Environment

Moisture managed—atomic layer deposition offers advantages for preserving lumber

By Lisa McDonald / February 25, 2020

Pressure treatment is a method to prevent wood rot, but it does have its downsides. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology explored treating wood using atomic layer deposition and found they could manage moisture content, mold growth, and thermal conductivity.

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Corroding confidence—water threatens stability of vitrified nuclear waste

By Lisa McDonald / February 14, 2020

Vitrification, an established solution for nuclear waste disposal, is considered stable once the waste is turned into glass. New research led by The Ohio State University shows this stability could be threatened if water contacts the metal canister containing the glass.

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Video: Bottle houses—another way to reuse glass

By Lisa McDonald / February 5, 2020

Many glass recycling initiatives focus on crushing the original glass product and turning it into something else. However, you do not need to necessarily crush glass to reuse it, as numerous “bottle houses” around the world show. Take a look at a few of the famous ones.

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Bacteria bind bricks to create sustainable living building material

By April Gocha / February 4, 2020

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder designed a living building material cemented together with cyanobacteria-secreted calcium carbonate—offering possibilities for construction in resource-limited settings.

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Binding ‘cheep’ fertilizer: Ceramics harden chicken waste for easier transport

By Lisa McDonald / January 31, 2020

Chicken litter is a good fertilizer due to a composition rich in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. However, transporting the residue is difficult because it crumbles. Researchers from Brazil investigate using ceramic additives to increase waste hardness for easier transport.

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Doing double duty in the circular economy—creating foam glass from waste materials

By Jonathon Foreman / January 28, 2020

Porous ceramics hold great promise as value-added products for waste materials because they can use ceramic and glass powders as starting materials. Two recent papers published in a special issue of ACT explore this idea by creating foam glass from waste.

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Video: Deep sea mining—the search for critical materials dives into dark waters

By Lisa McDonald / January 22, 2020

As the global batteries market expands rapidly in parallel with renewable energy technologies and electric vehicles, manufacturers are looking for new sources of critical materials. Deep sea mining is one possibility—but at what cost to the environment?

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Brew your own carbon: Beer waste turned into high-value carbon materials

By Lisa McDonald / January 14, 2020

Spent grains from the beer making process are commonly used as animal feedstock. Researchers led by Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland offer a new, potentially more profitable recycling option—turn spent grains into high-value carbon materials.

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Nanospinning performance fabrics—the next generation of gear is weaving materials science into outerwear

By April Gocha / December 31, 2019

By incorporating electrospun nanofibers, The North Face’s new Futurelight gear is designed to be more breathable and lightweight than any other performance material currently on the market.

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Video: Uncovering the dark side of e-waste recycling

By Lisa McDonald / December 11, 2019

The Basel Action Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing pollution dumping in developing countries. Learn what it is doing to prevent recyclers from exporting electronics overseas and find out how its e-waste sting operation in 2015 revealed a shocking betrayal.

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