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Published on August 19th, 2015 | By: April Gocha, PhD

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on August 19th, 2015 | By: April Gocha, PhD

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

Production of high-temperature ceramic nanofibers

Nanofibers have advantages over nanoparticles, including perfect resistance to severe thermal shock, higher ability to endure dynamic load, and higher fracture toughness. Therefore, researchers tried to synthesize zirconium diboride as a high temperature ceramic with nanofibrous structure. Zirconium diboride nanofibers were synthesized by using a gel containing raw materials and molecular dimensions and by electrospinning of the produced sol through carbothermal reduction.

 

Research center receives NSF grant to study semiconducting gallium nitride

Researchers at the University of Arkansas’ GRid-connected Advanced Power Electronic Systems Center (GRAPES) have received a $200,000 grant to study the modeling of gallium nitride devices. Alan Mantooth, Distinguished Professor of electrical engineering and executive director of the center, will lead the effort.

 

Gecko grippers moving on up

Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are working on the ultimate system of stickiness, inspired by geckos. Thanks to tiny hairs on the bottom of geckos’ feet, these lizards can cling to walls with ease, and their stickiness doesn’t wear off with repeated usage. JPL engineers used that concept to create a material with synthetic hairs that are much thinner than a human hair. When a force is applied to make the tiny hairs bend, that makes the material stick to a desired surface.

 

The pressure is on

Researchers with Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source have developed technology to squeeze materials with a million times the pressure of the earth’s atmosphere while studying them with neutrons. When they bombard these materials with neutrons, the materials provide an unprecedented picture of the changing nature of matter under extreme pressure.

 

Argonne scientists receives patent on new hardening technique

The metal components that make up industrial machines are subject to tremendous wear and tear. But a newly patented technology by a team at Argonne National Lab could greatly extend the lifetime of mechanical parts. To protect machinery and increase longevity, several methods of surface hardening have been developed including pack-boriding, which lays down a boride layer on metal pieces through the diffusion of boron.

 

Black phosphorus surges ahead of graphene

A research team operating out of Pohang University of Science and Technology, affiliated with the Institute for Basic Science’s Center for Artificial Low Dimensional Electronic Systems, reported a tunable band gap in black phosphorous, effectively modifying the semiconducting material into a unique state of matter with anisotropic dispersion. This research outcome potentially allows for great flexibility in the design and optimization of electronic and optoelectronic devices like solar panels and telecommunication lasers.

 

Microscopic rake doubles efficiency of low-cost solar cells

Researchers from the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have developed a manufacturing technique that could double the electricity output of inexpensive solar cells by using a microscopic rake when applying light-harvesting polymers. In experiments, solar cells made with the tiny rake double the efficiency of cells made without it and are 18 percent better than cells made using a microscopic straightedge blade.

 


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