used in getting to work; highway usage; congestion; and the phenomenon of leasing, which has grown enormously to about a third of vehicles sold, and its effect on manufacturers improving vehicle quality in order to improve resale value of their large number of “sold” cars that they continue to own.
We saw a study of the growth of population metropolitan areas and resulting population densities over the period 1950 to 1990, and some of these were startling enough to record:
|Population Growth (%)||Population Density (%)|
The point here is that while metropolitan areas have grown, the population density has decreased, making public transportation less viable. In addition businesses have evolved from rail-centered business districts to Interstate-diffused business locations making public transportation even less viable.
Another list compared Btu per passenger mile for public transportation, rail, passenger car, and light truck - and another compared efficiencies of various fuels, acknowledging such nuances as the fact that the carbon dioxide effluent in ethanol is recycled by grain-growing plants from which more ethyl alcohol can be made. Or that tweaking Diesel fuel with 20% water lowers the combustion temperature, reduces particulates, and yields more energy (more miles) per a given level carbon dioxide emissions.
This kind of penetrating analysis, much of which was just pain fun to behold (partly for the genius apparent in the unlikely choices of relevant values that were selected for study) went on far longer than we have license to record here.
We were not cheered, however, to note the recent infestation of partisan politics, e.g., that although the Clinton administration had striven for goals like reducing fuel consumption and ultimately tripling fuel economy (going from 27 to 80 mpg) – which is actually possible through the development of hybrid (gas-electric) cars – the Bush administration has decided to go for the things that don’t work, throwing billions in government money at such unlikely objectives as the “freedom car,” fuel cells and hydrogen fuel.
Hydrogen, we learned, is so dangerous that many scientists and engineers have refused to work on the technology. And with present means of making the raw, explosive gas (never mind the radical new infrastructure and safety precautions necessary to enable the public to pump 300 psi pressurized H2 gas into their fuel tanks), the equivalent fuel cost for the “hydrogen economy” is estimated at about $11.00 per gasoline equivalent gallon.
Does this sound like our Administration is making sure that American automotive manufacturers (and the oil industry) can relax and maintain its technological status quo? Your secretary wrote a paper in 1978 in which he quoted the wisdom of the time: “We know that by 1985, the V-8 engine will be dead.” Not quite. In January GM unveiled the Cadillac Sixteen, with a 13.6 liter, V-16, 1000 horsepower engine. Commented GM’s chief of product development in an unguarded moment, “Everybody is tired of taking crap.”
P.S.: Since this is the club’s last Newsletter until September, I thought it appropriate to follow with loyal niece Milian France’s birthday salute to our only member who is actually older than either Leon or your secretary. On August 18, Milian’s uncle Bill Jenkin will be authorized to post LXXXX in the age box — or, alternatively, XC! Until now, Jenkin has had a hidden past! Congratulations, Bill.
Milian Bradan France
WILLIAM "WILD BILL" JENKIN
The RIGHT STUFF!
Bill Jenkin, who will be 90 on August 18, 2003, recently had a "Doppler" test to determine whether he has enough of the RED STUFF circulating throughout his extremities. And of course, he had plenty in all of them, and playfully posed for this photo holding a magazine proclaiming MARS OR BUST, which raised some questions ? is there an upper age limit for going into space? Perhaps fellow Ohioan John Glenn, a mere whipper-snapper by comparison, could find out the requirements.
NASA most certainly would ask a few questions of Bill Jenkin. Referring to Tom Wolfe’s, The Right Stuff, the astronautical "Bible," they would undoubtedly ask if Bill fits the basic requirements for any test pilot, "drinking and driving, and driving and flying!"
'Hell yes," Bill would say, although probably not in a Chuck Yeager drawl. Taking in a regular 5 ounces of Tawny Port each evening, topped by a helping of Courvoisier, Curacao or a dry Martini, chased down by a goblet or two of Chardonnay or other white wine, Bill would undoubtedly qualify for the drinking portion of that equation. But what about the driving? He’s 89!
