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Other materials stories that may be of interest

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[Image above] Credit: NIST

US scientists celebrate the restart of the Large Hadron Collider

The world’s most powerful particle accelerator just began its second act. After two years of upgrades and repairs, this week proton beams once again circulated around the Large Hadron Collider, located at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. With the collider back in action, the more than 1,700 U.S. scientists who work on LHC experiments are prepared to join thousands of their international colleagues to study the highest-energy particle collisions ever achieved in the laboratory.

Hydrophobic coating creates super secret invisible sidewalk art in concrete 

There are plenty of cliches about finding the sunshine on a rainy day, but this sidewalk art is not one of them. Designed and produced by artist Peregrine Church, Rainworks is a special type of street art that appears on sidewalks only when they’re wet. To create the artwork and happy messages, Church uses custom-made stencils and a non-toxic, biodegradable superhydrophobic coating. When dry, the designs remain hidden, but as the sidewalk gets wet during a rainfall, they slowly appear.

A new breakthrough in thermoelectric materials

An international team of researchers has formulated a new method for creating a novel and much more efficient thermoelectric alloy. The team used a process called liquid-flow assisted sintering that combined all three antimony, bismuth, and telluride granules into one alloy. The new liquid-phase sintering creates grain boundaries that are organized and aligned in seams called dislocation arrays. These dislocation arrays greatly reduce thermal conduction, leading to an enhancement of thermoelectric conversion efficiency.

The ‘world record’ of float glass—just 0.25 mm-thick

Recently, Luoyang Glass Group Longhai Electronic Glass Co. Ltd successfully completed production of the first 0.25 mm-thick float glass. The glass breaks the company’s previous record of 0.33 mm. According to the company’s tests, the ultrathin glass of is characteristic of even thickness, small warpage, fine cutting precision, etc. With technical indicators meeting the international standard, it can be widely used for glass protective films, ITO conducting glass, and other electronic display fields.

Battery energy storage project shows promise for electricity network

With rising electricity prices one of the biggest issues facing households, Griffith University (Australia) research into energy storage and supply holds the promise of cheaper, better quality power for the low voltage electricity distribution network. A forecast-based, three-phase battery energy storage scheduling and operation system provides benefits such as reduced peak demand, more efficient load balancing, and better management of supply from solar photovoltaics.

Stanford engineers working to pack more laser beams, and data, into fiber optic strands

Internet data travels on a laser beam through a fiber optic cable, but as the volume of data grows, some researchers are asking, why waste an entire fiber on just a single beam of light? Just as many streams converge in a river, a number of laser beams would flow through the fiber. Inside the fiber these light waves would comingle, just like the water from separate streams. What makes this possible is a series of breakthroughs in the design and fabrication of optical structures that can combine and separate laser beams based on the shape of the wave they generate.