OMS header

[Image credit: NIST]

New molecule puts scientists a step closer to understanding hydrogen storage

Australian and Taiwanese scientists have discovered a new molecule—28copper15hydride—that is one step closer to solving one of the barriers to development of cleaner, greener hydrogen fuel cells. The molecule, a mixture of copper compounds with borohydride, has alternating layers of hydride and copper wrapped in an outer shell of protecting molecules. The molecule contains double the expected number of hydrides at its core.

Formula calculates thickness of bombproof concrete

Fraunhofer researchers have developed a new type of concrete that deforms, but doesn’t break, when subjected to extreme pressures like those from a bomb blast. The special mixture is made from very hard high-performance concrete combined with finely meshed reinforced steel. The researchers have developed a mathematical formula that computes the required thickness of the new concrete for each application.

Direct-diode laser is bright enough to cut and weld metal

MIT spinout TeraDiode is commercializing a multikilowatt diode laser system that’s bright enough to cut and weld—even through a half-inch of steel—at greater efficiencies than today’s industrial lasers. The 4-kilowatt TeraBlade runs on a novel power-scaling technique that manipulates individual diode laser beams into a single output ray, allowing adequate power while preserving a very focused beam.

Sludge from water treatment plants as a suitable material for pottery products

Sludge is produced during clarification and filtration processes in the water treatment system. Malaysian researchers have found a way to reuse sludge, which is otherwise discarded, by incorporating it into structural clay products. During the process, the organic substances in the sludge were eliminated through burning, while the heavy metals were safely contained.

Silicene: To be or not to be?

A recent study at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory has called into question the existence of silicene. The nanomaterial was proposed as a two-dimensional sheet of silicon atoms that can be created experimentally by super-heating silicon and evaporating atoms onto a silver platform. But the new research suggests that alloy-like surface phases would form until bulk silicon layers, or “platelets” would precipitate out, which has been mistaken as two-dimensional silicene.

New approach to creating organic zeolites

University of Delaware researchers have elucidated a new pathway for the potential generation of organic zeolites. The challenge in creating organic zeolites, also known as crystalline porous polymers, is that organic polymers like to be amorphous. Using a mixed solvent with low solubility, the team devised a way to slow the polymer’s intrinsic reactivity down, allowing it to be reversible.

Creating optical cables out of thin air

University of Maryland researchers have found a way to make air behave like an optical fiber, guiding light beams over long distances without loss of power. The air waveguides consist of a “wall” of low-density air surrounding a core of higher density air. These air waveguides could have many applications, including long-range laser communications, detecting pollution in the atmosphere, making high-resolution topographic maps, and laser weapons.