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[Image above] Credit: NIST

RIT names Doreen Edwards dean of its engineering college

Doreen Edwards has been named dean of the Kate Gleason College of Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology. Edwards is the first female to lead the engineering college, which is the only one to be named after a woman in the United States. Edwards, who is dean of the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University and acting vice president of statutory affairs for the university, is to join RIT on July 1.


New fuel cell design powered by graphene-wrapped nanocrystals

While there remain scientific challenges to making hydrogen-based energy sources more competitive with current automotive propulsion systems and other energy technologies, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have developed a new materials recipe for a battery-like hydrogen fuel cell—which surrounds hydrogen-absorbing magnesium nanocrystals with atomically thin graphene sheets—to push its performance forward in key areas.

Novel ceramics convert wasted heat into electricity

A doctoral student at the University of Manchester, U.K., has designed nanostructured ceramics that are thermoelectric materials that convert the heat produced in industrial processes into electrical energy. To find an alternative energy source, the researcher shapes and designs these materials for use in different industries, such as space or automobile.

Nanomotors could help electronics fix themselves

As electronics grow ever more intricate, so must the tools required to fix them. Anticipating this challenge, scientists turned to the body’s immune system for inspiration and have now built self-propelled nanomotors that can seek out and repair tiny scratches to electronic systems. They could one day lead to flexible batteries, electrodes, solar cells, and other gadgets that heal themselves.


Innovative catalyst fabrication may yield breakthrough in fuel cell development

Gold nanoparticles have been cited as an ideal solution for fuel cells, but creating a uniform, useful catalyst has proven elusive. In a potential breakthrough technology for fuel cells, researchers at Kyushu University show how wrapping a graphene support in a specially prepared polymer provides an ideal foundation for making uniform, highly active gold nanoparticle catalysts.

Technological breakthrough for cheaper lighting and flexible solar cells

European scientists have developed flexible lighting foils that can be produced roll-to-roll—much like newspapers are printed. These devices pave the path towards cheaper solar cells and LED lighting panels. The project named TREASORES was led by Empa scientists and combined knowhow from nine companies and six research institutes in five European countries.

DOE develops paint-on coating to tackle energy leakage

In an effort to curb the estimated $50 billion annually that energy leakage through windows costs building owners, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have developed a polymer heat-reflective coating that can be painted on at one-tenth the cost of other solutions, lab officials say.


Spray-on coating could ice-proof airplanes, power lines, windshields

University of Michigan researchers have developed a durable, inexpensive ice repellent coating. Thin, clear and slightly rubbery to the touch, the spray-on formula could make ice slide off equipment, airplanes and car windshields. Made of a blend of common synthetic rubbers, the new formula marks a departure from earlier approaches to icephobic coatings, which relied on making surfaces either very water repellent or very slippery.

New NASA probe could improve sonic boom investigation

An air data probe intended to improve investigation of sonic booms is flying on the F-15B aircraft at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California. NASA’s goal for sonic boom research is to find ways to control and lessen the noise from shockwaves so that federal regulators will allow commercial supersonic flight overland.

Iowa State engineers develop flexible skin that traps radar waves, cloaks objects

Iowa State University engineers have developed a new flexible, stretchable and tunable “meta-skin” that uses rows of small, liquid-metal devices to cloak an object from the sharp eyes of radar. Stretching and flexing the polymer meta-skin—which takes its name from metamaterials—can tune it to reduce the reflection of a wide range of radar frequencies.

Superman can start worrying—we’ve got the formula for (almost) kryptonite!

Theoretical chemists from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences have found how to synthesize the first binary compound of krypton and oxygen: a krypton oxide. It turns out that this exotic substance can be produced under extremely high pressure, and its production is quite within the capabilities of today’s laboratories.

How to make porous materials dry faster

Water in, water out: such is the cycle of porous material. Modeling how porous material retains water or dries up can be resolved by narrowing the focus down to a single porous channel. Now, a team of physicists has uncovered subtle underlying effects. These include the local shape of the air and water interface, which, in turn, is influenced by the actual shape of the capillaries.

Ferrite boosting photocatalytic hydrogen evolution

Among all the developed photocatalysts, graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) as a metal-free photocatalyst has captured increasing attention. In a recent article, researchers described an efficient photocatalytic hydrogen production system designed basing on promoting both charge carrier separation and surface catalytic redox reaction processes in g-C3N4.