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The Lead

New nanogenerator harvests power from rolling tires

June 30, 2015 8:40 am | by University of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

A group of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers and a collaborator from China have developed a nanogenerator that harvests energy from a car's rolling tire friction.

Natural rubber from dandelions

June 8, 2015 10:59 am | by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft | News | Comments

Dandelions are modest plants that are an excellent alternative source for a raw material of high...

Tiny silicone spheres appear from the mist

May 7, 2015 7:44 am | by Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Technology in common household humidifiers could enable the next wave of high-tech medical...

Many plastics labeled “biodegradable” don’t break down as expected

March 18, 2015 1:43 pm | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Plastic products advertised as biodegradable have recently emerged, but they sound almost too...

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Textured rubber that grips slick, icy surfaces

March 17, 2015 4:08 pm | by Jason Socrates Bardi, American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

Winter storms dumped records amounts of snow on the East Coast this February, leaving treacherous, icy sidewalks and roads in their wake. Now researchers from Canada are developing new methods to mass-produce a material that may help pedestrians get a better grip on slippery surfaces. The material, which is made up of glass fibers embedded in a compliant rubber, could one day be used in the soles of slip-resistant winter boots.

Lengthening the life of high-capacity silicon electrodes in rechargeable lithium batteries

December 2, 2014 4:14 pm | by Mary Beckman, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | News | Comments

A new study will help researchers create longer-lasting, higher-capacity lithium rechargeable batteries, which are commonly used in consumer electronics. In a study published in ACS Nano, researchers showed how a coating that makes high-capacity silicon electrodes more durable could lead to a replacement for lower-capacity graphite electrodes.

Simple sewing machine has high-tech role in future “soft” machines

June 3, 2014 7:50 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

The humble sewing machine could play a key role in creating "soft" robotics, wearable electronics and implantable medical systems made of elastic materials that are capable of extreme stretching. New stretchable technologies could lead to innovations including robots that have human-like sensory skin and synthetic muscles and flexible garments that people might wear to interact with computers or for therapeutic purposes.

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Northwestern researchers create “rubber-band electronics”

July 3, 2012 3:32 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Northwestern University, working with a team of scientists from the United States and abroad, have recently developed a type of electronics that can bend and stretch to more than 200% their original size, four times greater than is possible with today’s technology. The key is a combination of a porous polymer and liquid metal.

Civil engineers find savings where the rubber meets the road

May 23, 2012 3:44 am | by Denise Brehm, Civil and Environmental Engineering | News | Comments

A new study by civil engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that using stiffer pavements on the nation's roads could reduce vehicle fuel consumption by as much as 3%—a savings that could add up to 273 million barrels of crude oil per year, or $15.6 billion at today's oil prices. This would result in an accompanying annual decrease in carbon dioxide emissions of 46.5 million metric tons.

Making materials to order

May 26, 2011 4:01 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A team of researchers at MIT has found a way to make complex composite materials whose attributes can be fine-tuned to give various desirable combinations of properties such as stiffness, strength, resistance to impacts, and energy dissipation.

Russian dandelions could be new source for rubber

May 11, 2011 5:51 am | by R&D Editors | News | Comments

As a raw material, petroleum is risky because its pricing is so volatile. By domesticating a Russian variety of dandelion and using the milky-white substance that seeps from its roots, researchers from Ford and Ohio State University believe they can create a new source of natural rubber for cupholders, floor mats, and interior trim in its cars.

Strong and Pliable, 50 Years On

January 31, 2009 7:00 pm | by Dawn Duncan, Lubrizol Advanced Materials | Articles | Comments

Even today, the flexibility of thermoplastic polyurethanes is testing manufacturers’ ability to find new applications and processing methods.

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