Well, NASA would be assured that respectable William C. Jenkin is Wild Bill Jenkin when it comes to driving, with a valid drivers license, jetting around regularly in his big green Lincoln Towncar going regularly to the symphony, theatre and monthly technical meetings, including the Franklin Club, the Akron Physics Club, the Cleveland Astronomical Society, and the ASM, (American Society of Materials). Bill is, himself, not only a driver, but also driven -- an accomplished pianist with a 6 foot Baldwin grand of his own, and of course, a chemical engineer still actively consulting with his partners in Utah, Canada and Wales. Wild Bill has 17 patents in his name, and was a pioneer of CVD, Chemical Vapor Deposition, specializing in nickel carbonyl, a chemical so toxic it’s not even allowed in the U.S. any more except in eensy quantities. Yet Wild Bill tamed it full strength in his basement, saying he knew how to be careful and not get hurt, and then built his own lab in 1994. Why, there’s an outfit in Colorado currently negotiating to use Bill’s CVD process on the asteroids in 20 or 30 years, when they build mining and manufacturing operations out in space! That should surely qualify Bill Jenkin for NASA!
But what about the flying? Remember, the book says, drinking and driving, driving and flying. "You ever do any flying, Bill?" NASA would ask.
Bill would think for a moment or two, and then with a twinkle in his eye, would say, "Hell yeah, once I even won an airplane!"
"YOU WON AN AIRPLANE! Not many test pilots have ever even done that!"
"Yup," Bill would say, his voice taking on a slight southern lilt. "I got married, and then won an airplane on my birthday!"
The guys from NASA would fall back in their chairs. "That’s it," they would exclaim, "Bill Jenkin definitely has to qualify for space!" One would lean forward surreptitiously and whisper, "Was your wife a rhythmic gymnast?"
Bill would wink and say, "No, but she was a ballerina!"
Meeting Announcement: May 19, 2003 - TANGIER, 6:00 PM
Once again, in this third annum of the new century, to avoid a collision with Memorial Day and to accelerate the advent of summer, we are meeting a week early. For our last meeting this season we will be privileged to hear from Dr. David Allender, Professor of Physics and Professor of Chemical Physics at Kent State University. Prof. Allender, who has worked closely with the Liquid Crystal Institute, and whose graduate students study the physics of theoretical condensed matter as well as empirical techniques to achieve phase transitions associated with liquid crystal materials, is obviously well qualified to talk to us about:
TOPICS IN LIQUID CRYSTALS
AND: We’ll also be electing and committing to our slate of officers for the new fall season.
Minutes, May 19, 2003
Present for the final meeting of the season, Tom and Marie Brooker (welcome back, Marie!), Sam Fielding-Russell, Milian France, Dan Galehouse, Jack Gieck, Bob Hirst, Bill Jenkin, Steve Kraus, Leon Marker, Pad Pillai, Darrell Reneker, Jack Strang, Ernst von Meerwall, and Charlie Wilson.
For openers, Chairman Ernst von Meerwall asked your secretary to call the assemblage’s attention to the important P.S. in the May Newsletter, which attached an illustrated essay by Milian France entitled “Wild Bill Jenkin,” celebrating Member Bill’s distinguished career as a chemical engineer – and as a pilot – who won an airplane in 1944! The occasion was scheduled to be Bill’s ninetieth birthday, on August 18th. The club celebrated the event with an advanced round of applause. Happy birthday from us all, Bill!
A quorum being in evidence, Chairman Ernst called upon Nominating Committee Chairman Charlie Wilson (III) to reveal the names of the members who had agreed to serve as the working class of the club beginning in September. Observing that like many military organizations we will have more brass than enlisted men (or women) in fall, Charles disclosed an impressive slate:
|Chair:||Ernst von Meerwall|
|Program Co-Chairs:||Bob Hirst & John Kirszenberg|
|Program Vice-Chair:||Leon Marker|
|Co-Secretaries:||Jack Gieck & David Wynn|
|Co-Asst-Secretaries:||Jerry Potts & Charlie Wilson|
There being no further nominations, and, being eager to shed lots of his duties, your secretary moved that the slate of nominees be accepted by acclamation. Let the record show that the motion passed unanimously! Which brought us to Treasurer Dan Galehouse’s May report confirming that our club had completed yet another season without a dues assessment. Moreover, our treasury balance has declined to a very comfortable (for him) cash balance of $70.38 — both factors revealing once again that we remain the cheapest club in Akron — and that we have an excellent treasurer! By which point it was time for Chairman Ernst to introduce our speaker.
Our program season this year has been composed like a Brahms Hungarian dance, beginning and ending with the same theme, albeit with a more intricate treatment in our Allegro conclusion. We began with a tour of the Liquid Crystal Institute on the Kent State campus in September. Here, Dr. Philip Bos introduced us to the Basic Physics of Liquid Crystal Displays (See APC Archives, Sep02) and we ended the season with a truly state-of-the-art overview of current theory (some contributions less than two years old) about what has been called “nature’s delicate phase of matter.” Our speaker, Dr. David Allender, Professor of Physics and Professor of Chemical Physics at Kent State University and his graduate students have worked closely with the Liquid Crystal Institute in their studies of the physics of theoretical condensed matter as well as in empirical techniques to achieve phase transitions associated with liquid crystal materials.
