Archive for the ‘materials’ category: Page 8

Aug 31, 2020

Unexpected Findings Result in New Origin Theory for Earth’s Water

Posted by in categories: materials, space

Enstatite chondrite meteorites, once considered ‘dry,’ contain enough water to fill the oceans — and then some.

A new study finds that Earth’s water may have come from materials that were present in the inner solar system at the time the planet formed — instead of far-reaching comets or asteroids delivering such water. The findings published on August 28, 2020, in Science suggest that Earth may have always been wet.

Researchers from the Centre de Recherches Petrographiques et Geochimiques (CRPG, CNRS/Universite de Lorraine) in Nancy, France, including one who is now a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, determined that a type of meteorite called an enstatite chondrite contains sufficient hydrogen to deliver at least three times the amount of water contained in the Earth’s oceans, and probably much more.

Aug 30, 2020

The origins of water

Posted by in categories: materials, space

Our blue planet having water seems such a simple and obvious fact that the question of why Earth has water at all feels like a trivial one. However, the origin of this key ingredient for life has remained a long-standing topic of debate. According to models of Solar System formation, Earth, as an inner Solar System planet, should have little to no water. On page 1110 of this issue, Piani et al. ([ 1 ][1]) analyze enstatite chondrite meteorites, a material similar to Earth’s main building blocks, and address the origins of Earth’s water.

Early models of planetary formation predicted that the nebular gas near our young Sun was too hot to form ice.

Aug 30, 2020

These New Shape-Shifting Materials Get Super Cool, Super Fast

Posted by in category: materials

Shape memory alloys and a kind of plastic crystal chill quickly under force or pressure. They could lead to eco-friendly fridges and air conditioners.

Aug 26, 2020

Vanadium-base alloys for fusion reactor applications — a review☆

Posted by in categories: materials, nuclear energy

Vanadium could be used for outer hulls of spaceships to absorb sun like energy or higher.

Vanadium-base alloys offer potentially significant advantages over other candidate alloys as a structural material for fusion reactor first wall/blanket applications. Although the data base is more limited than that for the other leading candidate structural materials, viz., austenitic and ferritic steels, vanadium-base alloys exhibit several properties that make them particularly attractive for the fusion reactor environment. This paper presents a review of the structural material requirements, a summary of the materials data base for selected vanadium-base alloys with emphasis on the V-15Cr-5Ti alloy, and a comparison of projected performance characteristics compared to other candidate alloys. Also, critical research and development (R&D) needs are defined.

The relatively high thermal conductivity and low thermal expansion coefficient of vanadium-base alloys, which result in lower thermal stresses for a given heat flux compared to most other candidate alloys, should enhance the reactor wall-load and lifetime capability. Since the mechanical strength of vanadium-base alloys is retained at relatively high temperatures, higher operating temperatures are projected for these alloys than for austenitic or ferritic steels. The refractory metals, including vanadium, characteristically exhibit good corrosion resistance in purified liquid metals. The vanadium alloys also exhibit favorable neutronic properties which include lower parasitic neutron absorption leading to better tritium breeding performance, lower bulk nuclear heating rates, and lower helium generation rates compared to the steels.

Aug 26, 2020

A thermal invisibility cloak actively redirects heat

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

Light, sound, and now, heat — just as optical invisibility cloaks can bend and diffract light to shield an object from sight, and specially fabricated acoustic metamaterials can hide an object from sound waves, a recently developed thermal cloak can render an object thermally invisible by actively redirecting incident heat.

The system, designed by by scientists at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, has the potential to fine-tune temperature distribution and heat flow in electronic and semiconductor systems. It has application in devices with high requirements for efficient dissipation and homogenous thermal expansion, such as high-power engines, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) instruments, and thermal sensors.

“Because of its shape flexibility, the active thermal cloak might also be applied in human garments for effective cooling and warming, which makes a lot of sense in tropical areas such as Singapore,” said Prof. Baile Zhang of NTU.

Aug 23, 2020

Loofah-inspired aerogel efficiently filters microbes from water

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

Millions of people worldwide die every year from waterborne diseases because of a lack of affordable, practical disinfection technologies. To address this need, researchers have developed a strong, flexible filter out of a silica aerogel that efficiently kills bacteria, resists getting clogged, and needs just a quick dip in dilute bleach to renew its disinfecting properties.

Read about the loofah-inspired aerogel here:

Low-cost, functionalized silica material kills bacteria instantly and is easy to clean.

Continue reading “Loofah-inspired aerogel efficiently filters microbes from water” »

Aug 23, 2020

NASA’s New $10 Billion Telescope to Study Quasars and Their Host Galaxies in Three Dimensions

Posted by in categories: cosmology, materials

Supermassive black holes, which likely reside at the centers of virtually all galaxies, are unimaginably dense, compact regions of space from which nothing — not even light — can escape. As such a black hole, weighing in at millions or billions of times the mass of the Sun, devours material, it is surrounded by a swirling disk of gas. When gas from this disk falls towards the black hole, it releases a tremendous amount of energy. This energy creates a brilliant and powerful galactic core called a quasar, whose light can greatly outshine its host galaxy.

Astronomers widely believe that the energy from quasars is responsible for limiting the growth of massive galaxies. Shortly after the launch of NASA ’s James Webb Space Telescope, scientists plan to study the effect of three carefully selected quasars on their host galaxies in a program called Q3D.

Continue reading “NASA’s New $10 Billion Telescope to Study Quasars and Their Host Galaxies in Three Dimensions” »

Aug 22, 2020

The Biggest Frog that Ever Lived

Posted by in categories: climatology, materials

Untangling the origins of Beelzebufo — the giant frog that lived alongside the dinosaurs — turns out to be one of the most bedeviling problems in the history of amphibians.

Thank you to these paleoartists for allowing us to use their wonderful illustrations:
Ceri Thomas:
Nobu Tamura:
Julio Lacerda:

Continue reading “The Biggest Frog that Ever Lived” »

Aug 21, 2020

‘DiceKeys’ Creates a Master Password for Life With One Roll

Posted by in category: materials

A new kit leaves your cryptographic destiny up to 25 cubes in a plastic box.

Aug 21, 2020

You Could Win $25K Worth of 3D Printing Services

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, materials

A start-up based in Berkeley, California, polySpectra, is attempting to make better materials for 3D printing. Their inaugural material, COR Alpha, promises to be a stronger and more durable material for digital light processing (DLP) printing. If it’s a compelling fit for your project, you could win $25,000 worth of 3D printing services from polySpectra.

In an attempt to spur the development of 3D printed projects with COR Alpha, polySpectra is holding the Make It Real 3D Printing Challenge. The challenge calls for submissions of designs that could benefit from the new material. The winner will receive $25,000 worth of polySpectra’s 3D printing services in the form of mentoring, design consultation, functional prototyping, qualification, testing and fabrication. Applications are due September 28.

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