Little more than a decade ago, the United States imported much of its natural gas. Today, the nation is tapping into its own natural gas reserves and is beginning to export natural gas to other countries. Experts are now looking to develop innovative processes that can readily and cost effectively make chemical intermediates like ethylene and propylene from natural gas instead of petroleum, which is declining in use.
Researchers in Spain report they have produced self-compacting concrete with ash from...
Civil engineers at Purdue University, working with the Indiana Department of Transportation, is...
A new video released by the American Chemical Society provides a behind-the-scenes-look at the DayGlo Color Corp. factory, producer of the fluorescent paints that light up traffic cones, black light posters, hula-hoops, and other products. The factory is a “chemical landmark”, according to ACS, that is noted for its expertise in creating these glowing colors.
Although widespread rebuilding in the hard-hit New York metro region from Super Storm Sandy has not yet begun, New Jersey Institute of Technology professor Mohamed Mahgoub says when the hammers start swinging, it's time to look at autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC). A combination of finely ground sand, cement, quick lime, gypsum, aluminum, and water, AAC offers light weight, strength, and environmental friendliness, but has yet to catch on widely in the U.S.
The prices for rare earths increased ten-fold between 2009 and 2011, prompting researchers at Ames Laboratory to revisit a rare earth recovery process once employed to make high-strength alloy. Now, they are working to more effectively remove neodymium, a rare earth element, from the mix of other materials in a rare earth magnet.
Engineering faculty and students at the University of Colorado Boulder have produced the first experimental results showing that atomically thin graphene membranes with tiny pores can effectively and efficiently separate gas molecules through size-selective sieving. Such capability could significantly enhance the efficiency of natural gas production while reducing carbon dioxide emissions at the plant.
Microorganisms isolated from nature use their own metabolism to produce certain chemicals. But they are often inefficient, so metabolic engineering is used to improve microbial performance. Recent work at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology highlights the potential for engineered organism, such as Escherichia coli, to aid in common industrial processes such as polymer production.
Within optical microchips, light finds its way through waveguides made of silicon, and is amplified with the help of other semiconductors, such as gallium arsenide and erbium. But until recent work in The Netherlands, no chip existed on which both silicon and erbium-doped material had been successfully integrated. The new chip now amplifies light up to 170 Gbit/sec.
Scientists at CRANN, a nanoscience institute based at Trinity College Dublin, have partnered with brewing company SABMiller on a project to increase the shelf life of bottled beer in plastic bottles. Their research centered on a nanostructured boron nitride additive that, when added to plastic bottles, will make them impervious to carbon dioxide and oxygen.
Though costly to produce, hydrogen is crucial for the oil-refining industry and the production of essential chemicals such as the ammonia used in fertilizers. The recent invention of a new photocatalyst may help the efficiency of this process. Nanometer-scale “Janus” structures consisting of cheap metal and oxide spheres were recently demonstrated as an excellent catalyst for a hydrogen-production reaction powered only by sunlight.
Engineers at Cornell University have invented a way to pattern single atom films of graphene and boron nitride, an insulator, without the use of a silicon substrate. The technique, called patterned regrowth, is reliant on conventional silicon photolithography technology and could lead to substrate-free circuits that would be atomically thin yet retain high tensile strength and superior electrical performance.
Microscale objects can be completed in a number of different ways. But tuning the chemical properties of that objects can be difficult. Using laser beams, researchers in Austria have shown that molecules can be fixed at exactly the right position in a 3D material. The new method can be used to grow biological tissue or to create micro-sensors.
Researchers in California have recently described a new kind of polymer solar cell that produces energy by absorbing mainly infrared light, not visible light, making the cells nearly 70% transparent to the human eye. The device was made from a photoactive plastic that converts infrared light into an electrical current.
Johns Hopkins Hospital tissue engineers have used tiny, artificial fiber scaffolds thousands of times smaller than a human hair to help coax stem cells into developing into cartilage, the shock-absorbing lining of elbows and knees that often wears thin from injury or age.
A drawing program and a 3D printer: These might be the only tools necessary for production of microstructures and nanostructures for devices and sensors of the future. With a new printed 3D silicon manufacturing technology, researchers at Sweden hope to greatly reduce the cost and complexity of creating these building blocks.
A new laser based technology to structure organic solar cells, developed in Germany, has proved itself as fast and efficient at helping to create organic solar cells. Called direct laser beam interference patterning, the method transfers nanostructures in one step into metals, ceramics or polymers.
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory-led Army ManTech program has achieved a breakthrough in the ability to process thermoplastic-based composites for use in the helmets of soldiers. The new material grades have produced several types of head protection, each of which saves at least one-quarter the weight and up to 35% higher tolerance from fragmenting munitions.
Scientists in the U.K. have discovered a previously unrecognized volcanic process called “fluidized spray granulation”, which can occur during kimberlite eruptions to produce well-rounded particles containing mantle, most notably diamonds. This physical process is remarkable similar to the gas injection and spraying process used to form smooth coatings on chocolates.
Stratasys, Inc., a manufacturer of 3D printers and production systems for prototyping and manufacturing applications, and privately-held Objet Ltd., a manufacturer of 3D printers for rapid prototyping, have approved a definitive merger agreement under which the companies would combine in an all-stock transaction worth approximately $1.4 billion.
Medical isotopes are used to treat cancer and heart disease worldwide, but have been typically been made using highly enriched uranium. This material can also be used to create nuclear bombs, which has prompted a recent agreement between several countries to ensure its future supply while improving security.
Inspired by nature's ability to shape a petal, and building on simple techniques used in photolithography and printing, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a new tool for manufacturing three-dimensional shapes easily and cheaply. A new method of gel lithography allowed them to photo-pattern polymer gel sheets that can then be shaped at will.
Following up on a 2009 demonstration of an efficient electrical interface for nanomechanical resonators, a research team in Munich, Germany, have now built a fully integrated nanomechanical sensor platform that permits robust and sensitive detection of tiny displacements.
A multinational team of scientists has developed a process for creating glass-based, inorganic light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that produce light in the ultraviolet range. If successfully integrated into biomedical devices, these would be the first robust, cheap to produce, and chemically stable LEDs to operate in the medically-useful UV spectrum.
Fifteen years ago, an environmentally-friendly solder developed by Ames Laboratory became the first viable, cost-effective alternative to tin-lead solder. The successful tin-silver-copper alloy has now replaced an advanced mass spectrometer as the top royalty generator for both Ames and Iowa State University.
General Motors and Teijin Limited, a manufacturer of carbon fiber and composites, have announced they will co-develop advanced carbon fiber composite technologies for potential high-volume use globally in GM cars, trucks, and crossovers.
The Haber-Bosch process has long been used to convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia—essential in the manufacture of fertilizer—but scientists have had little understanding of how it actually works. A team of chemists at the University of Rochester have produced new insights into how ammonia is formed.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory has awarded a $13.2 million task order to AREVA Federal Services for fabrication of five drain tanks for the ITER tokamak cooling water system. ITER is an international project to demonstrate the feasibility of commercial fusion energy.