Chemistry articlesUnusual feed supplement could ease greenhouse gassy cows
Cow belches, a major source of greenhouse gases, could be decreased by an unusual feed supplement developed by a Penn State dairy scientist.
Power plants could one day be plant-powered
In what could one day change the definition of "power plant," researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have manipulated the photosynthetic process of plants in a way that may possibly enable the energy produced in the process to be harnessed for later use as electricity.
Carbon nanotubes twice as strong as once thought
Carbon nanotubes - those tiny particles poised to revolutionize electronics, medicine, and other areas - are much bigger in the strength department than anyone ever thought, scientists are reporting. New studies on the strength of these submicroscopic cylinders of carbon indicate that on an ounce-for-ounce basis they are at least 117 times stronger than steel and 30 times stronger than Kevlar, the material used in bulletproof vests and other products. The findings, which could expand commercial and industrial applications of nanotube materials, appear in the monthly journal ACS Nano.
New antenna made of carbon nanotubes could make photovoltaic cells more efficient by concentrating solar energy.
'Dry water' could make a big splash commercially
An unusual substance known as "dry water," which resembles powdered sugar, could provide a new way to absorb and store carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, scientists reported at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Putting carbon dioxide to good use
Every year, about 30 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide are pumped into the Earth's atmosphere from power plants, cars and other industrial sources that rely on fossil fuels. Scientists who want to mitigate carbon dioxide's effects on global climate have started experimenting with storing the gas underground, a process known as carbon sequestration. However, there are still many unknowns surrounding the safety and effectiveness of that strategy.
Red light regulates nectar secretion
Flowering plants produce nectar to attract insect pollinators. Some plant species, such as Lima bean, also secrete nectar from so-called extrafloral nectaries to attract ants which in turn fend off herbivores. Scientists of the Max Planck Institute in Jena, Germany, have discovered that the production of extrafloral nectar is light dependent.
No longer pining for organic molecules to make particles in the air
The fresh scent of pine has helped atmospheric scientists find missing sources of organic molecules in the air - which, it could well turn out, aren't missing after all. In work appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition Online, researchers examined what particles containing compounds such as those given off by pine trees look like and how quickly they evaporate. They found the particles evaporate more than 100 times slower than expected by current air-quality models.
Hidden in plain sight
The idea of being able to become invisible, especially by simply covering up a person or an object with a special cloak, has a perennial appeal in science-fiction and fantasy literature. In recent years, researchers have found ways to make very exotic "metamaterials" that can perform a very crude version of this trick, keeping an object from being detected by a certain specific frequency of radiation, such as microwaves, and only working at microscopic scales. But a system that works in ordinary visible light and for objects big enough to be seen with the naked eye has remained elusive.
A Cool Way to Make Glass
Quantum mechanics, developed in the 1920s, has had an enormous impact in explaining how matter works. The elementary particles that make up different forms of matter - such as electrons, protons, neutrons and photons - are well understood within the model quantum physics provides. Even now, some 90 years later, new scientific principles in quantum physics are being described. The most recent gives the world a glimpse into the seemingly impossible.
Synthetic materials that behave like mollusk shells
Nacre, commonly known as mother-of-pearl, is the iridescent material lining many mollusk shells. It is part of a two-layer armor system that protects the animal from predators. The brittle outer layer of the shell absorbs the initial impact, but is prone to cracking. To prevent these cracks from catastrophically propagating through the shell to the animal itself, the nacreous layer is surprisingly strong and tough, with outstanding crack arresting properties. Thus it acts as a lining to maintain the integrity of the shell in the event of cracking of the outer layer.
What a ride! Researchers take molecules for a spin
"This is no cartoon. It's a real molecule, with all the interactions taking place correctly," said Anatoly Kolomeisky as he showed an animation of atoms twisting and turning about a central hub like a carnival ride gone mad.
Imagine: material that if scratched, you can quickly and easily fix yourself, with light not heat
Imagine you're driving your own new car--or a rental car--and you need to park in a commercial garage. Maybe you're going to work, visiting a mall or attending an event at a sports stadium, and you're in a rush. Limited and small available spots and concrete pillars make parking a challenge. And it happens that day: you slightly misjudge a corner and you can hear the squeal as you scratch the side of your car--small scratches, but large anticipated repair costs.
U. of M. researchers discover a natural food preservative that kills food-borne bacteria
University of Minnesota researchers have discovered and received a patent for a naturally occurring lantibiotic - a peptide produced by a harmless bacteria - that could be added to food to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella, E. coli and listeria.
Screening effort turns up multiple potential anti-malaria compounds
Numerous potential anti-malarial candidate drugs have been uncovered by investigators from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), both parts of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study was published in the August 4 online issue of the journal Science.
Nano Gold Rush: Researchers use tiny gold particles to boost organic solar cell efficiency
In the world of solar energy, organic photovoltaic solar cells have a wide range of potential applications, but they are still considered an upstart. While these carbon-based cells, which use organic polymers or small molecules as semiconductors, are much thinner and less expensive to produce than conventional solar cells made with inorganic silicon wafers, they still lag behind in their ability to efficiently convert sunlight into electricity.
Mimicking biological complexity, in a tiny particle
Tiny particles made of polymers hold great promise for targeted delivery of drugs and as structural scaffolds for building artificial tissues. However, current production methods for such microparticles yield a limited array of shapes and can only be made with certain materials, restricting their usefulness.
Nanoparticle electrode for batteries could make grid-scale power storage feasible
The sun doesn't always shine and the breeze doesn't always blow and therein lie perhaps the biggest hurdles to making wind and solar power usable on a grand scale. If only there were an efficient, durable, high-power, rechargeable battery we could use to store large quantities of excess power generated on windy or sunny days until we needed it. And as long as we're fantasizing, let's imagine the battery is cheap to build, too.
Fool's gold leads to new options for cheap solar energy
Pyrite, better known as "fool's gold," was familiar to the ancient Romans and has fooled prospectors for centuries - but has now helped researchers at Oregon State University discover related compounds that offer new, cheap and promising options for solar energy.
New revolutionary material can be worked like glass
A common feature of sailboards, aircraft and electronic circuits is that they all contain resins used for their lightness, strength and resistance. However, once cured, these resins can no longer be reshaped. Only certain inorganic compounds, including glass, offered this possibility until now.