Environment

Reducing waste in manufacturing—researchers explore conversion of diamond wire silicon cutting waste into high-value silicon nitride

By Lisa McDonald / November 11, 2022

Silicon waste is a major byproduct from solar cell production. A group of researchers from Northeastern University (Shenyang, China) have published several papers exploring how, through nitridation, this waste can be converted into high-value silicon nitride.

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Video: From waste to watercolors—Colorado artist turns food scraps into paint

By Lisa McDonald / November 2, 2022

With a little bit of science knowledge, artists can learn to make paints and glazes at home quite easily and for far less cost. A Colorado artist is working to educate others on how she creates environmentally friendly watercolor paints from foraged plants and food waste.

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Keeping water sources metal free: One-step method produces functionalized MXene for fast mercury removal

By Lisa McDonald / October 25, 2022

Heavy metal contamination in aquatic ecosystems can lead to negative effects on human health. In a recent paper, researchers from Drexel University and Temple University developed a simple one-step method to fabricate functionalized Ti3C2Tx MXene for mercury removal from water.

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Video: Shallow-water mining is not the answer to deep-sea mining

By Lisa McDonald / October 19, 2022

Because of the environmental and economic concerns associated with mining mineral deposits on the deep seabed, some companies and countries are considering shallow-water mining instead. A recent open-access paper raises concerns about viewing shallow-water mining as an eco-alternative to deep-sea mining.

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Video: Glass bead geoengineering to protect sea ice may actually accelerate its loss

By Lisa McDonald / October 12, 2022

In 2018, geoengineers proposed that spreading hollow glass microspheres over sea ice would protect it from melting. However, a new study argues the glass beads would likely accelerate loss of sea ice instead.

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Preparing for floods: Two-decade investigation confirms long-term stability of cement-treated soil

By Lisa McDonald / October 11, 2022

Severe flooding can deteriorate the soil and make large-scale landslides and embankment breaches more likely during future heavy rains. Cement treatment can fortify soils against disaggregation. A recent investigation of cement-treated soil samples from a 22-year field test confirmed such soils maintain their strength long term.

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Functionalized boron nitride-based nanofiltration membranes enhance treatment of semiconductor wastewaters

By Lisa McDonald / September 27, 2022

To improve separation performance of ceramic membranes, researchers currently are exploring modification of the membrane’s surface using 2D nanomaterials. Researchers led by Ewha Womans University demonstrated that coating a ceramic membrane with functionalized boron nitride improves separation performance for both particulate and organic contaminants in semiconductor wastewaters.

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Video: Upgrade your barbecue with ‘squeezable’ glass bottles

By Lisa McDonald / June 29, 2022

Though glass bottles have numerous advantages over plastic bottles, they lack the squeezability factor to easily eject their contents. Two entrepreneurs in the U.K. designed a silicon rubber attachment for glass bottles that gives them the squeezability factor.

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Clay locomotion and clean water

By Jonathon Foreman / June 17, 2022

Many of the world’s easily accessible freshwater sources are being drained faster than they are being replenished. In two recent papers, researchers led by Jilin University investigated the potential of a clay-based self-propelling nanomotor to purify water.

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Video: World Environment Day celebrates 50 years—how ceramic and glass materials help us live sustainably

By Lisa McDonald / June 1, 2022

In honor of World Environment Day on June 5, we look at a few of the many important contributions by ceramic and glass scientists that move us toward a more sustainable and harmonious relationship with nature.

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