Professor recognized for research

” Dr. Zhenhai Xia, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Akron, has recently been published in Science Magazine for his research on fuel cells. Xia explained in layman’s terms what a fuel cell is. It is a membrane and two electrodes that use hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity, Xia said.”

Dr. Zhenhai Xia, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Akron, has recently been published in Science Magazine for his research on fuel cells.

Xia explained in layman’s terms what a fuel cell is.

It is a membrane and two electrodes that use hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity, Xia said. Most importantly the by-product is just water, so it is a clean energy, which is why it’s so popular.

This new discovery can be used for many different applications, including cars, airplanes, computers and iPods, says Xia.

The problem is we currently use precious metal that is very expensive, and so the major barrier for the fuel cell is the catalyst.

Xia compared the catalyst and a car’s engine to show the absurd expense for the catalyst.

For instance, for the catalyst using fuel cells for driving a car, the catalyst is only 5200 grams, but it costs $4,000 for the entire gasoline engine, Xia said.

The reason the platinum material is so expensive is because we have limited resources since it is only found in Russia and a few other countries.

Xia is very excited about the discovery that has been made.

We found what we use is a carbon nanotube which is a very good material for the catalyst. It has a much better performance than the platinum and it is a carbon material. And since carbon is found everywhere, it is much better and more useful, says Xia.

He compares the price of their new product to computers. He explains that when computers first came out they were very expensive to buy, but after time went by, and more people purchased computers, the price decreased. This is similar to what will happen for Xia’s new product.

Because their product will be much cheaper, more people will be able to afford it, and therefore there will be a dramatic decrease in price.

Xia worked with a team of three other researchers for two to three years to make this discovery. Once their research was finished, Xia and his team sent a paper to Science Magazine in September 2008.

They saw a very good paper because it has a big impact on the industry and on science, so they wanted to publish as soon as possible, Xia said.

If you want to be published in Science Magazine you have to do something that breaks the rule, especially in the engineering area because it is very hard to publish. Science Magazine is mostly a comprehensive journal.

Xia says his favorite part about his research is finding a new way for people to reduce the cost. Most people want to reduce platinum, but what we did was to find another material.

I think that all students are looking for people and universities with good research and they are planning for their future, he said.

Science Magazine is a very prestigious journal and if they find out that you have published a paper in there, they will see that your research is very high level.

The recent fuel cell article is not the first article of Xia’s that the journal published.

Four months ago we published a paper on an adhesive material, similar to gecko feet, which can be used for climbing, robots and also other applications, Xia said.

Xia feels that his publication and research will show prospective students that Akron is a very respected university.