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'Soft' robots that can move on their own

23-Apr-2018

If Star Wars' R2-D2 is your idea of a robot, think again. Researchers led by a University of Houston engineer have reported a new class of soft robot, composed of ultrathin sensing, actuating electronics and temperature-sensitive artificial muscle that can adapt to the environment and crawl, ...

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Nanomaterials hold promise for producing hydrogen from water

23-Mar-2018

Hydrogen holds promise as an inexpensive form of clean energy, but finding an efficient and affordable way to produce the fuel from water - a technique known as water-splitting - remains a key scientific challenge. A researcher from the University of Houston is working with a colleague in Taiwan ...

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Scientific advances can make it easier to recycle plastics

21-Nov-2017

Most of the 150 million tons of plastics produced around the world every year end up in landfills, the oceans and elsewhere. Less than 9 percent of plastics are recycled in the United States, rising to about 30 percent in Europe. That's a $176 billion problem, the potential energy savings ...

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Removing the roadblocks to a more efficient car engine

22-Sep-2017

Almost 160 years after the invention of the internal combustion engine, a new type of engine - operating at low-temperature, allowing it to consume less fuel - offers promise for the transportation industry as it plans for the future. But the next-generation engine requires a next-generation ...

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Artificial 'skin' gives robotic hand a sense of touch

15-Sep-2017

A team of researchers from the University of Houston has reported a breakthrough in stretchable electronics that can serve as an artificial skin, allowing a robotic hand to sense the difference between hot and cold, while also offering advantages for a wide range of biomedical devices. The work ...

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A better way to create organic bioelectronics

29-Aug-2017

With increasing scientific and medical interest in communication with the nervous system, demand is growing for biomedical devices that can better record and stimulate the nervous system, as well as deliver drugs and biomolecules in precise dosages. Researchers with the University of Houston and ...

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Inexpensive organic material gives safe batteries a longer life

21-Jun-2017

Modern batteries power everything from cars to cell phones, but they are far from perfect - they catch fire, they perform poorly in cold weather and they have relatively short lifecycles, among other issues. Now researchers from the University of Houston have described a new class of material ...

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Searching for answers on the sea floor

How abiotic organic molecules are formed

14-Jun-2017

The sea floor may look barren, but Qi Fu, an experimental geochemist at the University of Houston, says there are places where it is teeming with life. Hydrothermal vents, fissures on the sea bottom which release fluids heated by volcanic rocks, are particularly rich, but science can't yet ...

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New, more efficient catalyst for water splitting

Discovery could remove hurdle to producing hydrogen from water

18-May-2017

University of Houston physicists have discovered a catalyst that can split water into hydrogen and oxygen, composed of easily available, low-cost materials and operating far more efficiently than previous catalysts. That would solve one of the primary hurdles remaining in using water to produce ...

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New thermoelectric material with high power factors

17-Nov-2016

With energy conservation expected to play a growing role in managing global demand, materials and methods that make better use of existing sources of energy have become increasingly important. Researchers reported this week that they have demonstrated a step forward in converting waste heat - ...

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