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Archive for the ‘materials’ category

Jun 11, 2018

Wastewater treatment plants are key route into UK rivers for microplastics

Posted by in category: materials

Water samples from UK rivers contained significantly higher concentrations of microplastics downstream from wastewater treatment plants, according to one of the first studies to determine potential sources of microplastics pollution.

Scientists from the University of Leeds measured microplastics concentrations up and downstream of six wastewater treatment plants and found that all of the plants were linked to an increase in microplastics in the rivers—on average up to three times higher but in one instance by a factor of 69.

Lead author Dr. Paul Kay, from the School of Geography at Leeds, said: Microplastics are one of the least studied groups of contaminants in river systems. These tiny plastic fragments and flakes may prove to be one of the biggest challenges in repairing the widespread environmental harm plastics have caused. Finding key entry points of microplastics, such as wastewater treatment plants, can provide focus points to combating their distribution.

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Jun 11, 2018

Sweden distributes ‘be prepared for war’ leaflet to all 4.8m homes

Posted by in categories: habitats, materials

“Society is vulnerable, so we need to prepare ourselves as individuals,” said Dan Eliasson of the Swedish civil contingencies agency, which is in charge of the project. “There’s also an information deficit in terms of concrete advice, which we aim to provide.”


Defence pamphlet shows how population can prepare in event of attack and contribute to country’s ‘total defence’

European affairs correspondent.

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Jun 10, 2018

Rutgers physicists create new class of 2D artificial materials

Posted by in categories: materials, physics

In 1965, a renowned Princeton University physicist theorized that ferroelectric metals could conduct electricity despite not existing in nature.

For decades, scientists thought it would be impossible to prove the theory by Philip W. Anderson, who shared the 1977 Nobel Prize in physics. It was like trying to blend fire and water, but a Rutgers-led international team of scientists has verified the theory and their findings are published online in Nature Communications.

“It’s exciting,” said Jak Chakhalian, a team leader of the study and Professor Claud Lovelace Endowed Chair in Experimental Physics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “We created a new class of two-dimensional artificial materials with ferroelectric-like properties at room temperature that don’t exist in nature yet can conduct electricity. It’s an important link between a theory and an experiment.”

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Jun 10, 2018

Researchers Have Invented an Awesome And Scary Nuclear Battery Pack

Posted by in categories: materials, nuclear energy

Are we ready?


Batteries powered by radioactive materials have been around for more than a century, but what they promise in power they usually lose in bulk.

Not so with a new kind of power source, which combines a novel structure with a nickel isotope to pack ten times more power than an electrochemical cell of the same size. The only question is, are we ready to go nuclear?

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May 30, 2018

Smart Roads Could Soon Call An Ambulance, Connect You to the Internet

Posted by in categories: internet, materials

A Kansas City startup wants to make roads smart by replacing asphalt with high-tech slabs of concrete. But are they better, than normal roads?

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May 28, 2018

Aspirin Emulates some Aspects of Caloric Restriction

Posted by in category: materials

A substance found in aspirin has been demonstrated to replicate certain beneficial aspects of caloric restriction including triggering autophagy, the way our cells recycle unwanted materials.

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May 21, 2018

Newly discovered copper and graphite combo could lead to more efficient lithium-ion batteries

Posted by in categories: energy, materials

A first-of-its-kind copper and graphite combination discovered in basic energy research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory could have implications for improving the energy efficiency of lithium-ion batteries, which include these components.

“We’re pretty excited by this, because we didn’t expect it,” said Pat Thiel, an Ames Laboratory scientist and Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University. “Copper doesn’t seem to interact strongly or favorably with graphitic materials at all, so this was a big surprise. It really challenges us to understand the reasons and mechanisms involved.”

The scientists bombarded graphite in an ultra-high vacuum environment with ions to create surface defects. Copper was then deposited on the ion-bombarded graphite while holding it at elevated temperature, at 600–800 K. The synthetic route created multilayer copper islands that are completely covered by graphene layer(s).

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May 19, 2018

Revolutionary 3D nanohybrid lithium-ion battery could allow for charging in just seconds

Posted by in categories: materials, nanotechnology

Left: Conventional composite battery design, with 2D stacked anode and cathode (black and red materials). Right: New 3D nanohybrid lithium-ion battery design, with multiple anodes and cathodes nanometers apart for high-speed charging. (credit: Cornell University)

Cornell University engineers have designed a revolutionary 3D lithium-ion battery that could be charged in just seconds.

In a conventional battery, the battery’s anode and cathode (the two sides of a battery connection) are stacked in separate columns (the black and red columns in the left illustration above). For the new design, the engineers instead used thousands of nanoscale (ultra-tiny) anodes and cathodes (shown in the illustration on the right above).

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May 16, 2018

Two cool: A pair of patents filed on breakthrough materials for next-gen refrigerators

Posted by in categories: energy, materials

Scientists at the research consortium CaloriCool are closer than ever to the materials needed for a new type of refrigeration technology that is markedly more energy efficient than current gas compression systems. Currently, residential and commercial cooling consumes about one out of every five kilowatt-hours of electricity generated in the U.S., but a caloric refrigeration system could save as much as 30 percent in energy usage.

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May 16, 2018

Plastics are ubiquitous in the deep ocean — even in the Mariana Trench

Posted by in category: materials

Plastic is everywhere — literally.

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