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Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Planned nuclear storage material could decay faster than expected

Planned nuclear storage material could decay faster than expected

Enlarge / Waste in a temporary storage facility. A number of countries, including the United States, has been planning for long-term storage of nuclear wastes. While many of these nations plan to keep the waste isolated from water, that's not something that can be guaranteed over the extremely long lifespans of the waste. If water…
“Living concrete” is an interesting first step

“Living concrete” is an interesting first step

Enlarge / The cyanobacteria in flasks contribute to the structure at right.Cell Press It seems like every week, I can do an article on some interesting science that ended up buried under hyperbolic headlines and overly credible coverage. This week's victim is "living concrete." It only sort of exists, in that the material can either…
Will lithium-sulfur batteries be in our future?

Will lithium-sulfur batteries be in our future?

Monash University Associate Professor Matthew Hill, Dr. Mahdokht Shaibani, and Professor Mainak Majumder with the lithium-sulphur battery design.Monash University The name "lithium-ion battery" seems to imply that lithium is the essential ingredient that dictates the battery's performance characteristics. But that's less true than it appears. The electrodes that the lithium shuttles between are critical for…
This material could camouflage objects from infrared cameras

This material could camouflage objects from infrared cameras

Hotter objects typically glow brighter than cooler ones, making them stand out in infrared images. But a newly designed coating bucks the rule that hotter equals brighter. For certain wavelengths of infrared light, the material’s brightness doesn’t change as it warms, researchers report December 17 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Made of…
MIT scientists made a shape-shifting material that morphs into a human face

MIT scientists made a shape-shifting material that morphs into a human...

Enlarge / A lattice structure, originally printed flat, has morphed into the outline of a human face after changing the surrounding temperature. The facial shape is based on the likeness of Carl Friedrich Gauss.Lori K. Sanders The next big thing in 3D printing just might be so-called "4D materials" which employ the same manufacturing techniques,…
Lead ends up being more powerful than steel under severe pressures

Lead ends up being more powerful than steel under severe pressures

Lead performs under pressure. Under normal conditions, the metal is relatively soft, easily scratched with a fingernail. But when compressed under extreme pressures, lead becomes hard and strong — even stronger than steel, scientists report November 11 in Physical Review Letters. To study how lead’s strength changed under pressure, researchers rapidly compressed a lead sample…
Recycling vehicles’ lithium batteries is more complex than you may believe

Recycling vehicles’ lithium batteries is more complex than you may believe

Enlarge / Challenges scale considerably when the battery pack weighs 300kg. Lithium batteries have become incredibly popular for electronic devices, and the emphasis on weight and size for those batteries means that the amount of raw materials tied up in them isn't too large. But that's absolutely not the case for the other growing use…
A brand-new cooling method counts on untwisting coiled fibers

A brand-new cooling method counts on untwisting coiled fibers

A new way to chill out is simple: Just unwind. Called twistocaloric cooling, the method involves unwinding tightly twisted strands of various materials. The technique was used to chill water by several degrees Celsius, scientists report in the Oct. 11 Science. Cooling techniques like those used in traditional refrigerators rely on cycles of compressing and…
New gel lets us spread out flame retardant prior to wildfires begin

New gel lets us spread out flame retardant prior to wildfires...

Enlarge / Firefighters from Stockton, Calif., put out flames off of Hidden Valley Rd. while fighting a wildfire, Friday, May 3, 2013 in Hidden Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Mel Melcon) The last few years have seen horrific fire seasons in California, resulting in destruction, deaths, and economic damage. And with climate change continuing…
The trick to amazing conservation of a Dead Sea Scroll might be salt finish

The trick to amazing conservation of a Dead Sea Scroll might...

Enlarge / Partial view of the Dead Sea Temple Scroll, one of the longest biblical texts found since the 1940s. A team of MIT scientists studied a fragment of one of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls and found the parchment has an unusual coating of sulfate salts. This may be one reason the scrolls were…

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