47 of 2020



                                                              Newsletter No. 47 / 11 December 2020                            



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Patterning method could pave the way for new fiber-based devices, smart textiles

By ACS Central Science

Multimaterial fibers that integrate metal, glass and semiconductors could be useful for applications such as biomedicine, smart textiles and robotics. But because the fibers are composed of the same materials along their lengths, it is difficult to position functional elements, such as electrodes or sensors, at specific locations. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Central Science have developed a method to pattern hundreds-of-meters-long multimaterial fibers with embedded functional elements.

Youngbin Lee, Polina Anikeeva and colleagues developed a thiol-epoxy/thiol-ene polymer that could be combined with other materials, heated and drawn from a macroscale model into fibers that were coated with the polymer. When exposed to ultraviolet light, the polymer, which is photosensitive, crosslinked into a network that was insoluble to common solvents, such as acetone. By placing “masks” at specific locations along the fiber in a process known as photolithography, the researchers could protect the underlying areas from UV light. Then, they removed the masks and treated the fiber with acetone. The polymer in the areas that had been covered dissolved to expose the underlying materials. As a proof of concept, the researchers made patterns along fibers that exposed an electrically conducting filament underneath the thiol-epoxy/thiol-ene coating. The remaining polymer acted as an insulator along the length of the fiber. In this way, electrodes or other microdevices could be placed in customizable patterns along multimaterial fibers, the researchers say.  Promostyl

Scrap quotas for SMMEs, use set asides instead

By Given Majola

The government’s public procurement system with quotas for SMMEs was not working and needed to be scrapped, Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said yesterday. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban – The Government’s public procurement system with quotas for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) was not working and needed to be scrapped, Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said yesterday.

Ntshavheni said the department was now pushing for the amendment of the public procurement bill that would allow the country to have set-asides for SMMEs instead.

“The quota system does not work, because, say for instance we want to put aside 30 percent of government procurement spending. What constitutes 30 percent in a catering business, infrastructure business, textile clothing like with police uniforms and others, vehicle maintenance, consulting services (legal, management, engineering)? This means nothing,” said Ntshavheni.

The minister was speaking at the University of Johannesburg’s Business School webinar series .

She said what was proposed was rather than saying that SMMEs should receive 30 percent in the government’s infrastructure build programme, which goes up to R1 trillion, that either brickwork or steel-works should be set aside for SMMEs.

“In that case, you can go back to say to the Presidency’s Investment and Infrastructure Office or Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille your brickwork/steelwork is being done by a big company and not an SMME. On the 30 percent, people can always swing it this way or that way. We want it to be done away with. We want set-asides,” she said.

The minister said she hoped the police would come to the SMME party in the next financial year.

“Police have a fleet of 50 000 vehicles. Why can’t those vehicles be serviced and repaired by young mechanics, panel-beater and fitment centres owned by young people in our townships and rural areas? I said it is possible.”

Ntshavheni said the elimination of quota systems and their replacement with “set-asides” would help the country to build a niche. “If you go to other countries, where I am sitting I know that Mozambicans are good with brickworks and motor mechanics. Zimbabweans are good with electrics and plumbing. What are South Africans good at? We can only be good at something if we put a particular sector and category to be done by a particular SMME to build technical skills.”

UJ Centre for Entrepreneurship director Machaka Mosehana said many South African SMMEs were stuck in the start-up phase because of a lack of specialisation.

“We are talking about the access to market opportunities that are available for the SMMEs as the country embarks upon the economic recovery and reconstruction journey,” Mosehana said.  IOL

Sewing Dad Jokes

  • My friend composes songs about sewing machines. He’s a Singer-songwriter.
  • If you are freaking out over a sewing project, don’t worry. What you are experiencing is called “Seamstress’ed”. It’s a quite common phenomenon among people who sew.
  • I can’t remember any sewing jokes, I’m running out of materials.
  • My wife’s sewing machine isn’t working properly. Not sure what’s wrong with it though, it just seams a little off.
  • If your block isn’t working right, just try turning it around. Maybe it will work left.
  • How did you know the thief was a seamstress? She seemed to be following a pattern.
  • How did you know my wife just started sewing? She never finishes her quilting projects.
  • What do you call a gathering of quilters? A block party.
  • How do quilting babies learn to walk? With a walking foot.
  • Why couldn’t Santa convince the quilter to come to visit? he didn’t have enough backing.
  • How do a seamstress travel? Stitch-hiking.
  • What did the quilter blame for having too many children? Reproduction fabric.
  • Why are Christmas trees so bad at sewing? Because they drop all their needles.
  • Girl: Hi Doctor, have you found out what my condition is yet? Doctor: Yes, do you like sewing? Girl: Yes, but what does that have to do with any of this? Doctor: You seam-stressed.

Did you know……..

“More than $500 billion of value is lost every year due to clothing underutilization and the lack of recycling” (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017)

Where does your clothing go when it’s not needed anymore? Statistically, tons of fast fashion items are being thrown away every year. This is not only due to customers getting rid of their wardrobe items, but also due to retail stores. Instead of recycling or donating clothing that wasn’t sold, most fast fashion companies are often spotted tossing or burning the unsold stock, which leads to terrifying losses of natural and financial resources.

To Advertise…..   Click here to see fact sheet with advertising rates. 

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