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Engineers solve mystery of dancing droplets

March 12, 2015 8:17 am | by Tom Abate, Stanford Engineering | Videos | Comments

A puzzling observation, pursued through hundreds of experiments, has led Stanford Univ. researchers to a simple yet profound discovery: Under certain circumstances, droplets of fluid will move like performers in a dance choreographed by molecular physics.

New material captures carbon at half the energy cost

March 12, 2015 7:43 am | by Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley | News | Comments

Univ. of California, Berkeley chemists have made a major leap forward in carbon-capture technology with a material that can efficiently remove carbon from the ambient air of a submarine as readily as from the polluted emissions of a coal-fired power plant. The material then releases the carbon dioxide at lower temperatures than current carbon-capture materials.

Researchers develop “visual Turing test”

March 11, 2015 11:42 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers from Brown and Johns Hopkins have come up with a new way to evaluate how well computers can divine information from images. The team describes its new system as a “visual Turing test,” after the legendary computer scientist Alan Turing’s test of the extent to which computers display human-like intelligence.

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One fractal quantifies another, mathematicians find

March 11, 2015 11:25 am | by Anne Ju, Cornell Univ. | News | Comments

To humor mathematicians, picture a pile of sand grains in one square of a vast sheet of graph paper. If four or more grains occupy a single square, that square topples by sending one grain to each of its four neighboring squares. Keep zooming out so the squares become very small, and something strange happens: The sand still “remembers” that it used to live on a square lattice, and a distinctive pattern emerges.

Clues about cancer risk from low-dose radiation

March 11, 2015 9:51 am | by Dan Krotz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have uncovered new clues about the risk of cancer from low-dose radiation, which in this research they define as equivalent to 100 millisieverts or roughly the dose received from ten full-body CT scans. They studied mice and found their risk of mammary cancer from low-dose radiation depends a great deal on their genetic makeup.

Thin film clears path to solar fuels

March 11, 2015 9:39 am | by Ker Than, Caltech | News | Comments

Caltech scientists, inspired by a chemical process found in leaves, have developed an electrically conductive film that could help pave the way for devices capable of harnessing sunlight to split water into hydrogen fuel. When applied to semiconducting materials such as silicon, the nickel oxide film prevents rust buildup and facilitates an important chemical process in the solar-driven production of fuels such as methane or hydrogen.

Study helps understand why a material’s behavior changes as it gets smaller

March 11, 2015 9:30 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

To fully understand how nanomaterials behave, one must also understand the atomic-scale deformation mechanisms that determine their structure and, therefore, their strength and function. Researchers have engineered a new way to observe and study these mechanisms and, in doing so, have revealed an interesting phenomenon in a well-known material, tungsten.

Just Released A Product At Pittcon? Enter It Into the R&D 100 Awards

March 11, 2015 8:42 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | News | Comments

The editors of R&D Magazine have announced an eligibility extension for products to be entered into the 2015 R&D 100 Awards. The 2015 R&D 100 Awards will honor products, technologies and services that have been introduced to the market between January 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015.

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Injectable polymer could prevent bleeding to death

March 11, 2015 8:09 am | by Jennifer Langston, Univ. of Washington | News | Comments

Most military battlefield casualties die before ever reaching a surgical hospital. Of those soldiers who might potentially survive, most die from uncontrolled bleeding. In some cases, there’s not much medics can do. That’s why Univ. of Washington researchers have developed a new injectable polymer that strengthens blood clots, called PolySTAT.

Process identified for improving durability of glass

March 11, 2015 7:59 am | by Bill Kisliuk, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of California, Los Angeles and the Univ. Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris have identified a method for manufacturing longer-lasting and stronger forms of glass. The research could lead to more durable display screens, fiber-optic cables, windows and other materials, including cement. 

Researchers snap-shot fastest observations of superconductivity yet

March 11, 2015 7:51 am | by Chris Balma, Univ. of British Columbia | News | Comments

An international team of researchers has used infinitely short light pulses to observe ultrafast changes in the electron-level properties of superconductors, setting a new standard for temporal resolution in the field. The scientists liken the new technique to the development of high-speed film capture in the early days of photography.

Squeezing out new science from materials interfaces

March 6, 2015 1:02 pm | by Rick Kubetz, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

With more than five times the thermal conductivity of copper, diamond is the ultimate heat spreader. But the slow rate of heat flow into diamond from other materials limits its use in practice. In particular, the physical process controlling heat flow between metals and diamond has remained a mystery to scientists for many years.

Microscopy directly images problematic lithium dendrites in batteries

March 6, 2015 10:56 am | by Morgan McCorkle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have captured the first real-time nanoscale images of lithium dendrite structures known to degrade lithium-ion batteries. The ORNL team’s electron microscopy could help researchers address long-standing issues related to battery performance and safety.

