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How iron feels the heat

New findings could one day help researchers design better and stronger steel


As you heat up a piece of iron, the arrangement of the iron atoms changes several times before melting. This unusual behavior is one reason why steel, in which iron plays a starring role, is so sturdy and ubiquitous in everything from teapots to skyscrapers. But the details of just how and why ...


Keeping beverages cool in summer

It's not just the heat, it's the humidity


In spring a person's thoughts turn to important matters, like how best to keep your drink cold on a hot day. Though this quest is probably as old as civilization, University of Washington climate scientists have provided new insight. It turns out that in sultry weather condensation on the outside ...


Breaking the final barrier: Room-temperature electrically powered nanolasers


A breakthrough in nanolaser technology has been made by Arizona State University researchers. Electrically powered nano-scale lasers have been able to operate effectively only in cold temperatures. Researchers in the field have been striving to enable them to perform reliably at room temperature, ...


A cooler way to protect silicon surfaces

New room-temperature process could lead to less expensive solar cells and other electronic devices


Silicon, the material of high-tech devices from computer chips to solar cells, requires a surface coating before use in these applications. The coating "passivates" the material, tying up loose atomic bonds to prevent oxidation that would ruin its electrical properties. But this passivation ...


Pyroelectric nanogenerator charges Li-ion battery with harvested energy


The idea of harvesting ambient energy from the environment that would otherwise not be purposefully used is, in theory, a great way to produce green, renewable energy. But the biggest problem in this fairly new area of research is that scientists have yet to find a method that can harvest very ...


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Quartz crystal microbalances enable new microscale analytic technique


A new chemical analysis technique developed by a research group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) uses the shifting ultrasonic pitch of a small quartz crystal to test the purity of only a few micrograms of material. Since it works with samples close to a thousand times ...


Microreactor speeds nanotech particle production by 500 times


Engineers at Oregon State University have discovered a new method to speed the production rate of nanoparticles by 500 times, an advance that could play an important role in making nanotechnology products more commercially practical. The approach uses an arrayed microchannel reactor and a ...


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Smaller is better in the viscous zone


Being the right size and existing in the limbo between a solid and a liquid state appear to be the secrets to improving the efficiency of chemical catalysts that can create better nanoparticles or more efficient energy sources. When matter is in this transitional state, a catalyst can achieve ...


Jet fuels from biomass waste


A four-step process to produce alkanes in the range of jet and diesel fuel from the biomass of wood processing and pulp mills has been reported in Green Chemistry. In the search for alkanes more suited for transport fuels, previous researchers in this area carried out tests using model biomass ...


Fuel cells in operation: A closer look


Measuring a fuel cell's overall performance is relatively easy, but measuring its components individually as they work together is a challenge. That's because one of the best experimental techniques for investigating the details of an electrochemical device while it's operating is x-ray ...


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