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Physics - Materials Science - 23.11.2020
Moths strike out in evolutionary arms race with sophisticated wing design
Moths strike out in evolutionary arms race with sophisticated wing design
Ultra-thin, super-absorbent and extraordinarily designed to detract attention, the wings of moths could hold the key for developing technological solutions to survive in a noisy world. As revealed in a new study published today in PNAS [date tbc], researchers from the University of Bristol have discovered the precise construction of moths wings that have enabled the species to evade its most troublesome predator in a 65 million-year-old evolutionary arms race.

Materials Science - Environment - 17.11.2020
New green materials could power smart devices using ambient light
New green materials could power smart devices using ambient light
Researchers have developed environmentally friendly materials that could harvest enough energy from indoor light to power wireless smart devices. We are increasingly using more smart devices like smartphones, smart speakers, and wearable health and wellness sensors in our homes, offices, and public buildings.

Materials Science - Health - 29.10.2020
Study measures effectiveness of different face mask materials when coughing
Study measures effectiveness of different face mask materials when coughing
A team of researchers have tested everything from t-shirts and socks to jeans and vacuum bags to determine what type of mask material is most effective at trapping the ultrafine particles which may contain viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

Physics - Materials Science - 12.10.2020
Upper limit for the speed of sound
Upper limit for the speed of sound
A research collaboration between the University of Cambridge, Queen Mary University of London and the Institute for High Pressure Physics in Troitsk has discovered the fastest possible speed of sound. The result - about 36 km per second - is around twice as fast as the speed of sound in diamond, the hardest known material in the world.

Materials Science - Physics - 05.10.2020
Squeezing light inside memory devices could help improve performance
Squeezing light inside memory devices could help improve performance
Researchers have developed a method to 'squeeze' visible light in order to see inside tiny memory devices. The technique will allow researchers to probe how these devices break down and how their performance can be improved for a range of applications. The team, led by the University of Cambridge, used the technique to investigate the materials used in random access memories, while in operation.

History / Archeology - Materials Science - 23.09.2020
Chromium steel was first made in ancient Persia
Chromium steel - similar to what we know today as tool steel - was first made in Persia, nearly a millennium earlier than experts previously thought, according to a new study led by UCL. The discovery, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science , was made with the aid of a number of medieval Persian manuscripts, which led the researchers to an archaeological site in Chahak, southern Iran.

Physics - Materials Science - 10.09.2020
Computational modelling explains why blues and greens are brightest colours in nature
Computational modelling explains why blues and greens are brightest colours in nature
Researchers have shown why intense, pure red colours in nature are mainly produced by pigments, instead of the structural colour that produces bright blue and green hues.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 24.08.2020
New insights into lithium-ion battery failure mechanism
Researchers have identified a potential new degradation mechanism for electric vehicle batteries - a key step to designing effective methods to improve battery lifespan. The researchers, from the Universities of Cambridge and Liverpool, and the Diamond Light Source, have identified one of the reasons why state-of-the-art 'nickel-rich' battery materials become fatigued, and can no longer be fully charged after prolonged use.

Materials Science - Physics - 12.08.2020
Coffee stains inspire optimal printing technique for electronics
Coffee stains inspire optimal printing technique for electronics
Using an alcohol mixture, researchers modified how ink droplets dry, enabling cheap industrial-scale printing of electronic devices at unprecedented scales. The natural form of ink droplets is spherical - however, because of their composition, our ink droplets behave like pancakes Tawfique Hasan Have you ever spilled your coffee on your desk? You may then have observed one of the most puzzling phenomena of fluid mechanics - the coffee ring effect.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 17.07.2020
New membrane could cut emissions and energy use in oil refining
New membrane could cut emissions and energy use in oil refining
Imperial has co-developed the first synthetic membrane to separate crude oil and crude oil fractions, which could help reduce carbon emissions. Crude oil is refined to create fuels like diesel, petrol and jet fuel, as well as lubricants and plastics. However, the processes used to create these byproducts are a major source of pollutants to the air, water, and soil.

