Tag Archives: heat

Heat from Earth’s core could be underlying force in plate tectonics

For decades, scientists have theorized that the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates is driven largely by negative buoyancy created as they cool. New research, however, shows plate dynamics are driven significantly by the additional force of heat drawn from the Earth’s core. (more…)

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Metal Foam Protects From Fire and Heat Twice as Well as Plain Metal

A new study from North Carolina State University researchers finds that novel light-weight composite metal foams (CMFs) are significantly more effective at insulating against high heat than the conventional base metals and alloys that they’re made of, such as steel. The finding means the CMF is especially promising for use in storing and transporting nuclear material, hazardous materials, explosives and other heat-sensitive materials, as well as for space exploration. (more…)

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First-ever videos show how heat moves through materials at the nanoscale and speed of sound

Groundbreaking observations could help develop better, more efficient materials for electronics and alternative energy

Using a state-of-the-art ultrafast electron microscope, University of Minnesota researchers have recorded the first-ever videos showing how heat moves through materials at the nanoscale traveling at the speed of sound. (more…)

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New Connection between Stacked Solar Cells Can Handle Energy of 70,000 Suns

North Carolina State University researchers have come up with a new technique for improving the connections between stacked solar cells, which should improve the overall efficiency of solar energy devices and reduce the cost of solar energy production. The new connections can allow these cells to operate at solar concentrations of 70,000 suns worth of energy without losing much voltage as “wasted energy” or heat.

Stacked solar cells consist of  several solar cells that are stacked on top of one another. Stacked cells are currently the most efficient cells on the market, converting up to 45 percent of the solar energy they absorb into electricity. (more…)

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Supervolcanic Ash Can Turn To Lava Miles From Eruption, MU Scientists Find

“Viscous heating” can reheat volcanic ash enough to convert it to lava

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— Supervolcanoes, such as the one sitting dormant under Yellowstone National Park, are capable of producing eruptions thousands of times more powerful than normal volcanic eruptions. While they only happen every several thousand years, these eruptions have the potential to kill millions of people and animals due to the massive amount of heat and ash they release into the atmosphere. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have shown that the ash produced by supervolcanoes can be so hot that it has the ability to turn back into lava once it hits the ground tens of miles away from the original eruption.

Following a volcanic eruption, lava typically flows directly from the site of the eruption until it cools enough that it hardens in place. However, researchers found evidence of an ancient lava flow tens of miles away from a supervolcano eruption near Yellowstone that occurred around 8 million years ago. Previously, Graham Andrews, an assistant professor at California State University Bakersfield, found that this lava flow was made of ash ejected during the eruption. Following Andrew’s discovery, Alan Whittington, an associate professor in the University of Missouri department of geological sciences in the College of Arts and Science, along with lead author Genevieve Robert and Jiyang Ye, both doctoral students in the geological sciences department, determined how this was possible. (more…)

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A Telescope at the Bottom of the World

Alone in a wilderness of snow and ice, 600 miles from the Earth’s South Pole, a solitary telescope watches the stars, searching for the origins of the colorful nebulae in which stars are born.

The brilliantly colored, sweeping nebulae featured on magazine covers and posters lining museum exhibits are the birthplaces and cradles of the stars in our galaxy.

Out of the blackness of space and swirling gasses and debris, these nebulae take form, coalescing into columns and structures that remind us of Earthly shapes: here a horsehead, there a dragon. (more…)

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Researchers ‘Nanoweld’ by Applying Light to Aligned Nanorods in Solid Materials

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a way to melt or “weld” specific portions of polymers by embedding aligned nanoparticles within the materials. Their technique, which melts fibers along a chosen direction within a material, may lead to stronger, more resilient nanofibers and materials.

Physicists Jason Bochinski and Laura Clarke, with materials scientist Joe Tracy, placed specifically aligned gold nanorods within a solid material. Gold nanorods absorb light at different wavelengths, depending upon the size and orientation of the nanorod, and then they convert that absorbed light directly into heat. In this case, the nanorods were designed to respond to light wavelengths of 520 nanometers (nm) in a horizontal alignment and 800 nm when vertically aligned. Human beings can see light at 520 nm (it looks green), while 808 nm is in the near infrared spectrum, invisible to our eyes. (more…)

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Force is the Key to Granular State-Shifting

Ever wonder why sand can both run through an hourglass like a liquid and be solid enough to support buildings? It’s because granular materials – like sand or dirt – can change their behavior, or state. Researchers from North Carolina State University have found that the forces individual grains exert on one another are what most affect that transition.

Physicists have explored the changing behavior of granular materials by comparing it to what happens in thermodynamic systems. In a thermodynamic system, you can change the state of a material – like water – from a liquid to a gas by adding energy (heat) to the system. One of the most fundamental and important observations about temperature, however, is that it has the ability to equilibrate: a hot cup of tea eventually cools to match the temperature of the room. (more…)

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