Tag Archives: material

Researchers predict material with record-setting melting point

Using advanced computers and a computational technique to simulate physical processes at the atomic level, researchers at Brown University have predicted that a material made from hafnium, nitrogen, and carbon would have the highest known melting point, about two-thirds the temperature at the surface of the sun. (more…)

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Komplexen Dynamiken auf der Spur

Um die Eigenschaften von Materialien besser zu verstehen, simulieren Innsbrucker Physiker um Andreas Läuchli quantenphysikalische Phänomene in vereinfachten Systemen und leiten daraus Aussagen über die Physik ab. Nun haben die Forscher die Ausbreitung von Korrelationen in einem Quantensystem untersucht, das abrupt aus dem Gleichgewicht gebracht wird. (more…)

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Opposing phenomena possible key to high-efficiency electricity delivery

The coexistence of two opposing phenomena might be the secret to understanding the enduring mystery in physics of how materials heralded as the future of powering our homes and communities actually work, according to Princeton University-led research. Such insight could help spur the further development of high-efficiency electric-power delivery.

Published in the journal Science, the findings provide a substantial clue for unraveling the inner workings of high-temperature superconductors (HTS) based on compounds containing copper and oxygen, or copper oxides. Copper-oxide high-temperature superconductors are prized as a material for making power lines because of their ability to conduct electricity with no resistance. It’s been shown that the material can be used to deliver electrical power like ordinary transmission lines, but with no loss of energy. In addition, typical superconductors need extremely low temperatures of roughly -243 degrees Celsius (-405 degrees Fahrenheit) to exhibit this 100-percent efficiency. A copper oxide HTS, however, can reach this level of efficiency at a comparatively toasty -135 degrees Celsius (-211 degrees Fahrenheit), which is achievable using liquid nitrogen. (more…)

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Injectable Nano-Network Controls Blood Sugar in Diabetics for Days at a Time

In a promising development for diabetes treatment, researchers have developed a network of nanoscale particles that can be injected into the body and release insulin when blood-sugar levels rise, maintaining normal blood sugar levels for more than a week in animal-based laboratory tests. The work was done by researchers at North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Children’s Hospital Boston.

“We’ve created a ‘smart’ system that is injected into the body and responds to changes in blood sugar by releasing insulin, effectively controlling blood-sugar levels,” says Dr. Zhen Gu, lead author of a paper describing the work and an assistant professor in the joint biomedical engineering program at NC State and UNC Chapel Hill. “We’ve tested the technology in mice, and one injection was able to maintain blood sugar levels in the normal range for up to 10 days.” (more…)

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Modeling the Breaking Points of Metallic Glasses

Mathematical methods developed by a Berkeley Lab researcher help explain why liquid metals have wildly different breaking points, depending on how they are made

Metallic glass alloys (or liquid metals) are three times stronger than the best industrial steel, but can be molded into complex shapes with the same ease as plastic. These materials are highly resistant to scratching, denting, shattering and corrosion. So far, they have been used in a variety of products from golf clubs to aircraft components. And, some smartphone manufacturers are even looking to cast their next-generation phone cases out of it.

But despite their potential, the mechanical properties of these substances are still a scientific mystery. One lingering question is why they have such wildly different toughness and breaking points, depending on how they are made. Although this may not be a huge concern for small applications like smartphone cases it will be extremely important if these materials are ever used in structural applications where they would need to support large loads. (more…)

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A Better Route to Xylan

Joint BioEnergy Institute Researchers Find New Access to Abundant Biomass for Advanced Biofuels

After cellulose, xylan is the most abundant biomass material on Earth, and therefore represents an enormous potential source of stored solar energy for the production of advance biofuels. A major roadblock, however, has been extracting xylan from plant cell walls. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have taken a significant step towards removing this roadblock by identifying a gene in rice plants whose suppression improves both the extraction of xylan and the overall release of the sugars needed to make biofuels.

The newly identified gene – dubbed XAX1 – acts to make xylan less extractable from plant cell walls. JBEI researchers, working with a mutant variety of rice plant – dubbed xax1 – in which the XAX1 gene has been “knocked-out” found that not only was xylan more extractable, but saccharification – the breakdown of carbohydrates into releasable sugars – also improved by better than 60-percent. Increased saccharification is key to more efficient production of advanced biofuels. (more…)

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Crystals for Efficient Refrigeration

Washington, D.C.-– Researchers at the Carnegie Institution have discovered a new efficient way to pump heat using crystals. The crystals can pump or extract heat, even on the nanoscale, so they could be used on computer chips to prevent overheating or even meltdown, which is currently a major limit to higher computer speeds. The research is published in the Physical Review Letters.

Ronald Cohen, staff scientist at Carnegie’s Geophysical Laboratory and Maimon Rose, originally a high school intern now at the University of Chicago carried out the research. They performed simulations on ferroelectric crystals—materials that have electrical polarization in the absence of an electric field. The electrical polarization can be reversed by applying an external electrical field. The scientists found that the introduction of an electric field causes a giant temperature change in the material, dubbed the electrocaloric effect, far above a temperature to a so-called paraelectric state. (more…)

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Civil War Stories Forever Preserved

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Faded and sometimes tattered, letters and journal entries written 150 years ago by hopeful and homesick Civil War soldiers will forever be preserved online, thanks to digitization by Michigan State University archivists.

University Archives and Historical Collections started the project two years ago in recognition of the sesquicentennial celebration of the Civil War. Today, nearly 3,000 pages and images have been digitized and placed online, with more materials added every day. (more…)

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