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Other materials stories that may be of interest

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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Manufacturing leaders highlight importance of big data, advanced materials

Dozens of U.S. industrial leaders singled out predictive data as the most important technological factor to their future competitiveness, according to a recent survey. Professional services firm Deloitte and the D.C.-based nonprofit Council on Competitiveness issued a report based on interviews with nearly three dozen manufacturing company executives as well as national laboratory and research facility directors.

Doping powers new thermoelectric material

Increasing the efficiency of thermoelectric materials is essential if they are to be used commercially. Northwestern University researchers now report that doping tin selenide with sodium boosts its performance as a thermoelectric material, pushing it toward usefulness. The doped material produces a significantly greater amount of electricity than the undoped material, given the same amount of heat input.

Coming to a monitor near you: A defect-free, molecule-thick film

A research team led by engineers at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab has found a simple way to fix defects in monolayer semiconductors through the use of an organic superacid. The chemical treatment led to a dramatic 100-fold increase in the material’s photoluminescence quantum yield, a ratio describing the amount of light generated by the material versus the amount of energy put in.

New type of bed material turbo charges combined heat and power plants

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have discovered that a certain bed material improves the combustion efficiency of waste and biomass while significantly decreasing operating and maintenance costs of combined heat and power (CHP) technology. In collaboration with the energy supplier Eon, the researchers have proven the concept in today’s commercial boilers.

A new symmetry underlies the search for new materials

A new symmetry operation developed by Penn State researchers has the potential to speed up the search for new advanced materials that range from tougher steels to new types of electronic, magnetic, and thermal materials. The team reports a new set of boxes called distortion symmetry groups that describes what happens when physical systems are perturbed by stresses, electric and magnetic fields or other forces, and change from one state to another.

From nanocrystals to Earth’s crust, solid materials share failure characteristics

Apparently, size doesn’t always matter. An extensive study by an interdisciplinary research group suggests that the deformation properties of nanocrystals are not much different from those of the Earth’s crust. Using tools from the theory of phase transitions, such as the renormalization group, one can show that the slip statistics of the model do not depend on the details of the system.

At the nanoscale, concrete proves effective for nuclear containment

A new study by researchers from the MIT and the French National Center for Scientific Research is first to show that cement is effective for nuclear containment of radioactive materials. The paper presents research that, for the first time, offers quantum modeling of cement hydrate at the nanoscale. “In short, what the research showed is that cement is a good choice for storing nuclear waste from the fission reaction in nuclear plants.”

Metallic glasses: Thermal cycling is the secret to eternal youth

AIMR researchers have discovered that simply cycling the temperature of a metallic glass ‘rejuvenates’ it, making it less brittle. The team thermally cycled metallic glasses between room temperature and liquid-nitrogen temperature and found that the process could reverse aging of the materials, which makes them brittle and susceptible to cracking.