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Berkeley Lab researchers create nanoparticle thin films that self-assemble in one minute

Researchers with the U.S. DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have devised a technique whereby self-assembling nanoparticle arrays can form a highly ordered thin film over macroscopic distances in one minute. The researchers combined supramolecules based on block copolymers with gold nanoparticles to create nanocomposites that under solvent annealing quickly self-assembled into hierarchically-structured thin films spanning an area of several square centimeters.

55-year-old dark side of the moon mystery solved

The “man in the moon” appeared when meteoroids struck the Earth-facing side of the moon creating large flat seas of basalt that we see as dark areas called maria. But no “face” exists on farside of the moon and now, Penn State astrophysicists think they know why. The researchers realized that the absence of maria, which is due to a difference in crustal thickness between the side of the moon we see and the hidden side, is a consequence of how the moon originally formed.

Nanodiamonds as bacterial killers

Material scientists from Bremen (Germany) and Stanford have identified nanodiamonds as potent bactericidal agents. Exhibiting a diameter of 5 nm, nanodiamonds are 200-times smaller than a bacterium and are produced by the explosion of carbon-containing compounds in high-pressure storage tanks. The material scientists have now identified the strong antibacterial properties of these nanodiamonds. Besides silver and copper, nanodiamonds might be used as a new effective agent against bacterial contaminations and infections.

Ford and Heinz collaborate on sustainable materials for vehicles

(Reuters) Researchers at Ford and Heinz are investigating the use of tomato fibers in developing sustainable, composite materials for use in vehicle manufacturing. Specifically, dried tomato skins could become the wiring brackets in a Ford vehicle or the storage bin a Ford customer uses to hold coins and other small objects. Nearly two years ago, Ford began collaborating with Heinz, The Coca-Cola Company, Nike Inc. and Procter & Gamble to accelerate development of a 100 percent plant-based plastic to be used to make everything from fabric to packaging and with a lower environmental impact than petroleum-based packaging materials currently in use.

High strength cellular aluminum foam for the automotive industry

Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) researchers have developed an innovative process to make high strength cellular aluminum foam with help from some salt. Aluminum foam exhibits unique properties when compared to its dense form, particularly its lightweight characteristics. The researchers developed an innovative processing route for high strength cellular aluminum foam by integrating porous and dense structures. The product has demonstrated functionally graded properties that are desirable for applications that require both properties of heat transfer and high strength.

New low friction coating allows grease-free lubrication and corrosion protection

Machine parts wear if there is friction between their metal surfaces. Lubricants and functional oils help prevent this, but they attract dirt, debris and dust, and over time form lumps or become resinous. Researchers at the INM–Leibniz Institute for New Materials have now developed a functional coating which lubricates without grease and protects against corrosion at the same time. It is suitable as a coating for metals and metal alloys such as steel, aluminum, or magnesium.

Rensselaer researchers predict the electrical response of metals to extreme pressures

New research from Rensselaer makes it possible to predict how subjecting metals to severe pressure can lower their electrical resistance, a finding that could have applications in computer chips and other materials that could benefit from specific electrical resistance. The published research opens the door to a new variant of strain engineering that can be applied to the metal interconnects and other materials used to conduct or insulate electricity.