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MMaterialsgateNEWS - Information & Innovation

When you suffer a fall, an on-the-field collision or some other traumatic blow, the first thing the doctor will do is take an X-ray, CT scan or MRI to determine if anything has been damaged internally.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are using the same principle, but in a more powerful form, to detect corrosion, the primary danger threatening the health of the steel framework within the nation's bridges, roads and other aging physical infrastructure. What they have developed is a noninvasive "spectral fingerprint" technique that reveals the corrosion of concrete-encased steel before it can cause any significant degradation of the structure it supports. The detection method is described in a new paper in the journal Applied Magnetic Resonance. When water and oxygen corrode iron, different iron oxide products are produced, with the... more read more

Credit: Zhenglu Li/Berkeley Lab

Study reveals unprecedented control of ferromagnetic behavior in 2-D material

It may not seem like a material as thin as an atom could hide any surprises, but a research team led by scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) discovered an unexpected magnetic property in a two-dimensional material. The scientists found that a 2-D van der Waals crystal, part of a class of material whose atomically thin layers can be peeled off one by one with adhesive tape, possessed an intrinsic ferromagnetism. The discovery, to be published April 26 in the journal Nature, could have major implications for a wide range of applications that rely upon ferromagnetic materials, such as nanoscale memory, spintronic devices, and magnetic... more read more

Credit: University of Delaware/ Jeffrey Chase

Findings by scientists could transform the multi-billion-dollar plastics and rubber industries

Synthetic rubber and plastics - used for manufacturing tires, toys and myriad other products - are produced from butadiene, a molecule traditionally made from petroleum or natural gas. But those manmade materials could get a lot greener soon, thanks to the ingenuity of a team of scientists from three U.S. research universities. The scientific team -- from the University of Delaware, the University of Minnesota and the University of Massachusetts - has invented a process to make butadiene from renewable sources like trees, grasses and corn. The findings, now online, will be published in the American Chemical Society's ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, a leading journal in... more read more

New technology developed by Hydro-Québec and McGill University could 1 day make battery chargers obsolete

Who hasn't lived through the frustrating experience of being without a phone after forgetting to recharge it? This could one day be a thing of the past thanks to technology being developed by Hydro-Québec and McGill University. Lithium-ion batteries have allowed the rapid proliferation of all kinds of mobile devices such as phones, tablets and computers. These tools however require frequent re-charging because of the limited energy density of their batteries. "With smart phones now, you can basically carry your whole office in that device, they are loaded with all sorts of applications so you need a lot of power to use it everyday and sometimes, you don't have access to... more read more

Simple technique cuts down on loops that weaken materials such as plastic and rubber.

Plastic, rubber, and many other useful materials are made of polymers -- long chains arranged in a cross-linked network. At the molecular level, these polymer networks contain structural flaws that weaken them. Several years ago, MIT researchers were the first to measure certain types of these defects, called "loops," which are caused when a chain in the polymer network binds to itself instead of another chain. Now, the same researchers have found a simple way to reduce the number of loops in a polymer network and thus strengthen materials made from polymers. To achieve this, the researchers simply add one of the components of the polymer network very slowly to a large quantity... more read more

Credit: Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University

Professor of the Institute of Civil Engineering of Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) Andrey Ponomarev and a graduate student Alexander Rassokhin developed a new construction technology.

Scientists created several types of building blocks based on nanostructured high-strength lightweight concrete, reinforced with skew-angular composite coarse grids. The development has unique characteristics, enabling the increase of load-carrying capability by more than 200% and decrease in specific density of the construction by 80%. In addition, among the advantages, are resistance to corrosion, aggressive environments and excessive frost resistance. Researchers calculated that the service life of the building structures, made with the use of this reinforcement system, will increase at least 2-3 times in comparison with its modern analogs. "Such system allows to ensure the structure... more read more

Credit: UNIST

A team of researchers, affiliated with UNIST has developed a single-unit, photo-rechargeable portable power source based on high-efficiency silicon solar cells and lithium-ion batteries (LIBs).

This newly-developed power source is designed to work under sunlight and indoor lighting, allowing users to power their portable electronics anywhere with access to light. In addition, the new device could power electric devices even in the absence of light. In this work, the team of Professor Sang-Young Lee and Professor Kwanyoung Seo of Energy and Chemical Engineering at UNIST presented a new class of monolithically integrated, portable PV-battery systems (denoted as 'SiPV-LIBs') based on miniaturized crystalline Si photovoltaics (c-Si PVs) and printed solid-state lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). The device uses a thin-film printing technique, in which the solid-state LIB is directly... more read more

Credit: Image provided by POSTECH

The concept of a perfect lens that can produce immaculate and flawless images has been the Holy Grail of lens makers for centuries. In 1873, a German physicist and optical scientist by the name of Ernst Abbe discovered the diffraction limit of the microscope.

In other words, he discovered that conventional lenses are fundamentally incapable of capturing all the details of any given image. Since then, there have been numerous advances in the field to produce images that appear to have higher resolution than allowed by diffraction-limited optics. In 2000, Professor Sir John B. Pendry of Imperial College London -- the John Pendry who enticed millions of Harry Potter fans around the world with the possibility of a real Invisibility Cloak -- suggested a method of creating a lens with a theoretically perfect focus. The resolution of any optical imaging system has a maximum limit due to diffraction but Pendry's theoretic perfect lens would be crafted... more read more

Credit: DGSIT

DGIST research team led by Professor CheolGi Kim has developed a biosensor platform which has 20 times faster detection capability than the existing biosensors using magnetic patterns resembling a spider web.

The sensing capability of a biosensor is determined by the resolution of the sensor and the movement and reaction rate of molecules. Many research groups in Korea and other countries have been improving the resolution through the development of nanomaterials but there has been a limitation to improve the sensors' sensitivity due to the low diffusion transport of biomolcules toward the sensing region. Professor Kim and his research team used a magnetic field in order to overcome the drawback that the movement of biomolecules such as proteins and DNA is slow when the transport only depends on diffusion. The biomolecules labeled with superparamagnetic particles and the use of an external... more read more

Credit: UC Riverside

UCR researchers are turning glass bottles into high performance lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and personal electronics

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering have used waste glass bottles and a low-cost chemical process to create nanosilicon anodes for high-performance lithium-ion batteries. The batteries will extend the range of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and provide more power with fewer charges to personal electronics like cell phones and laptops. Titled "Silicon Derived from Glass Bottles as Anode Materials for Lithium Ion Full Cell Batteries," an article describing the research was published today in the Nature journal Scientific Reports. Cengiz Ozkan, professor of mechanical engineering, and Mihri Ozkan, professor... more read more

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