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Latest Solid Stories

2011-12-12 17:37:11

Microscopic water droplets jumping from one surface to another may hold the key to a wide array of more energy efficient products, ranging from large solar panels to compact laptop computers. Duke University engineers have developed a new way of producing thermal diodes to regulate heat by bleeding it away or keeping it in. The method solves several shortcomings of existing devices. While thermal diodes can be made from solid materials, these solid-state diodes are not nearly as...

2011-12-01 22:20:18

Issue highlights recent advances in liquid crystal material research for photonic applications Liquid crystals (LCs), a state of matter that has properties between those of a conventional liquid and those of a solid crystal, are fast becoming a household name thanks to their widespread use in television, smartphone and computer displays. As such, research and development in the area of liquid crystal materials (LCMs) has also been rapidly progressing in recent years. To highlight...

2011-11-28 22:57:00

Controlling forces between oppositely charged polymers opens a new route towards creating vectors for gene therapy Gene therapy can only be effective if delivered by a stable complex molecule. Now, scientists have determined the conditions that would stabilise complex molecular structures that are subject to inherent attractions and repulsions triggered by electric charges at the surfaces of the molecules, in a study about to be published in EPJ E´, by Valentina Mengarelli and her...

2011-11-21 12:17:58

Field emission devices, which produce a steady stream of electrons, have a host of consumer, industrial, and research applications. Recent designs based on nanotubes and other nanomaterials embedded in plastics show initial promise, but have a number of drawbacks that hinder their wide-scale application. The embedded nanotubes, which serve as the source for the electrons, also enable the normally inert plastic to conduct electricity. This has the desired effect of producing a versatile and...

Researchers Develop World's Lightest Material
2011-11-18 04:47:43

UCI mechanical and aerospace engineer plays key role A team of researchers from UC Irvine, HRL Laboratories and the California Institute of Technology have developed the world´s lightest material — with a density of 0.9 mg/cc — about one hundred times lighter than Styrofoam. Their findings appear in the Nov. 18 issue of Science. The new material redefines the limits of lightweight materials because of its unique “micro-lattice” cellular architecture. The...

2011-11-17 03:08:13

Crystal erbium compound offers superior optical properties Arizona State University researchers have created a new compound crystal material that promises to help produce advances in a range of scientific and technological pursuits. ASU electrical engineering professor Cun-Zheng Ning says the material, called erbium chloride silicate, can be used to develop the next generations of computers, improve the capabilities of the Internet, increase the efficiency of silicon-based photovoltaic...

Image 1 - Researchers Ink Nanostructures With Tiny Soldering Iron
2011-11-08 04:11:44

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)´s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have shed light on the role of temperature in controlling a fabrication technique for drawing chemical patterns as small as 20 nanometers.  This technique could provide an inexpensive, fast route to growing and patterning a wide variety of materials on surfaces to build electrical circuits and chemical sensors, or study how pharmaceuticals bind to proteins and viruses. One...

2011-11-07 17:01:09

Caltech Engineers Reveal How Scandium Trifluoride Contracts with Heat They shrink when you heat 'em. Most materials expand when heated, but a few contract. Now engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have figured out how one of these curious materials, scandium trifluoride (ScF3), does the trick–a finding, they say, that will lead to a deeper understanding of all kinds of materials. The researchers, led by graduate student Chen Li, published their results in...

Scientists Developing Self-Repairing Plastic Material
2011-10-31 04:28:46

A UK-based specialty chemical company has apparently developed a self-mending plastic that can repair itself without the need for glue, tape, or other materials, Telegraph Science Correspondent Richard Gray reported on Sunday. "It could mean that sitting on a pair of glasses may no longer be the disaster it once was as they could be quickly repaired by pushing the broken bits back together," Gray said. "The material could also put an end to broken children's toys as they could be easily...


Word of the Day
grass-comber
  • A landsman who is making his first voyage at sea; a novice who enters naval service from rural life.
According to the OED, a grass-comber is also 'a sailor's term for one who has been a farm-labourer.'