April Gocha

Recycling robot aims to generate separate material waste streams, right in your kitchen

By April Gocha / February 5, 2021

Challenges with recycling systems have resulted in a dead end for many materials. But a new robotic kitchen concept called Lasso has a solution—the appliance can clean, sort, process, and store recyclable materials, generating highly pure recyclable waste streams right at their point of use.

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Locked in rock: Carbon capture strategy looks to olivine to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

By April Gocha / December 22, 2020

As we face dangerously rising carbon dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere, new strategies for carbon capture and storage that are not only effective but also scalable, affordable, and easy to implement are drastically needed. Could a simple green silicate mineral called olivine provide the solution?

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Asking big questions of a microscopic particle: Scientists probe secrets of ancient mummy painting

By April Gocha / December 15, 2020

Ancient mummy portraits that were buried with mummies in Roman Egypt still hold many secrets about how and why they were created. A new study takes a deep dive into the materials secrets hiding in an ancient pigment particle and discovers some interesting insights into the people who created these unique works of art.

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Tough beetles reveal secrets that could help join dissimilar materials

By April Gocha / November 17, 2020

The diabolical ironclad beetle can withstand crushing by forces up to 39,000-times its body weight. But what makes this little beetle so tough? A new study reveals some of the secrets the beetle stores in its tough exoskeleton, secrets that could aid in development of biomimetic materials and structures to join dissimilar materials in more robust ways.

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Engineered to perfection: The science of chocolate and designing a better chocolate chip

By April Gocha / September 4, 2020

Although chocolate is a simple pleasure for many people around the world, the science behind chocolate as a food and as a material is deliciously complex. Now an industrial designer has re-engineered the chocolate chip to maximize taste and texture, giving it optimal surface area with angular features.

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Bio-inspired ceramic–metal composite stands its ground against cutting tools

By April Gocha / September 1, 2020

A team of researchers in the U.K. and Germany developed a ceramic–metal composite that, despite being just 15% as dense as steel, is nearly uncuttable. The material harnesses the power of vibration to direct cutting tools’ destructive energy back upon themselves, wearing the tools down before they can inflict serious damage on the material.

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How effective is that mask? Depends on what materials it is made of

By April Gocha / July 21, 2020

There is no shortage of options available when shopping for nonmedical face masks, yet most provide little information about their filter efficiency and breathability—important considerations for a mask that is both efficient and comfortable. But a recent study offers more complete data on the performance of an array of common materials.

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Sand—a critical material resource with a complicated story and no simple solution

By April Gocha / July 7, 2020

Humans’ voracious sand consumption for infrastructure activities threatens global supply of this critical natural resource. But do we even know how much sand we are consuming worldwide? New research shows that we’ve been calculating the basic unit all wrong.

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Butter-like ceramic interlayer may solve interface instability of solid-state batteries

By April Gocha / June 19, 2020

Scientists at Chalmers University of Technology and Xi’an Jiaotong University developed a new ceramic interlayer—a butter-like mixture of glass-ceramic nanoparticles within an ionic liquid—that provides adequately high ionic conductivity, high thermal stability, and low interfacial resistance to potentially make solid-state batteries a commercial reality.

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Graphene may be the key material to smooth out carbon fiber’s high price

By April Gocha / June 12, 2020

A team of researchers found adding a small amount of graphene can improve the structural alignment of spun carbon fibers, reinforcing their strength—and providing the potential to produce much more inexpensive carbon fiber materials.

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