Archive for the ‘materials’ category

May 20, 2019

Deflecting Earthquakes The Way Ancient Romans Did It

Posted by in category: materials

A recent French study indicates that the ancient Romans may have figured out how to deal with earthquakes by simply deflecting the energy of the waves using structures that resemble metamaterials. These are materials which can manipulate waves (electromagnetic or otherwise) in ways which are normally deemed impossible, such as guiding light around an object using a special pattern.

In a 2012 study, the same researchers found that a pattern of 5 meter deep bore holes in the ground was effective at deflecting a significant part of artificially generated acoustic waves. One of the researchers, [Stéphane Brûlé], noticed on an aerial photograph of a Gallo-Roman theater near the town of Autun in central France that its pattern of pillars bore an uncanny resemblance to this earlier experiment: a series of concentric (semi) circles with the distance between the pillars (or holes) decreasing nearer the center.

Further research using archaeological data of this theater site confirmed that it did appear to match up the expected pattern if one would have aimed to design a structure that could successfully deflect the acoustic energy from an earthquake. This raises the interesting question of whether this was a deliberate design choice, or just coincidence.

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May 20, 2019

Geologists Just Discovered a Source of Volcanoes Deeper Than Ever Before

Posted by in categories: materials, space

Researchers have pinpointed a previously unknown source of volcanoes in the extreme depths of Earth — in the transition zone between the upper and lower mantle.

Until now, we thought we had a handle on the ways in which volcanoes form, welling up from the molten regions in the upper mantle beneath our planet’s crust, but the new discovery takes things much farther down.

In the Bermuda islands, which sit atop an extinct volcanic seamount, geologists have found the first direct evidence that material from the transition zone, between 400 and 650 kilometres (250 and 400 miles) below Earth’s surface, can bubble up and be spewed out of volcanoes.

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May 18, 2019

Scientists Discover a New Way Volcanoes Form, Sheds Light on Bermuda’s Origins

Posted by in category: materials

The ancient, now-dormant volcano on which the island of Bermuda sits formed in a completely unique way, scientists have discovered. The finding not only solves a long-standing mystery about the island’s volcanic origins, but it also describes a new way volcanoes form.

In studying a rock core sample taken from Bermuda, drilled from 1972, geoscientists have discovered the first direct evidence that material from deep within Earth’s mantle transition zone —a layer rich in water, crystals and melted rock — can percolate to the surface to form volcanoes.

Researchers have long known that volcanoes form when tectonic plates converge, or as a result of mantle plumes that rise from the core-mantle boundary to make hotspots at Earth’s crust.

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May 17, 2019

Single molecule magnet used as a scanning magnetometer

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

A team of researchers from the University of California and Fudan University has developed a way to use a single molecule magnet as a scanning magnetometer. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group outlines their research which involved demonstrating their sensor scanning the spin and magnetic properties of a molecule embedded in another material.

As scientists continue their quest to squeeze ever more data onto increasingly smaller storage devices, they are exploring the possibility of using the magnetic state of a or even an atom—likely the smallest possible memory element type. In this new effort, the researchers have demonstrated that it is possible to use a single molecule affixed to a sensor to read the properties of a single molecule in another material.

To create their sensor and , the researchers first absorbed magnetic of Ni(cyclopentadienyl)2 onto a plate coated with silver. Then, they pulled a nickelocene molecule from the silver surface and applied it to the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope sensor. Next, they heated an adsorbate-covered surface to 600 millikelvin and then moved the sensor tipped with the single molecule close to the surface and read the signals received by the probe as the two molecules interacted.

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May 16, 2019

New Horizons’ far-out findings from solar system’s Kuiper Belt turn into a cover story

Posted by in categories: materials, space travel

The space snowman known as 2014 MU69 or Ultima Thule added to its celebrity today by showing up on the cover of the journal Science, with the first peer-reviewed results from an encounter with NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft laid out within.

Close study of the two-lobed object — which orbits 4 billion miles from the sun within a sparse belt of icy material known as the Kuiper Belt — could shed light on how the solar system was formed, said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute.

“We’re looking into the well-preserved remnants of the ancient past,” Stern said in a news release. “There is no doubt that the discoveries made about Ultima Thule are going to advance theories of solar system formation.”

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May 16, 2019

Atomically thin light emitting device opens the possibility for ‘invisible’ displays

Posted by in categories: futurism, materials

The device opens the door to invisible displays on walls and windows – displays that would be bright when turned on but see-through when turned off — or in futuristic applications such as light-emitting tattoos, according to the researchers.

“The materials are so thin and flexible that the device can be made transparent and can conform to curved surfaces,” said Der-Hsien Lien, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley and a co-first author along with Matin Amani and Sujay Desai, both doctoral students in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at Berkeley.

Their study was published March 26 in the journal Nature Communications. The work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

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May 15, 2019

A hydrogel that can stop bleeding from an artery

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in China has developed a hydrogel that can stop bleeding from a punctured artery. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes how the hydrogel was made and how well it worked on test animals.

Uncontrolled bleeding is a very serious situation, both during surgical procedures and as a result of trauma. In most cases, it is the result of damage to a major artery or an organ like the liver. In all cases, immediate action must be taken or the victim will die. Currently, treatment for such involves clamping the artery and then using sutures to close the wound. In the past, researchers have attempted to create a type of glue to stem such wounds, but thus far, none of them has worked as hoped—they were either made of or were not strong enough to stand up to the high liquid pressure in the bloodstream. In this new effort, the researchers have developed a new type of that solves both problems.

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May 13, 2019

Plastic eating bacteria in the oceans

Posted by in categories: food, materials

Huge plastic waste dumps float in the Oceans bigger than continents. Some 10% of world’s plastic waste finds its way into the sea and ends up in the central regions where slow moving circular currents trap debris into one large constantly moving mass of plastic. This is slowly being broken down into a plastic dust that marine wildlife mistake for food. Small fish consume tiny bits of plastic as if they were normal plankton. Those fish are then consumed by larger species and the plastic contamination moves up the food chain. Over a million seabirds, as well as more than 100 thousand marine mammals, die every year from ingesting plastic debris. Some researchers estimate that there are over six kilos of plastic for every kilo of naturally occurring plankton in the Pacific plastic waste dump.

Dead seabirds having mistaken plastics for food, have been found with discarded plastic lighters, water bottle caps and scraps of plastic bags in their stomachs. / Oceanic gyres: the circular movement of the ocean waters concentrates the plastic in the centre of the oceans.

But maybe things are not as bad as it looks: scientists working on the pollution saw that it did not grow in 22 years, even if the plastic production grew fourfold. An organism may be eating plastic in the ocean, but whether the bug is green or mean remains to be seen.

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May 11, 2019

Scientists create crystal which would allow us to breathe underwater

Posted by in category: materials

A spoonful of the material can absorb the oxygen of an entire room.

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May 11, 2019

Oops! Scientists accidentally create new material that makes batteries charge much faster

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

Some of the most famous scientific discoveries happened by accident. From Teflon and the microwave oven to penicillin, scientists trying to solve a problem sometimes find unexpected things. This is exactly how we created phosphorene nanoribbons – a material made from one of the universe’s basic building blocks, but that has the potential to revolutionize a wide range of technologies.

We’d been trying to separate layers of phosphorus crystals into two-dimensional sheets. Instead, our technique created tiny, tagliatelle-like ribbons one single atom thick and only 100 or so atoms across, but up to 100,000 atoms long. We spent three years honing the production process, before announcing our findings.

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