On a professional level, Betase is familiar with the following technology areas:
Materials and materials technology
Society develops and renews over and over again, and new materials with desirable properties and applications remain a necessity in this. Materials scientists know which influence the microstructure has on the final properties of a material – and, hence, of a product. By turning the knobs on a small scale, it will be possible to improve the properties of the product or to discover a less expensive manufacturing route.
Due to their hardness, exceptional wear resistance and chemical resistance, advanced ceramic materials can still be used when other materials – such as most polymers and metals – have failed already. Furthermore, most of them are excellent electrical and thermal insulators, but the extensive advanced ceramics family also has members with exactly the opposite properties. No wonder that these materials are abundant – in satellites, microelectronics and cars, to name a few applications.
Chemistry and chemical technology
Separating and combining – chemistry’s field of activity lies in between those two extremes. In this respect, ‘chemistry between two people’ implies a more than average bonding between them. On the other hand, a Dutch synonym for chemistry is ‘scheikunde’ or ‘art of separation’, indicating the importance of separation, for example to obtain substances with a high purity. Membranes can be used for this purpose.
Chemistry as the science of the structure, composition, properties and transitions (‘chemical reactions’) of compounds is closely related to materials science and technology – although in the latter discipline area solid materials predominate. Where chemistry describes the fundamental aspects of compounds, chemical technology deals with practical realisation, for example by designing or using equipment for heat or mass transport (such as heat exchangers and pumps), or for separation equipment or chemical reactors.
Membranes and membrane technology
Many people consider membranes as filters that allow small particles to pass and that reject large particles, and separate ‘the large’ from ‘the small’ in this way. However, such a description is much too poor for a membrane. For example, membranes also form the basis for ‘breathing’ rain coats, that allow sweat (water vapour) to go outside, but refrain rain (also water, but in a liquid phase) from entering. Apparently membranes are much more than ‘upgraded sieves’, and they can separate in more ways than only by size exclusion. Which is expressed by the variety of membrane types.
In the same way as materials technology deals with processing and application of materials, information technology has something to do with processing and application of information. In the past decades, the information and communication technology, abbreviated as ICT, has expanded enormously. After the rise of personal computers and the internet in the twentieth century, mobile platforms with their ‘apps’ are currently a hot item, and the ‘internet of things’ is ready to go. Then there is the ever-increasing interaction between (control) software and technical equipment. A good manifestation of this is mechatronics – a contraction of mechanics and electronics – where computers control the moving parts of machines.