Although our speaker’s subject was billed as Topics in Liquid Crystals, Prof. Allender began with a coda, or extra added attraction, demonstrating his personal “Levitron” — a wonderful magnetic toy that consists of a ceramic disc in the form of a spinning magnetic top about the diameter of a quarter. The pole on the bottom side of the spinning disc is repelled by the upward-facing like pole of a toroidal magnet concealed in the base.
After more than one try to find the matching rotational speed of the top and the levelness of the supporting toroidal magnet, Dr. Allender (eventually — and with the help of Member Milian) found the elusive snuggly stable pocket where the magnetic fields balanced. There we beheld the happily-spinning Levitron, floating about a decimeter (rare flights use rare units) aloft above its magnetic base, where it was magically suspended for the better part of a minute. The achievement drew cheers. This toy demonstrates, Dave explained, that one cannot use repulsion alone to form a stable equilibrium to achieve levitation – a fact that had been recognized by 1840 to be a universal attribute of dipoles in an external field. It is the spin that keeps the magnetic top from flipping over and zooming downward or off to the side.
Things got more serious after that, as our speaker showed us some of the mathematics that (not yet elegantly it turns out) addresses the energy states of liquid crystals — which exhibit themselves as “splay,” “bend,” and “twist” — the elastic constants of the material. These describe alternative statistical orientations that the rod-like molecules assume in a liquid crystal as they cool down sufficiently to change phase, going from a random isotropic attitude to a nematic, mesomorphic state in which they mostly point in the same direction (even though their centers of mass still amble freely around).
As long as ten years ago, Dr. Allender’s group identified a fourth elastic constant. In their work they have mostly utilized relatively small (less than 100 molecular weight) anistroptropic molecules — typically consisting of a couple of rigid benzene rings, maybe attached to a hydrocarbon. It is the ability of these unusual materials to react to electric fields or to light that makes liquid crystal displays possible.
Our speaker is currently investigating, among other phenomena, e.g., what happens at an air-liquid interface as the liquid is cooled; i.e., does a nematic phase form at the surface? If so, how good is the degree of order, and how thick is it, and how will it change as the temperature is decreased? As it turns out, they do interact with the surface, preferring to line up parallel to each other, perpendicular to the surface – a layer that gets thicker as the temperature decreases. After some sixteen years, actual phase changes have been observed — and at Kent State. The mechanism is a growth outward from the nematic layer at the interface to fill the whole sample, an operation called “wetting,” in which the surface becomes infinitely thick – all of which was the predicted answer.
But, it turns out, so is the possibility that the layer will remain finitely thick. Although there seem to be solid reasons why this could happen, it has yet to observed; however, the mathematics associated with the wetting phenomenon, our speaker thinks, probably applies to lots of other systems besides liquid crystals, including magnetic systems, two fluids, a binary gas, or a liquid-vapor transition. The forms of their free energy, Dave points out, are the same. All have a phase change between nematic and isotropic at the interface..
Meanwhile, back at the factories (mostly Japanese factories) many new species of displays are emerging. Some have much higher contrast, others operate on very lower power, and still others have very high switching capabilities. But at the basis of all these devices are the unusual morphological and optical properties of this most delicate phase of matter.
WE WELCOME VISITORS!
Meeting Announcement: MONDAY, September 22, 2003 - TANGIER, 6:00 PM
Already, before summer has barely asserted itself, it has already become time for our first meeting of the fall season — for which we are pleased to announce that our speaker will be Dr. Charles Lavan, Engineer-Principal and Lead Scientist for Akron’s Lockheed-Martin The title of Dr. Lavan’s program is
THE FUTURE OF AIRSHIPS
Having been privileged to hear an earlier version of this talk, your secretary can’t resist introducing some sneak previews, including unmanned, stationary, rigid airships operating at 70,000 feet, with 30-foot propellers driven by 400 watt electric motors powered by solar cells, . . .
Minutes, September 22, 2003
There was a rousing response to the first night of the new Akron Physics Club season, no doubt due to the reputation of our speaker, the local nature of his topic, and perhaps because a large percentage of the Club has been deputized in one form or another into the sub-committee of the Secretariat (apologies for the slightly inside joke). Proving that it is difficult, if not impossible, to take over the fine work of our long-standing Secretary, Jack Gieck.
