One step forward – two steps back?

February 27, 2017

Everyone is talking about Samsung’s product showcase which took place on Sunday, and the lack of a new flagship phone. The company instead decided to spotlight the new Android and Windows tablets after delaying the Galaxy S8 smartphone, an indirect casualty of the unprecedented September recall of the fire-prone Note 7 phone. The new tablets will carry the Galaxy brand and come with many of the Note 7’s features, including…

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Plastic recycling revolutionized by polymer additive

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February 24, 2017

When Geoffrey Coates, the Tisch University Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, gives a talk about plastics and recycling, he usually opens with this question: What percentage of the 78 million tons of plastic used annually for packaging – for example, a 2-liter bottle or a take-out food container – actually gets recycled and reused in a similar way? The answer, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, is just 2%….

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Scientists explain how graphite turns into diamond

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February 23, 2017

Researchers have finally answered a question that has eluded scientists for years: when exposed to moderately high pressures, why does graphite turn into hexagonal diamond (also called lonsdaleite) and not the more familiar cubic diamond, as predicted by theory? The answer largely comes down to a matter of speed—or in chemistry terms, the reaction kinetics. Using a brand new type of simulation, the researchers identified the lowest-energy pathways in the…

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3D images created in liquid with laser-generated bubbles

researchersu
February 23, 2017

A completely new type of display that creates 3D images by using a laser to form tiny bubbles inside a liquid ‘screen’ has been created by researchers. Instead of rendering a 3D scene on a flat surface, the display itself is three-dimensional, a property known as volumetric. This allows viewers to see a 3D image in the columnar display from all angles without any 3D glasses or headsets. In The…

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Mission Impossible self-destructing gadgets not so impossible

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February 22, 2017

A new self-destruct mechanism can destroy electronics within 10 seconds through wireless commands or the triggering of certain sensors. Many government agencies and corporations would value such an extra layer of security for computing devices that might get lost or stolen. But past experiments with self-destructing electronics have either relied on new specialized chip designs or have taken far longer than 10 seconds. By comparison, the new self-destruct mechanism proposed…

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Metamaterial achieves performance predicted by theoretical bounds

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February 22, 2017

In 2015 Jonathan Berger, UC Santa Barbara mechanical engineer and materials scientist, developed an idea that could change the way people think about high-performance structural materials. Two years later, his concept is paying research dividends. In a letter published in the journal Nature, Berger, with UCSB materials and mechanical engineering professor Robert McMeeking and materials scientist Haydn N. G. Wadley from the University of Virginia, prove that the three-dimensional pyramid-and-cross…

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Redox flow batteries for renewable energy 1,000 times more stable

chemistsimpr
February 21, 2017

Solar utilities need a way to store extra charge for a rainy day. The same goes for wind power facilities, since the wind doesn’t always blow. To take full advantage of renewable energy, electrical grids need large batteries that can store the power coming from wind and solar installations until it is needed. Some of the current technologies that are potentially very appealing for the electrical grid are inefficient and…

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Hydronium-ion battery holds promise for sustainable energy storage

Developed by scientists at Oregon State University, a new hydronium-ion battery shows promise for sustainable, high-power energy storage. It’s the world’s first battery to use only hydronium ions as the charge carrier. The new battery provides an additional option for researchers, particularly in the area of stationary storage. Stationary storage refers to batteries in a permanent location that store grid power – including power generated from alternative energy sources such…

February 21, 2017
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Moving data with light to save electricity

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February 21, 2017

At current rates of increase, computers’ energy requirements will exceed the world’s total power output by 2040, the Semiconductor Industry Association has estimated. Using light rather than electricity to move data would dramatically reduce computer chips’ energy consumption, and the past 20 years have seen remarkable progress in the development of silicon photonics, or optical devices that are made from silicon so they can easily be integrated with electronics on…

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Automated system detected cracks in nuclear power plants

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February 20, 2017

Shown to be more accurate than other automated systems, a new automated system detects cracks in the steel components of nuclear power plants has been developed. “Periodic inspection of the components of nuclear power plants is important to avoid accidents and ensure safe operation,” said Mohammad R. Jahanshahi, an assistant professor in Purdue University’s Lyles School of Civil Engineering. “However, current inspection practices are time consuming, tedious and subjective because they…

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