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Boosting carbon’s stability for better lithium-air batteries

February 25, 2015 9:15 am | by Ed Hayward, Boston College | Comments

To power a car so it can travel hundreds of miles at a time, lithium-ion batteries of the future are going to have to hold more energy without growing too big in size. That's one of the dilemmas confronting efforts to power cars through rechargeable battery technologies. In order to hold enough energy to enable a car trip of 300 to 500 miles before recharging, current lithium-ion batteries become too big or too expensive.

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Can an HIV drug beat strep throat, flesh-eating bacteria?

February 25, 2015 8:44 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

With antibiotic resistance on the rise, scientists are looking for innovative ways to combat bacterial infections. The pathogen that causes conditions from strep throat to flesh-eating disease is among them, but scientists have now found a tool that could help them fight it: a drug approved to treat HIV. Their work, appearing in ACS Chemical Biology, could someday lead to new treatments.

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Russia will retain part of ISS after operation

February 25, 2015 8:32 am | by Associated Press | Comments

Russia's space agency expects the International Space Station (ISS) to stay in orbit through 2024, and plans to create its own space outpost with its segment of the station after that. Roscosmos' scientific council concluded that several Russian modules could eventually be undocked to "perform the task of ensuring Russia's guaranteed presence in space."

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Graphene shows potential as anticancer therapeutic strategy

February 25, 2015 8:11 am | by Jamie Brown, Univ. of Manchester | Comments

Univ. of Manchester scientists have used graphene to target and neutralize cancer stem cells while not harming other cells. This new development opens up the possibility of preventing or treating a broad range of cancers, using a non-toxic material.

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How eyelash length keeps eyes healthy

February 25, 2015 7:53 am | by Jason Maderer, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

It started with a trip to the basement of the American Museum of Natural History in New York to inspect preserved animal hides. Later, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers built a wind tunnel about 2 ft tall, complete with a makeshift eye. By putting both steps together, the team discovered that 22 species of mammals are the same: their eyelash length is one-third the width of their eye.

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Why a latte is less likely to spill than a coffee

February 24, 2015 2:49 pm | by Jason Socrates Bardi, American Institute of Physics | Comments

Carrying a full cup of coffee from the kitchen to the dining room can be precarious for a sleepy-eyed caffeine addict who might accidentally send a wave of java sloshing over the rim. But add a bit of foam to the top and the trip becomes easier. Scientists have found that just a few layers of bubbles can significantly dampen the sloshing motion of liquid.

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Pretreatment could cut biofuel costs by 30% or more

February 24, 2015 2:43 pm | by Sean Nealon, Univ. of California, Riverside | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of California, Riverside have invented a novel pretreatment technology that could cut the cost of biofuels production by about 30% or more by dramatically reducing the amount of enzymes needed to breakdown the raw materials that form biofuels.

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Electrolyte rids batteries of short-circuiting fibers

February 24, 2015 2:31 pm | by Frances White, PNNL | Comments

Dendrites create fire hazards and can limit the ability of batteries to power our smart phones and store renewable energy for a rainy day. Now a new electrolyte for lithium batteries that's described in Nature Communications eliminates dendrites while also enabling batteries to be highly efficient and carry a large amount of electric current.

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Garlic extract could help cystic fibrosis patients fight infection

February 24, 2015 12:31 pm | by Corin Campbell, Univ. of Edinburgh | Comments

A chemical found in garlic can kill bacteria that cause life-threatening lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis, research suggests. The study is the first to show that the chemical, known as allicin, could be an effective treatment against a group of infectious bacteria that is highly resistant to most antibiotics.

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Sea level spiked for two years along northeastern North America

February 24, 2015 11:32 am | by Mari N. Jensen, Univ. of Arizona | Comments

Sea levels from New York to Newfoundland jumped up about four inches in 2009 and 2010 because ocean circulation changed, a Univ. of Arizona-led team reports in Nature Communications. The team was the first to document that the extreme increase in sea level lasted two years, not just a few months.

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Optical nanoantennas set the stage for a NEMS lab-on-a-chip revolution

February 24, 2015 11:19 am | by Jason Socrates Bardi, American Institute of Physics | Comments

Newly developed tiny antennas, likened to spotlights on the nanoscale, offer the potential to measure food safety, identify pollutants in the air and even quickly diagnose and treat cancer. The new antennas are cubic in shape. They do a better job than previous spherical ones at directing an ultra-narrow beam of light where it is needed, with little or no loss due to heating and scattering.

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Ultra-thin nanowires can trap electron “twisters”

February 24, 2015 11:11 am | by Phil Sneiderman, Johns Hopkins Univ. | Comments

Superconductor materials are prized for their ability to carry an electric current without resistance, but this valuable trait can be crippled or lost when electrons swirl into tiny tornado-like formations called vortices. These disruptive mini-twisters often form in the presence of magnetic fields, such as those produced by electric motors.

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Renewable energy obtained from wastewater

February 24, 2015 10:41 am | by Univ. Autonoma de Barcelona | Comments

Currently, there are treatments in which wastewater can flow out to the river or sea without causing any environmental problems. These technologies however entail high energy costs, mainly in aeration and pumping, and an elevated economic cost in treating the sludge left over from the treatment process.

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Sobering effect of the love hormone

February 24, 2015 8:47 am | by Verity Leatherdale, Univ. of Sydney | Comments

Oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “love” or “cuddle” hormone, has a legendary status in popular culture due to its vital role in social and sexual behavior and long-term bonding. Now researchers from the Univ. of Sydney and the Univ. of Regensburg have discovered it also has a remarkable influence on the intoxicating effect of alcohol.

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Key protein found that allows Plavis to conquer platelets

February 24, 2015 8:38 am | by Mark Derewicz, Univ. of North Carolina Health Care | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of North Carolina School of Medicine have found that the blood platelet protein Rasa3 is critical to the success of the common anti-platelet drug Plavix, which breaks up blood clots during heart attacks and other arterial diseases. The discovery details how Rasa3 is part of a cellular pathway crucial for platelet activity during clot formation.

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