An even two dozen members and guests sat in attendance for this night’s dinner, talk and discussion. Regulars Dave Brown, Tom Brooker, Milian France, Dan Galehouse, Jack Gieck, Robert Hirst, Bill Jenkin, John Kirszenberg, Leon Marker, Gerry Potts, Darrell Reneker, Gary Roberts, Dick Sharp, Jack Strang, Ernst von Meerwall, Joe Walter, Charlie Wilson, and Casey and Dave Wynn were joined by guests (or semi-regulars) Arlene Lawless, Brott Rinehart, Boyd Simmons, Dave Fielder and Susan Wynn. A very nice kickoff indeed.
As always, the business portion of the meeting was brief. Chairman von Meerwall called the group to order after dessert and during lingering coffee. Our beloved treasurer, Dan Galehouse, reported that he continues to squander our inheritance and now has the Club’s cash balance down to $70.38. There was no discussion, however, as to whether deficit spending should be considered as a goal of the group.
The floor was then granted to the evening’s speaker, Dr. Charles Lavan. Dr. Lavan is employed by Lockheed Martin in Akron where he has the title Engineer-Principal and Lead Scientist. His talk was entitled, “The Future of Airships.”
The airship in question for the evening was Dr. Lavan’s project of several years, the HAA, or High Altitude Aircraft. His introduction described a gargantuan airship 500 feet in length that would fly at 21 kilometers for one-to-three years and require no refueling because it lived on solar power. The teaser was that this vehicle would be designed in, and fly from, Akron.
The aircraft project was a proposal to the Missile Defense Agency for $40 million design contract. At the time of our meeting, Dr. Lavan and Lockheed Martin were in competition with Boeing for the contract. Within a week of our meeting the news media alerted us to the fact that Lockheed Martin had indeed been awarded the contract. (No mention was made in the press release as to whether or not the added prestige of an Akron Physics Club presentation had swayed the government’s decision, but we can speculate privately.)
Dr. Lavan fleshed out his introduction with descriptions, drawings and photographs. “Pseudo-satellite” was perhaps the most romantic portrayal of the airship, while “cell phone tower in the sky” and “blimp” helped round out the picture for the laypersons in the audience. Dr. Lavan explained that the craft would in fact be very large. At 500 feet long and 150 feet in diameter, and with a volume of over 5 million cubic feet, it would be about 25 times the size of the current Goodyear blimps. The vehicle will be made entirely of a polymeric fabric (Vectran), with no rigid structure. Helium would be contained within five chambers enclosed in 1.5 mil Saran wrap.
The airship is designed to fly at 70,000 feet, above the ceiling for commercial airspace, where the air density is just 1/20th of that at the surface. The altitude was chosen because winds there average 10 – 12 knots, requiring less power for the vehicle to stay in a fixed location that at other altitudes. Low wind speed is critical. Doubling the wind speed would force the craft to expend eight times the energy to fight the drag and stay in its fixed location. The design calls for the ship to stay within one kilometer of its home location horizontally, and to vary its altitude by no more than 1000 feet.
Stability will be controlled by Helios motors driving 30-foot propellers at up to 300 revolutions-per-minute, all powered by over 2 acres of photo-voltaic arrays. All energy needs (propulsion, payload requirements, etc) will be satisfied by these pv cells. The system is designed to function without repair or replacement for 1 to 3 years.
Dr. Lavan explained several anticipated uses for his airship. Among current proposals are telecommunications relay, weather observation, and various defense-related functions. The telecommunications options work both ways: in addition to the “cell phone tower in the sky features”, which include a coverage of 1,200 kilometers in diameter at the earth’s surface, the project members have been approached to use the vehicle to receive transmissions from NASA’s Jupiter's Icy Moon Observer (JIMO) program.
Asked about the relative vulnerability of such a large, immobile craft (especially if it might be used militarily), Dr. Lavan pointed out that, first of all, there are very few weapons that could reach the airship, and that even a rather large hole in the exterior would cause only slow degradation of the functionality of the craft. Of greater concern is environmental damage, specifically from lightning.
Dr. Lavan was well-received and had an enthusiastic group of well-wishers in his quest for the government contract that would lead to $40 million in funds for the Akron area and 50 – 60 new jobs as well. Mostly, however, the group was anxious to be on hand when the first such vehicle ascends from the Akron air dock (at an upwards velocity of 1000 feet/minute).