Materials Science - Life Sciences - 06.07.2020
Cell 'membrane on a chip' could speed up screening of drug candidates for COVID-19
Cell ’membrane on a chip’ could speed up screening of drug candidates for COVID-19
Researchers have developed a human cell 'membrane on a chip' that allows continuous monitoring of how drugs and infectious agents interact with our cells, and may soon be used to test potential drug candidates for COVID-19. This type of screening is typically done by the pharmaceutical industry with live cells, but our device provides an easier alternative Róisín Owens The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, Cornell University and Stanford University, say their device could mimic any cell type-bacterial, human or even the tough cells walls of plants.

Health - Materials Science - 01.07.2020
New plastic biomaterials could lead to tougher, more versatile medical implants
A new thermoplastic biomaterial, which is tough and strong but also easy to process and shape has been developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham. A type of nylon, the material's shape memory properties enable it to be stretched and moulded but able to reform into its original shape when heated.

Health - Materials Science - 08.06.2020
Virus DNA spread across hospital ward in 10 hours
Virus DNA left on a hospital bed rail was found in nearly half of all sites sampled across a ward within 10 hours and persisted for at least five days, according to a new study by UCL and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). The study, published as a letter in the Journal of Hospital Infection , aimed to safely simulate how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, may spread across surfaces in a hospital.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 29.05.2020
New materials could make greener fast-charging batteries
New materials could make greener fast-charging batteries
Researchers have created a fast-charging battery prototype that uses sodium instead of lithium, potentially leading to more sustainable batteries. The prototype is one of the first to successfully use sodium in an organic battery that can be quickly charged and discharged hundreds of times without losing any capacity.

Materials Science - Environment - 11.05.2020
Working up a sweat could power future wearable devices
A new generation of wearable devices could be powered by human sweat instead of conventional, environmentally-unfriendly batteries, scientists say. In a new paper published today in the journal Advanced Materials, engineers from the Bendable Electronics and Sensing Technologies (BEST) group at the University of Glasgow describe how working up a sweat could be enough to generate power for exercise monitors and other electronic devices in the future.

Materials Science - Environment - 06.05.2020
New material engineered to capture carbon dioxide emissions
Researchers at UCL and Newcastle University have developed a new class of self-forming membrane to separate carbon dioxide from a mixture of gases. Operating like a coffee filter, it lets harmless gases, such as nitrogen, exit into the atmosphere and allows the carbon dioxide to be processed separately.

Environment - Materials Science - 30.04.2020
Largest amount of microplastics found on ocean floor
Largest amount of microplastics found on ocean floor
Our researchers have helped record the highest level of microplastics ever found on the ocean floor - with up to 1.9 million pieces in an area of just one square metre. The discovery highlights the problem of plastic pollution in our seas, 99 per cent of which lies beneath the waves. Working as part of an international team the researchers have shown how deep-sea currents act as conveyor belts, transporting tiny plastic fragments and fibres across the seafloor.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 29.04.2020
MRI scanning assists with next generation battery design
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide an effective way of supporting the development of the next generation of high-performance rechargeable batteries, according to research led by the University of Birmingham. The technique, which was developed to detect the movement and deposition of sodium metal ions within a sodium battery, will enable faster evaluation of new battery materials, and help to accelerate this type of battery's route to market.

Materials Science - Physics - 16.04.2020
Shedding light on dark traps
Shedding light on dark traps
Researchers pinpoint the origin of defects that sap the performance of next-generation solar technology. We now know what to target to bring up the performances of perovskites. Samuel Stranks A multi-institutional collaboration, co-led by scientists at the University of Cambridge and Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), has identified the source of efficiency-limiting defects in potential materials for next-generation solar cells and LEDs.

Materials Science - 03.04.2020
Artificial fog helps lasers shine brighter
Artificial fog helps lasers shine brighter
Laser-based lights could replace lightbulbs thanks to an artificial 'fog' that scatters laser light, producing high brightness at low power. The new and improved laser-based lights could be used anywhere from indoor lighting and projectors to car headlights and outdoor floodlights. As they produce high brightness at low power, they would be more energy-efficient than regular lightbulbs or LEDs.

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