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Recycling old batteries into solar cells

Proposal could divert a dangerous waste stream while producing low-cost photovoltaics

21-08-2014

This could be a classic win-win solution: A system proposed by researchers at MIT recycles materials from discarded car batteries — a potential source of lead pollution — into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power. The system is described in a paper in the journal ...

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New ultrastiff, ultralight material developed

New ultrastiff, ultralight material developed Nanostructured material based on repeating microscopic units has record-breaking stiffness at low density.

01-07-2014

What's the difference between the Eiffel Tower and the Washington Monument? Both structures soar to impressive heights, and each was the world's tallest building when completed. But the Washington Monument is a massive stone structure, while the Eiffel Tower achieves similar strength using a ...

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A new way to make sheets of graphene

28-05-2014

Graphene's promise as a material for new kinds of electronic devices, among other uses, has led researchers around the world to study the material in search of new applications. But one of the biggest limitations to wider use of the strong, lightweight, highly conductive material has been the ...

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Tiny particles could help verify goods

15-04-2014

Some 2 to 5 percent of all international trade involves counterfeit goods, according to a 2013 United Nations report. These illicit products — which include electronics, automotive and aircraft parts, pharmaceuticals, and food — can pose safety risks and cost governments and private companies ...

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How electrodes charge and discharge

Analysis probes reactions in porous battery electrodes for the first time

07-04-2014

The electrochemical reactions inside the porous electrodes of batteries and fuel cells have been described by theorists, but never measured directly. Now, a team at MIT has figured out a way to measure the fundamental charge transfer rate — finding some significant surprises. The study found that ...

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Strain can alter materials' properties

New field of 'strain engineering' could open up areas of materials research with many potential applications

04-04-2014

In the ongoing search for new materials for fuel cells, batteries, photovoltaics, separation membranes, and electronic devices, one newer approach involves applying and managing stresses within known materials to give them dramatically different properties. This development has been very ...

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Ancient whodunit may be solved: The microbes did it!

Methane-producing microbes may be responsible for the largest mass extinction in Earth's history

02-04-2014

Evidence left at the crime scene is abundant and global: Fossil remains show that sometime around 252 million years ago, about 90 percent of all species on Earth were suddenly wiped out — by far the largest of this planet's five known mass extinctions. But pinpointing the culprit has been ...

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Secrets of a mollusk's unique bioceramic armor

MIT researchers uncover the secrets behind a marine creature's defensive armor -- 1 that is exceptionally tough, yet optically clear

01-04-2014

The shells of a sea creature, the mollusk Placuna placenta, are not only exceptionally tough, but also clear enough to read through. Now, researchers at MIT have analyzed these shells to determine exactly why they are so resistant to penetration and damage — even though they are 99 percent ...

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New way to filter light

System could provide first method for filtering light waves based on direction

31-03-2014

Light waves can be defined by three fundamental characteristics: their color (or wavelength), polarization, and direction. While it has long been possible to selectively filter light according to its color or polarization, selectivity based on the direction of propagation has remained ...

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Living materials

25-03-2014

Inspired by natural materials such as bone — a matrix of minerals and other substances, including living cells — MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots. These "living materials" combine ...

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