Meeting Announcement: MONDAY, October 27, 2003 - TANGIER, 6:00 PM
Take time out from your preparations for Dia de los Muertos and join us for dinner and a fine presentation by Professor Peter L. Rinaldi, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Molecular Spectroscopy Lab at The University of Akron.
The title of Dr. Rinaldi's program is
Multi Dimensional NMR of Synthetic Macro Molecules
Minutes, October 27, 2003
Gathered to hear Dr. Rinaldi, as well as for the fellowship and cibarious pleasures of yet another excellent Tangier repast (filet mignon sautéed with peppers, portobello mushrooms in a Burgundy wine sauce!), were Georg Böhm and his guest Dennis Brumbaugh, Dave Brown, Sam Fielding-Russell, Milian France, Dan Galehouse, Jack Gieck, Lloyd Goettler (who spoke to us in March on Layered Silicate Nanocomposites), Robert Hirst, Bill Jenkin, John Kirszenberg, Leon Marker, Pad Pillai, Darrell Reneker, Boyd Simmons, Ernst von Meerwall, and Charlie Wilson.
In a decretory albeit brief business meeting, Chairman Ernst von Meerwall called upon our club’s newly-appellate (by Successor Secretary Dave Wynn in minutes yet to be posted) “Beloved” Treasurer Dan Galehouse for a statement of our wealth – which, to his relief (because of the reluctance of Akron banks to accept trivial accounts, he must carry our treasury in cash) had decayed to $82.38 in September. After completing his calculations, Dr. Galehouse (who lectures on Mathematical Physics) determined that the evening had produced a net profit of $2.00, resulting in a new balance of $84.38.
Whereupon Chairman von Meerwall summoned your (hopefully retiring) Secretary, who explained that a combination of urgent business trips by Assistant Secretary Dave Wynn, together with an ignominious crash on the part of our Webmaster John Kirszenberg’s computer had delayed the posting of the Newsletter on our APC website.
All of which brought us to the intellectual piece de resistance of the evening. Chairman von Meerwall introduced Dr. Peter Rinaldi, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Molecular Spectroscopy Lab of The University of Akron, who boggled some of our minds and amazed us all with his presentation on Multidimensional Nuclear Magnetic Resonance of Synthetic MacroMolecules.
Dr. Rinaldi had last spoken to us in November of 1994, when the title of his presentation was “Capabilities of Modern NMR Spectroscopy.” As his new talk unfolded, it became apparent that these capabilities have increased literally by orders of magnitude. With stunning Power Point graphics animated progressively in a teaching style that permitted even the uninitiated to follow the four 3-D methodologies he described, Dr. Rinaldi explained how he and his students slice through molecules like a cat-scan, sometimes looking at 1/30,000th of a sample at a time, to study the polymer structure: the monomer sequence in the main chain, stereo sequence, its branching chains, what is happening at chain ends, the molecular weight, and even something about the reaction mechanism for the initiation of polymerization.
It takes three years, however, for a student to become completely versed in NMR spectroscopy – which usually involves, following a production delay to permit nuclear spins to reach their equilibrium state, a brief burst of RF radiation (10 micro-seconds or so) to excite all the nuclei in the sample. Then, when the RF is turned off, each nucleus transmits its own unique NMR signal as its excitation decays over a period lasting milliseconds to seconds. The samples are 500 milligrams to one milligram, usually with the polymerization reaction having gone to only about 20% completion.
The methodologies Dr. Rinaldi described are applicable for: (1) structures where three NMR active nuclei are present in the structure, e.g., 1H/13C/X (where X is a third, high-abundance nucleus such as F19 or Si29); (2) structures where isotopic labeling (especially with 13C) is possible; and (3) structures and problems where isotopic labeling is not feasible and only two NMR active nuclei (1H and 13C) are present. These methodologies have been applied to the study of synthetic polymers, dendrimers, supramolecular assemblies and organometallic compounds. You can see why it takes three years to feel comfortable with the technology!
Our speaker listed more than 50 names as contributors to the development of the methodologies he presented. They included chemists at Goodyear and Dupont, as well as members of his group – which currently has active programs ranging from the University of Pennsylvania to the Netherlands. Recent work, he says, makes former difficult problems now “trivial” to solve. To catch up on these activities, Dr. Rinaldi referred us to his website: http://www.chemistry.uakron.edu/magnet
We WELCOME VISITORS!
