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27 Current news of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


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Powered by food? - Researchers discover potential method to convert food waste into batteries

“This research could be a piece of the puzzle in solving the sustainable energy problems for rechargeable batteries”


What do apple cores, spent grain, and walnut shells have in common? They could one day be used to power a data center. As the world works toward economically and environmentally friendly ways to power these devices, two Virginia Tech researchers investigate how food waste and its associated ...


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Unlocking the secrets of chemical bonding with machine learning

"It all comes down to how catalysts bind with molecules"


A new machine learning approach offers important insights into catalysis, a fundamental process that makes it possible to reduce the emission of toxic exhaust gases or produce essential materials like fabric. In a report published in Nature Communications, Hongliang Xin, associate professor of ...


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Splitting water molecules for a renewable energy future

New technique to reassemble, revivify, and reuse a catalyst


The future economy based on renewable and sustainable energy sources might utilize battery-powered cars, large-scale solar and wind farms, and energy reserves stored in batteries and chemical fuels. Although there are examples of sustainable energy sources in use already, scientific and ...


Interdisciplinary team discovers double helix structure in synthetic macromolecule


Researchers in the College of Science and College of Engineering have discovered that a high-strength called "PBDT" has a rare double helix structure, opening possibilities for use in a variety of applications. This discovery, recently published in Nature Communications, comes as an extension of ...


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Process to 3D print piezoelectric materials developed

Could be used to develop intelligent materials and self-adaptive infrastructures and transducers


The piezoelectric materials that inhabit everything from our cell phones to musical greeting cards may be getting an upgrade thanks to work discussed. Xiaoyu 'Rayne' Zheng, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, and a member of the Macromolecules Innovation ...


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A path to sustainable and biodegradable polyesters


There's a good chance you've touched something made out of the polyolefin polymer today. It's often used in polyethylene products like plastic bags or polypropylene products like diapers. As useful as polyolefins are in society, they continue to multiply as trash in the environment. Scientists ...


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Forget defrosting your car at a glacial pace

New research speeds process up tenfold


Jonathan Boreyko turned on the defroster in his car one cold winter morning and waited for the ice on the windshield to melt. And kept waiting. Boreyko, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics in the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, knew there had to ...


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Taking a cue from spider glue to create new materials


A taut tug on the line signals the arrival of dinner, and the leggy spider dashes across the web to find a tasty squirming insect. The spider, known as an orb weaver, must perfectly execute this moment, from a lightning-fast reaction to an artfully spun web glistening with sticky glue. This glue ...


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Researchers mine information from next-generation subsurface flow simulations


Ask a geoscientist how he or she feels about the phrase, "out of sight, out of mind," and you likely will meet some serious resistance. The scientist likely would explain that learning how different materials interact with one another below the Earth's surface is of the utmost importance. Indeed, ...


Nature has more than one way to grow a crystal

New insight on how crystals form may advance materials, health, basic science research


Scientists have long worked to understand how crystals grow into complex shapes. Crystals are important in materials from skeletons and shells to soils and semiconductor materials, but much is unknown about how they form. Now, an international group of researchers has shown how nature uses a ...


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