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[Images above] Credit: NIST



Nanocrystals get better when they double up with MOFs

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers confirmed that metal-organic frameworks can self-assemble with iron-oxide nanocrystals in a ‘sesame-seed ball’ configuration. The finding allows for new MOF-design playbook for electronics, optics, catalyses, and biomedicine.



Disordered crystals are promising for future battery technology

Researchers at University College London and University of Illinois at Chicago developed a scalable method to make a material that reversibly stores magnesium ions at high-voltage. Compared to larger, ordered crystals, disordered magnesium chromium oxide displayed reversible magnesium extraction and insertion.

New catalysts for better fuel cells

Researchers at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology developed nano-catalysts for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells that can reduce overall manufacturing costs. The catalysts were nitrogen-doped carbon nanorods with ceria and cobalt nanoparticles on their surfaces.

New materials could help improve the performance of solar cells

Researchers from Universities of Portsmouth, Southampton, and Bath developed a way to adjust properties of transport layers to encourage ionic defects within perovskite to move in such a way that they suppress recombination and lead to more efficient charge extraction.

Batteries predicted to become the cheapest option for storing electricity

Researchers at Imperial College London developed a model to determine lifetime costs of nine electricity storage technologies for 12 different applications between 2015 and 2050. The model predicts lithium-ion batteries to be cheapest technology in coming decades.



Metal-free micromotor could clean wastewater

University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague researchers made metal-free micromotors out of graphitic carbon nitride that can adsorb toxic heavy metals on their surface. Unlike micromachines that rely on ultraviolet light, these micromotors operate under visible light.

A greener approach to perovskite solar cells

Nazarbayev University researchers developed a greener, four-step method for growing perovskite films applicable to solar cells. To control crystallization, a cryo-nucleation technique was employed; a subsequent drying process resulted in uniform, defect-free films.

Novel, affordable CO2 capture materials for coal power plants identified

Researchers at University of Pittsburgh explored existing databases of hypothetical and real metal-organic frameworks to identify more than one million potential mixed matrix membranes. Further techno-economic analyses yielded 1,153 mixed matrix membranes with a carbon capture cost of less than $50 per ton removed.



Bendable concrete could be the answer to Louisiana’s infrastructure woes

Louisiana State University researchers developed bendable concrete using PVA fiber, fine river sand, and fly ash. In the coming months, the researchers will work with Louisiana Transportation Research Center Pavement Research Facility to test the pavement.

Scientists test new concrete with tiny wood particles in South Carolina

The United States Endowment for Forestry and Communities is partnering with federal officials, Oregon State University, and Purdue University to test a new type of concrete infused with microscopic particles of wood in a South Carolina parking lot. Early tests show adding wood nanoparticles produces a 15 percent gain in concrete strength.



New physics rule to find mechanical strain

University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers demonstrated via numerical simulations that naturally flat sheets forced to change their curvature can accommodate geometrically-required strain by developing microscopic wrinkles that bend sheet instead of stretching it.

US Army engineers 3D print a reinforced concrete footbridge at Camp Pendleton

Researchers at United States Army Engineer Research and Development Center 3D printed a 32-ft-long (9.75-meter-long) concrete footbridge. Megan Kreiger, the mechanical engineer who led the project, hopes to 3D print a modern-day version of a Bailey bridge.