Meeting Announcement: MONDAY, November 24, 2003 - TANGIER, 6:00 PM
An appropriate follow-up to Dr. Peter Rinaldi’s talk on Multi-Dimensional NMR of Synthetic MacroMolecules, our speaker for November will be Dr. Chrys Wesdemiotis, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the University of Akron’s Mass Spectrometry Laboratory. Prof. Wesdemiotis will speak on
MASS SPECTROMETRY OF POLYMERS
The Microstructure and Architecture of Polymers
Minutes, November 24, 2003
In attendance for our last meeting for 2003 were Sam Fielding-Russell, Milian France, Dan Galehouse, Jack Gieck, Robert Hirst, Bill Jenkin, John Kirszenberg, Dan Livingston, Robert Mallik, Leon Marker, Darrell Reneker, Boyd Simmons, Boyd Smith (a retired E.E. and amateur astronomer – welcome aboard Boyd!), Jack Strang, Ernst von Meerwall, and Charlie Wilson.
(During dinner, Dan Livingston experienced what was probably an allergic reaction, leading to paramedics being called by Tangier’s night manager, Chris. Dan was promptly picked up and taken to Akron General Medical Center, where he spent a comfortable night. The next day he had a series of tests run that, as he says, “my doctor has been wanting me to have run anyway.” Dan sends his regards and his thanks for everyone’s concern and prompt response to the occasion – whatever its cause.)
After reassembling, and resuming the order of the evening, Chairman Ernst von Meerwall called upon Treasurer Dan Galehouse (who had returned from seeing Dan Livingston to the ambulance) for a statement of our wealth. The net of his report was that our new dinner charge of $17.00 seems to have been a good choice, our treasury balance since November having changed by all of one dollar to a new balance of $83.38 – thus maintaining our reputation as the cheapest club in Akron, having had no dues assessment for several years.
Next, summoned by Chairman Ernst, our Webmaster, John Kirszenberg, explained that the University of Akron had finally solved its problems with the new software governing our club website (http://nebula.physics.uakron.edu/APC/), and that he had posted the missing Newsletters containing the minutes for both our September and October meetings – which the membership is, accordingly, herewith directed to read! Clicking on the blue hyperlink will reveal all the delayed deathless prose.
Switching roles, to that of Program Co-Chairman, John announced our scheduled speakers for January (see above) and February (Prof. R. Byron Pipes Goodyear Professor, and Director of the Akron Global Polymer Academy at U of A’s Department of Polymer Engineering) And in a subsequent e-mail of December 15, John advised that we have a speaker for March (Dr. Clyde Simpson of the CMNH Observatory). John is also working on a possibility (Dr. Erol Sancaktar of the U of A) for April or May.
Which brought us to the introduction of our speaker, Dr. Chrys Wesdemiotis, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the University of Akron’s Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, whose subject was Mass Spectrometry of Polymers: the Microstructure and Architecture of Polymers.
With magnificent animated Power Point graphics, Prof. Wesdemiotis provided an insight into the work his group has been doing for the last eight years, to provide a complete analysis of the major and minor components in a mixture of polymers, including the determination and quantification of polymer end groups, utilizing a technique involving the ionization of polymer samples – largely replacing the photographic methods employed in the 90s which were not nearly as sensitive to minor components.
To achieve this unlikely feat, ionization is performed by subjecting a small polymer sample to a photon beam, causing each molecule to be converted into a gaseous ion – which is accelerated down a tube a highly evacuated tube. The time of flight down the tube is a measure of its mass, and the ratio of mass to charge (M/z) reveals the composition of the molecule. When the results are analyzed on the screen of a spectrometer with the M/z ratio on the x-axis, the relative heights in the series of repeated peaks on the y-axis reveals the ratio of the various components in sample – which can number as many as eight different products having as few as a hundred ions in the sample. Homopolymers and copolymers can be then separated, and each of these is identified from head to tail, in three-dimensional detail.
We saw the resulting architecture of simple molecules like polystyrene contrasted with dendritic macromolecules, as well as globular, highly branched macromolecules with multiple reactive chain ends with their bonds converging to a focal point. We saw one cyclic structure with a long end group that our speaker called a “tadpole”– its long wavy polymeric tail making it look like one.
It became clear that mass spectrometry (M/S) and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) have made an enormous contribution to the ability to study the architecture of highly complex molecules – as well as mixtures of same. Moreover, Dr. Wesdemiotis said, the compositional structural insight provided by these techniques promises to reveal important mechanistic information about the polymerization process. It was a heady experience.
WE WELCOME VISITORS!