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Archive for the ‘chemistry’ category

Apr 24, 2019

Controlling instabilities gives closer look at chemistry from hypersonic vehicles

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering, transportation

While studying the chemical reactions that occur in the flow of gases around a vehicle moving at hypersonic speeds, researchers at the University of Illinois used a less-is-more method to gain greater understanding of the role of chemical reactions in modifying unsteady flows that occur in the hypersonic flow around a double-wedge shape.

“We reduced the pressure by a factor of eight, which is something experimentalists couldn’t do,” said Deborah Levin, researcher in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “In an actual chamber, they tried to reduce the pressure but couldn’t reduce it that much because the apparatuses are designed to operate within a certain region. They couldn’t operate it if the pressure was too low. When we reduced the pressure in the simulation, we found that the instabilities in the calmed down. We still had a lot of the kind of vortical structure—separation bubbles and swirls—they were still there. But the data were more tractable, more understandable in terms of their time variation.”

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Apr 24, 2019

Polymer reversibly glows white when stretched

Posted by in categories: chemistry, materials

Researchers at the University of Fribourg’s Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI) and Hokkaido University in Japan have developed a method to tailor the properties of stress-indicating molecules that can be integrated into polymers and signal damages or excessive mechanical loads with an optical signal.

As part of their research activities within the National Center of Competence in Research Bio-inspired Materials, Professor Christoph Weder, the chair of Polymer Chemistry and Materials at AMI, and his team are investigating polymers that change their color or characteristics when placed under mechanical load. The prevailing approach to achieve this function is based on specifically designed sensor that contain weak chemical bonds that break when the applied mechanical force exceeds a certain threshold. This effect can cause a color change or other pre-defined responses. A fundamental limitation of this approach, however, is that the weak bonds can also break upon exposure to light or heat. This lack of specificity reduces the practical usefulness of stress-indicating polymers. It normally also makes the effect irreversible.

Addressing this problem, Weder and Dr. Yoshimitsu Sagara—a Japanese researcher who spent two years in Weder’s group at AMI before joining Hokkaido University as an Assistant Professor—devised a new type of sensor molecule that can only be activated by mechanical force. Unlike in previous force-transducing molecules, no chemical bond breaking takes place. Instead, the new sensor molecules consist of two parts that mechanically interlock. This interconnection prevents the separation of the two parts, while still allowing them to be pushed together or pulled away from each other. Such molecular pushing and pulling causes the molecule’s fluorescence to change from off to on.

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Apr 18, 2019

Dr. Doris Taylor — Texas Heart Institute — IdeaXme — Ira Pastor — “How to Build a New Heart”

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, aging, bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, cryonics, DNA, genetics, health, life extension

Apr 17, 2019

Scientists detect the oldest type of molecule in the universe

Posted by in categories: chemistry, cosmology, particle physics

Back in the ancient universe, shortly after the Big Bang, the first atoms formed out of free particles. Only light elements like hydrogen and helium could form at high temperatures, but as the universe cooled, those atoms turned into every single thing we see in our world today. And now, scientists have spotted the type of molecule that formed the very first time two atoms combined.

Theories have predicted for decades that the first molecule that could form would be between the first two elements: hydrogen and helium. But the “helium hydride” molecule, as it’s known, had never been spotted before, Gizmodo explained. This led to some doubt as to whether this theory could even be true. But thanks to a modified Boeing 747 dubbed SOFIA, or Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, we have finally detected the elusive molecule in a far-off nebula called NGC 7027.

Now that it’s confirmed that the universe is capable of forming the helium hydride molecule naturally, this knowledge is helping astronomers better understand how the universe worked in the time just after the Big Bang. The research, published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, has made sense of the “dawn of chemistry,” the authors state. Read more about this exciting find at Gizmodo. Shivani Ishwar.

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Apr 16, 2019

Inside Arzeda’s synthetic biology lab, where industrial ingredients are brewed like beer

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, chemistry

Alexandre Zanghellini can’t help but think about what makes up the world around him. Sitting in a conference room, Zanghellini considered the paint on the walls, the table, the window shades, the plastic chairs. It’s all oil.

“The entire world is made from oil. We just don’t realize it,” he said.

Zanghellini’s job, as the CEO of Seattle-based synthetic biology company Arzeda, is to reconsider how we make the basic molecules that go into anything and everything in the human world. And he has a bias for processes that use living organisms. “The tools of biology, proteins, are better at doing chemistry than chemists,” he said.

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Apr 13, 2019

From medicine to nanotechnology: How gold quietly shapes our world

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, nanotechnology

The periodic table of chemical elements turns 150 this year. The anniversary is a chance to shine a light on particular elements – some of which seem ubiquitous but which ordinary people beyond the world of chemistry probably don’t know much about.

One of these is , which was the subject of my postgraduate degrees in chemistry, and which I have been studying for almost 30 years. In chemistry, gold can be considered a late starter when compared to most other metals. It was always considered to be chemically “inert” – but in recent decades it has flourished and a variety of interesting applications have emerged.

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Apr 11, 2019

When science is put in the service of evil

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, science

German pharmacology and chemistry enjoyed great international prestige from the second half of the 19th century.


Medical research has a dark history of human experimentation in Nazi Germany. And we’re still uncovering the extent of the horrors.

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Apr 9, 2019

3D printed tires and shoes that self-repair

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, chemistry, life extension, robotics/AI

Instead of throwing away your broken boots or cracked toys, why not let them fix themselves? Researchers at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering have developed 3D-printed rubber materials that can do just that.

Assistant Professor Qiming Wang works in the world of 3D printed materials, creating new functions for a variety of purposes, from flexible electronics to sound control. Now, working with Viterbi students Kunhao Yu, An Xin, and Haixu Du, and University of Connecticut Assistant Professor Ying Li, they have made a new material that can be manufactured quickly and is able to repair itself if it becomes fractured or punctured. This material could be game-changing for industries like shoes, tires, soft robotics, and even electronics, decreasing manufacturing time while increasing product durability and longevity.

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Apr 6, 2019

Sjaak Vink — CEO, TheSocialMedwork — IdeaXme — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, biological, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, education, finance, health, innovation, life extension

Apr 5, 2019

Agriculture: Machine learning can reveal optimal growing conditions to maximize taste, other features

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, food, genetics, information science, robotics/AI

What goes into making plants taste good? For scientists in MIT’s Media Lab, it takes a combination of botany, machine-learning algorithms, and some good old-fashioned chemistry.

Using all of the above, researchers in the Media Lab’s Open Agriculture Initiative report that they have created that are likely more delicious than any you have ever tasted. No is involved: The researchers used computer algorithms to determine the optimal growing conditions to maximize the concentration of flavorful molecules known as .

But that is just the beginning for the new field of “cyber agriculture,” says Caleb Harper, a principal research scientist in MIT’s Media Lab and director of the OpenAg group. His group is now working on enhancing the human disease-fighting properties of herbs, and they also hope to help growers adapt to changing climates by studying how crops grow under different conditions.

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