Nerve agents are among the world’s most feared chemical weapons, but NIST scientists have demonstrated a way to engineer carbon nanotubes to dismantle the molecules of a major class of these chemicals. In principle, they say, the nanotubes could be woven into clothing that destroys the nerve agents on contact before they reach the skin.
Sandia National Laboratories recently completed the renovation of five large-scale test facilities that are crucial to ensuring the safety and reliability of the United State’s nuclear weapons systems. The renovation of two additional facilities was completed in 2005 during the first phase of the project. The two-phase $100 million project, which was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, renovated Sandia’s major environmental test facilities.
As the road leading up to a bridge presses down on the soil beneath its surface, the bridge tends to remain higher than the roadway, creating a problem that has menaced drivers and road engineers for years. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are exploring how geosynthetic reinforced soil (GRS) can be used to keep bridges more even with the roads that lead onto them. GRS combines layers of geosynthetic materials and compacted soil, or another similar granular substance, so that the soil can support weight without settling too much.
The fabrication of nanowires of ternary and quaternary functional materials has become an important goal for their application in miniaturized circuits as diodes and transistors, coaxial gates, and sensors. The growth mechanisms are complex, however, and invariably proceed via a vapor-liquid-solid process, which results in nanowires with an undesirable tapering morphology. A new study published in Science shows that researchers have successfully grown nanowires of a phase of the superconductor yttrium barium copper oxide that have a constant cross-sectional area.
A Magnet Lab physicist’s latest work on superconductivity explores how a bilayer of graphene could be coaxed into becoming an unconventional superconductor, or a material that will conduct electricity without resistance at certain cold temperatures. Conventional superconductors typically require the temperature to drop to about 30 K or below in order to superconduct. The high-temperature superconductors, however, require only about 100 K to superconduct. Such materials are based on copper and oxygen and are called unconventional superconductors.
The international media launch of the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car in Los Angeles will include the presentation of a solar carport concept developed by BMW Group DesignworksUSA for the use of renewable energy. The carport features high-grade glass-on-glass solar modules for electricity generation that can charge the car. The solar carport not only guarantees the supply of green power, but furthermore allows for energy self-sufficiency, so that customers remain independent of electricity prices.