Swagelok Northern California Blog

New Core-shell Catalyst for Ethanol Fuel Cells

Scientists have developed a highly efficient catalyst for generating electrical energy from ethanol. Ethanol, usually made from corn, is easy to make and store. The catalyst makes ethanol a high-density source of off-the-grid power, and may also enable applications such as liquid fuel-cell-powered drones.

Topics: Mission Critical

Turning the Switch on Biofuels

The nearly limitless supply of sugar trapped in the cell walls of plants could be a boon to the production of biofuels and chemicals—if it were easier to extract. The solvents usually used in sugar extraction inhibit the growth of yeast and bacteria that are necessary for biofuels. Researchers have now found a way to make the bacteria better able to withstand the solvents.

Topics: Mission Critical

Luxfer Hydrogen Fuel Cell Case Study

Luxfer Gas Cylinders is an alternative fuels company that is the world’s largest manufacturer of high-pressure aluminum and composite gas cylinders. It also produces alternative fuels delivery systems. Luxfer recently partnered with Swagelok Manchester to develop an EC-79-certified hydrogen manifold delivery system that is in place in city buses around the world.

Topics: Mission Critical

Swagelok Hose Advisory Service Can Save You A Lot Of Grief

Our specialists are trained to understand why hoses fail, and to suggest the best hose for a job


"When a hose fails, and they didn't plan on that hose failing, it'll bring down their whole entire system. In some cases, their whole entire production line."

- From Hose Advisory Services Video (below)

Topics: Hoses Tips Services Video

Artificial Intelligence Designs Metamaterials Used in the Invisibility Cloak

By designing artificial atoms smaller than the wavelength of light, and by controlling the polarization and spin of light, researchers can create metamaterials with optical properties that are not found in nature. However, finding the right material is currently a matter of much trial and error, a problem that AI seems well-suited to solve.

Topics: Mission Critical

New Low-cost Thermoelectric Material Works at Room Temperature

Thermoelectric devices that can directly convert electricity into thermal energy for cooling or heating would be ideal for, say, cooling your steering wheel on a hot day, or even your overheated car. But the materials needed for these devices have been both expensive and inefficient at room temperature—until now.

Topics: Mission Critical

Physicists Get Thousands of Semiconductor Nuclei to Do 'Quantum Dances' in Unison

A team of researchers has found a way to control the sea of nuclei in semiconductor quantum dots so they can operate as a quantum memory device. The team used lasers to “cool” the nuclei to less than 1 milliKelvin. They then showed they can control and manipulate the thousands of nuclei as if they form a single body in unison.

Topics: Mission Critical

How to Improve Fluid System Performance

The key to protecting operations and maintaining fluid system safety and performance is to create a learning culture that focuses on continuous system improvement, minimizing installation errors, and equipping employees with the skills to tackle jobs with confidence.

Topics: Mission Critical

Better By Design: Swagelok Mechanical Support Systems

Our designs start with all the best practices of API 682, but we take them further


"A lot of sites have specifications for particular things that they want to use, and we adapt to that"

- From Swagelok mechanical seal support systems for API 682 are better by design (Video below)

Topics: Tips Video Application Support

Robo-fish Powered by Battery ‘Blood’

Scientists have developed a soft, swimming robot that is propelled by a fluid rather than sold batteries. The fluid stores energy and moves the fish’s fins, allowing the machine to store more energy in a smaller space and operate for long periods.

Topics: Mission Critical

Experiment Reverses the Direction of Heat Flow

Strange things happen at the quantum level. One recent experiment violates the second law of thermodynamics, showing that heat can flow spontaneously from a cold object to a hot object without adding energy.

Topics: Mission Critical

Controlling Thermal Conductivity of Polymers with Light

Polymers are used as thermal insulators for everything from keeping your coffee hot to keeping your computer cool. In a new study, researchers demonstrate a novel type of polymer which has switchable thermal conductivity that can be controlled by light. The material’s potential to create heat on-demand could lead to more efficient ways to manage heat.

Topics: Mission Critical

Swagelok Field Engineer Services: Improving Analytical Instrumentation

Worldwide, industrial facilities are feeling the pressure to increase profits despite the widening manufacturing skills gap. Swagelok field engineers can help remedy your fluid system challenges with training and expert evaluation services.

Topics: Mission Critical

Mechanical Seal Support Systems Save Time And Money

If a seal goes down, an entire process can go down


"Innovative design features make maintenance easier."

- From Mechanical seal support systems help reduce costs (Video Below)

Topics: Tips Video Seal Support Systems

This Robot Ostrich Can Ride Around on Hovershoes

Researchers at UC Berkeley’s Hybrid Robotics Lab have gone a step beyond the old rolling robot vs. walking robot debate. They have taught their bipedal robot Cassie how to autonomously get around on hovershoes. Wondering about the applications for such a maneuver? Think food delivery to security and surveillance to search and rescue missions to transportation in large factories and warehouses.

Topics: Mission Critical

1 + 1 Does Not Equal 2 for Graphene-like 2D Materials

Physicists have discovered that when two atomically thin (3D) graphene-like materials are placed on top of each other, their properties change. The stack of materials becomes a novel marial with hybrid properties. Hundreds of combinations become possible that are impossible in traditional three-dimensional materials.

Topics: Mission Critical

OLED Breakthrough Could Make Smartphone Screens Twice as Energy Efficient

A new recipe for the organic LEDs that comprise the screens on smartphones and TVs has the ability to make screens brighter, with better contrast and longer life. The polarised light generated by the new OLEDs has potential applications in storage, transmission and encryption of information.

Topics: Mission Critical

An Introduction to Fittings: Identifying Thread Size and Pitch

Even the most seasoned professionals can experience difficulty identifying threads. Swagelok product manager Andy Hitchcock explains how to identify thread size and pitch on your fittings using a caliper, pitch gauge and thread identification guide.

Topics: Mission Critical

Corrosion: Pervasive, Problematic, Preventable

It takes the right materials and the right training to keep corrosion at bay

Topics: Tips Best Practices

It’s All in the Twist: Physicists Stack 2-D Materials at Angles to Trap Particles

Quantum mechanics is the new frontier of information technology. But in order to make quantum devices practical, scientists must reliably trap and manipulate quantum particles. Now physicists report that they have developed a system to trap bound pairs of electrons and their associated positive charges using lattice-like arrangements of 2D materials.

Topics: Mission Critical

Graphene 3D Printing – Can It Be Done?

As scientists continue to discover new uses for graphene thanks to its strength, lightness, and electrical conductivity, it seems natural to try to pair it up with another revolutionary technology--3D printing. So can it be done? Not really. The atomic bonds in graphene are only lateral--so it can only exist in two dimensions.

Topics: Mission Critical