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Archive for the ‘materials’ category

Apr 24, 2017

Researchers build a microprocessor from flexible materials

Posted by in categories: computing, materials

Researchers have built a primitive microprocessor out of a two-dimensional material similar to graphene, the flexible conductive wonder material that some believe will revolutionize the design and manufacture of batteries, sensors and chips.

With only 115 transistors, their processor isn’t going to top any benchmark rankings, but it’s “a first step towards the development of microprocessors based on 2D semiconductors,” the researchers at Vienna University of Technology said in a paper published in the journal Nature this month.

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Apr 13, 2017

Scientists Have Created a Device That Sucks Water Out of Thin Air, Even in the Desert

Posted by in categories: materials, sustainability

When it comes to future challenges, one of the biggest will be water scarcity — on a warming planet we’re going to have plenty of seawater, but not enough fresh, clean water in the right places for everybody to drink.

And while a lot of research has focussed on desalination, a team of scientists have now come up with another possible solution — a device that pulls fresh water out of thin air, even in places with humidity as low as 20 percent. All it needs is sunlight.

It might sound too good to be true, but so far the research is solid. Called the ‘solar-powered harvester’, the device was created by teams from MIT and the University of California, Berkeley, using a special type of material known as a metal-organic framework (MOF).

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Apr 12, 2017

NASA Cuts A Huge Check To Underwrite Asteroid Mining

Posted by in categories: materials, space

NASA awarded $125,000 to a mining company to develop technology to extract minerals embedded in asteroids.

NASA will pay Deep Space Industries (DSI) for technology to return mined minerals from asteroids to Earth’s orbit. DSI is developing a way to use aerobraking to bring minerals back to Earth.

DSI said the grant will support the company’s research into creating aerobrakes out of materials found on near-Earth asteroids.

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Apr 8, 2017

The Quest To Grow Cities From Scratch

Posted by in category: materials

Biologists have been experimenting with building materials made with living organisms for years. When will they be used to build our cities?

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Apr 4, 2017

Controlling forces between atoms, molecules, promising for ‘2-D hyperbolic’ materials

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

A new approach to control forces and interactions between atoms and molecules, such as those employed by geckos to climb vertical surfaces, could bring advances in new materials for developing quantum light sources.

“Closely spaced and in our environment are constantly interacting, attracting and repelling each other,” said Zubin Jacob, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University. “Such interactions ultimately enable a myriad of phenomena, such as the sticky pads on gecko feet, as well as photosynthesis.”

Typically, these interactions occur when atoms and molecules are between 1 to 10 nanometers apart, or roughly 1/10,000th the width of a human hair.

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Apr 4, 2017

This New Smartphone Screen Material Can Repair Its Own Scratches

Posted by in categories: materials, mobile phones

If you drop your phone and the screen shatters, you usually have two options: get it repaired or replace the phone entirely.

Chemists at the University of California, Riverside, have invented what could become a third option: a phone screen material that can heal itself.

The researchers conducted several tests on the material, including its ability to repair itself from cuts and scratches.

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Mar 19, 2017

Scientists Just Found an Unexpected Property in a Solid Metal: It ‘Remembers’ Its Liquid State

Posted by in category: materials

Researchers have probed samples of metal bismuth, and found a completely unexpected property — under certain conditions, the solid metal can retain a type of ‘structural memory’ of its liquid state.

The fact that scientists have found a new property of metals is exciting enough. But this also means solid bismuth can go from being repelled by a magnetic field (diamagnetic) to being attracted to a magnetic field (ferromagnetic), which could lead to a whole new way of creating materials with unique properties.

The phases of matter we learn about in high school, such as liquid, gas, and solid, are all defined by the way molecules in matter are arranged depending on external conditions. For example, liquid water freezes and contracts together, expanding into ice, or relaxes and boils into steam.

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Mar 17, 2017

Electrons Have Been Caught Disappearing and Reappearing Between Atomic Layers

Posted by in categories: materials, quantum physics

Scientist have spotted a strange type of quantum movement occurring in electrons travelling between the atomic layers of a material.

Instead of travelling from the top to the bottom layer through the middle, the electrons were caught disappearing from the top layer and reappearing in the bottom letter a fraction of a second later — with no trace of them existing in between.

“Electrons can show up on the first floor, then the third floor, without ever having been on the second floor,” said lead researcher Hui Zhao from the University of Kansas.

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Mar 6, 2017

Nanotechnology Combatting Global Warming

Posted by in categories: chemistry, complex systems, disruptive technology, energy, environmental, innovation, materials, nanotechnology, Singularity University, sustainability, transportation

Superlubricity nano-structured self-assembling coating repairs surface wear, decreases emissions and increases HP and gas mileage.

Globally about 15 percent of manmade carbon dioxide comes from vehicles. In more developed countries, cars, trucks, airplanes, ships and other vehicles account for a third of emissions related to climate change. Emissions standards are fueling the lubricant additives market with innovation.

Up to 33% of fuel energy in vehicles is used to overcome friction. Tribology is the science of interacting surfaces in relative motion inclusive of friction, wear and lubrication. This is where TriboTEX, a nanotechnology startup is changing the game of friction modification and wear resilience with a lubricant additive that forms a nano-structured coating on metal alloys.

This nano-structured coating increases operating efficiency and component longevity. It is comprised of synthetic magnesium silicon hydroxide nanoparticles that self-assemble as an ultralow friction layer, 1/10 of the original friction resistance. The coating is self-repairing during operation, environmentally inert and extracts carbon from the oil. The carbon diamond-like nano-particle lowers the friction budget of the motor, improving fuel economy and emissions in parallel while increasing the power and longevity of the motor.

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Mar 1, 2017

3D printing with high-performance carbon fiber

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, materials

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have become the first to 3D print aerospace-grade carbon fiber composites, opening the door to greater control and optimization of the lightweight, yet stronger than steel material.

The research, published by the journal Nature Scientific Reports online on Feb. 28, represents a “significant advance” in the development of micro-extrusion 3D printing techniques for carbon fiber, the authors reported.

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