Materials & Innovations

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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Slip and slide—spray-on polymer coating keeps porcelain toilet bowls cleaner

By April Gocha / December 6, 2019

A team of researchers developed a super slippery spray-on toilet bowl coating that prevents waste from sticking to the toilet bowl’s surfaces, allowing toilets to use less water to flush clean.

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Optical fibers for earthquake monitoring head undersea

By Lisa McDonald / December 3, 2019

It is challenging to effectively monitor seismic quakes deep in the ocean. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers and colleagues, who previously used optical fibers to monitor earthquakes on land, tested using optical fibers to monitor earthquakes undersea.

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Video: Blue is cool—pigment containing ceramic microspheres cools Qatar roads

By Lisa McDonald / November 20, 2019

In anticipation of hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022, Qatar is actively implementing cooling technologies to combat the intense heat. One technology being tested to cool roads is a blue heat-reflective pigment containing hollow ceramic microspheres.

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Porous silica nanoparticles offer potential solution to combat counterfeiting

By April Gocha / October 29, 2019

In today’s world of global commerce, product identity is a significant issue with considerable economic repercussions. TruTag Technologies is developing porous silica nanoparticles that use unique spectral signatures to authenticate goods.

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Repair tooth enamel by growing it

By Lisa McDonald / October 18, 2019

Enamel is the hardest tissue in the body—but it cannot self-repair when damaged. Due to its complex structure, creating enamel in the laboratory is difficult, but a new technique proposed by researchers in China may make growing enamel a reality.

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Good enough for a Nobel—lithium-ion batteries are the focus of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry

By Lisa McDonald / October 11, 2019

On October 9, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to three scientists for their work to develop lithium-ion batteries. John Goodenough, a luminary in the field of solid-state physics, is one of this year’s winners—learn more about his history and current research.

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No furnace necessary: Lasers weld ceramics at room temperature

By Lisa McDonald / October 11, 2019

Welding ceramics traditionally requires high temperatures and long-term exposure. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, and the University of California, Riverside, discovered ceramics can be welded at room temperature using ultrafast pulsed lasers.

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Frank inspiration: Hot dogs inspire 3D-printed bioceramic structure to repair bone

By April Gocha / October 8, 2019

An international team of scientists developed a unique 3D printing process to fabricate bioceramic structures—reminiscent of hot dogs—that frankly could be a fantastic solution to repair large bone defects.

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