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Determining structural evolution under pressure

March 6, 2015 10:46 am | by Breanna Bishop, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | News | Comments

The study of material properties under the conditions of extreme high pressures and strain rates is very important for understanding meteor, asteroid or comet impacts, as well as in hyper velocity impact engineering and inertial confinement fusion capsules. In a recent study, a team scientists report an important finding that can be used to determine the evolution of structures under high pressure and strain rates.

Fluid-filled pores separate materials with fine precision

March 6, 2015 10:10 am | by Kat J. McAlpine, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering | News | Comments

In nature, pores can continuously control how a living organism absorbs or excretes fluids, vapors and solids in response to its environment; for example, tiny holes invisible to the naked eye called stomata cover a plant's leaves and stems as gated openings through which oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapors are transported in and out during photosynthesis and respiration.

3-D Printing Blasts Off

March 6, 2015 9:55 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Videos | Comments

3-D printing isn’t just a commodity on Earth, it’s now also a commodity in space. In November 2014, the first 3-D printer in space created its first object, albeit self-fulfilling, a replacement faceplate for the printer’s casing that holds its internal wiring in place.

Chemists develop “looking glass” for spotting sound molecular structures

March 6, 2015 9:48 am | by James Devitt, New York Univ. | News | Comments

New York Univ. chemists have developed a computational approach for determining the viability and suitability of complex molecular structures—an advancement that could aid in the development of pharmaceuticals as well as a range of other materials.

Twin copies of gene pair up in embryonic stem cells at critical moment in differentiation

March 6, 2015 8:45 am | by Peter Tarr, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory | News | Comments

Imagine a pair of twins that everyone believed to be estranged, who turn out to be closer than anyone knew. A genetic version of this heartwarming tale might be taking place in our cells. We and other mammals have two copies of each gene, one from each parent. Each copy, or "allele," was thought to remain physically apart from the other in the cell nucleus, but a new study finds that alleles can and do pair up in mammalian cells.

Researchers explore longer lifecycle for batteries

March 6, 2015 8:34 am | by Jenny Green, Arizona State Univ. | News | Comments

Lithium-ion batteries are common in consumer electronics. Beyond consumer electronics, lithium-ion batteries have also grown in popularity for military, electric vehicle and aerospace applications. Now, researchers at Arizona State Univ. are exploring new energy storage technology that could give the battery an even longer lifecycle.

When temperature goes quantum

March 6, 2015 8:23 am | by Daniel Stolte, Univ. of Arizona Communications | News | Comments

Imagine setting a frying pan on the stove and cranking up the heat, only to discover that in a few spots the butter isn't melting because part of the pan remains at room temperature. What seems like an impossible scenario in the kitchen is exactly what happens in the strange world of quantum physics, researchers at the Univ. of Arizona have discovered.

Mathematicians model fluids at the mesoscale

March 6, 2015 8:13 am | by Julie Chao, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

When it comes to boiling water, is there anything left for today’s scientists to study? The surprising answer is, yes, quite a bit. How the bubbles form at a surface, how they rise up and join together, what are the surface properties, what happens if the temperature increases slowly versus quickly. While these components might be understood experimentally, the mathematical models for the process of boiling are incomplete.

Simulations provide new insight into emerging nanoelectronic device

March 6, 2015 7:50 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have used an advanced model to simulate in unprecedented detail the workings of "resistance-switching cells" that might replace conventional memory for electronics applications, with the potential to bring faster and higher capacity computer memory while consuming less energy. These electromechanical "metallization cells" rapidly switch from high resistance to low resistance.

Detector sniffs out origins of methane

March 6, 2015 7:40 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide in its capacity to trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere for a long time. The gas can originate from lakes and swamps, natural-gas pipelines, deep-sea vents and livestock. Understanding the sources of methane, and how the gas is formed, could give scientists a better understanding of its role in warming the planet.

New way to control information by mixing light and sound

March 5, 2015 8:59 am | by Jim Shelton, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

For once, slower is better in a new piece of technology. A Yale Univ. lab has developed a new, radio frequency processing device that allows information to be controlled more effectively, opening the door to a new generation of signal processing on microchips. One of the keys to the technology involves slowing information down.

Reducing emissions with more effective carbon capture method

March 5, 2015 8:39 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Trapping carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and various industries could play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the future. But current materials that can collect carbon dioxide have low capacities or require very high temperatures to work. Scientists are making progress toward a more efficient alternative, described in Chemistry of Materials, that could help make carbon capture less energy intensive.

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