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Water vapor sets some oxides aflutter

Newly discovered phenomenon could affect materials in batteries and water-splitting devices.

04-Oct-2016

When one type of an oxide structure called perovskite is exposed to both water vapor and streams of electrons, it exhibits behavior that researchers had never anticipated: The material gives off oxygen and begins oscillating, almost resembling a living, breathing organism. The phenomenon was ...

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New theory overcomes a longstanding polymer problem

Technique for calculating elasticity could aid design of new materials

20-Sep-2016

All polymers have a distinctive degree of elasticity — how much they will stretch when a force is applied. However, for the past 100 years, polymer scientists have been stymied in their efforts to predict polymers’ elasticity, because the materials usually have structural flaws at the molecular ...

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3-D-printed structures 'remember' their shapes

30-Aug-2016

Engineers from MIT and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) are using light to print three-dimensional structures that "remember" their original shapes. Even after being stretched, twisted, and bent at extreme angles, the structures -- from small coils and multimaterial flowers, ...

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New method developed for producing some metals

Using electricity rather than heat can reduce both energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

26-Aug-2016

The MIT researchers were trying to develop a new battery, but it didn’t work out that way. Instead, thanks to an unexpected finding in their lab tests, what they discovered was a whole new way of producing the metal antimony — and potentially a new way of smelting other metals, as well. The ...

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Doubling battery power of consumer electronics

New lithium metal batteries could make smartphones, drones, and electric cars last twice as long.

19-Aug-2016

An MIT spinout is preparing to commercialize a novel rechargable lithium metal battery that offers double the energy capacity of the lithium ion batteries that power many of today’s consumer electronics. Founded in 2012 by MIT alumnus and former postdoc Qichao Hu ’07, SolidEnergy Systems has ...

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New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity

27-Jul-2016

Lithium-air batteries are considered highly promising technologies for electric cars and portable electronic devices because of their potential for delivering a high energy output in proportion to their weight. But such batteries have some pretty serious drawbacks: They waste much of the injected ...

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Weird quantum effects stretch across hundreds of miles

20-Jul-2016

In the world of quantum, infinitesimally small particles, weird and often logic-defying behaviors abound. Perhaps the strangest of these is the idea of superposition, in which objects can exist simultaneously in two or more seemingly counterintuitive states. For example, according to the laws of ...

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New technique provides detailed views of metals’ crystal structure

Method uses readily available tools to quickly determine materials’ properties.

12-Jul-2016

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have developed a new combination of methods that can provide detailed information about the microstructure of polycrystalline metals. Such materials — composed of a random matrix of multiple small crystals rather than one single large crystal — are widely used for ...

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Wireless, wearable toxic-gas detector

Inexpensive sensors could be worn by soldiers to detect hazardous chemical agents

04-Jul-2016

MIT researchers have developed low-cost chemical sensors, made from chemically altered carbon nanotubes, that enable smartphones or other wireless devices to detect trace amounts of toxic gases. Using the sensors, the researchers hope to design lightweight, inexpensive radio-frequency ...

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Scientists observe first signs of healing in the Antarctic ozone layer

September ozone hole has shrunk by 4 million square kilometers since 2000

01-Jul-2016

Scientists at MIT and elsewhere have identified the "first fingerprints of healing" of the Antarctic ozone layer. The team found that the September ozone hole has shrunk by more than 4 million square kilometers -- about half the area of the contiguous United States -- since 2000, when ozone ...

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