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Chocolate-coated biscuits moving through a cooling channel (Photo: Fraunhofer IVV)

As anyone who has taken a candy bar out of a car glovebox on a hot day can tell you, heat is not a friend to chocolate. And it's not just a matter of discovering that a tasty snack has become a gooey mess. It can also mean going for a nice choccy biccy only to find the chocolate coated with an unappetizing white film. It isn't a mold, it isn't unhealthy, and it doesn't affect the taste, but it is unpleasant and bakers and chocolatiers would rather do without it. To make mid-morning snacks a bit less harrowing, scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute have studied the phenomenon and have come up with the answer for what causes the film to form and how to prevent it.  Read More

Pulsar uses nuclear magnetic resonance to differentiate between horse meat and beef

Although eating horse meat is normal in many parts of the world, in other places, such as Britain, it rates almost on the same level as eating the family dog. So when it was discovered last year that horse meat was being passed off as beef, it literally put a lot of people off their dinner. To prevent a repeat of the episode, the Institute of Food Research (IFR) in Norwich and Oxford Instruments have developed a portable detector that can differentiate between horse meat and beef in about 10 minutes, yet is inexpensive and simple to use.  Read More

Researchers from the University of Carlos III in Madrid have created a new frictionless tr...

A new transmission device that uses magnetic levitation to almost completely eliminate friction and wear has been developed as part of the MAGDRIVE research project, a collaboration of seven European nations we looked at back in 2010. The creation of the unit entailed the development of a magnetic gear reducer and corresponding frictionless magnetic axles. Aimed primarily for use in spacecraft due to its extended mechanical life, the system is also adaptable for use in automobiles, railways, and aircraft.  Read More

A fan of conductive clay? (Photo: Drexel University)

Researchers at Drexel University have hit upon a conductive clay which they claim is an "exceptionally viable candidate" to one day replace the electrode materials used in batteries and supercapacitors. Sure, another day another super material, but MXene, as it's called, does boast some rather intriguing properties.  Read More

Michał Dąbrowski, Radek Chrapkiewicz and Wojciech Wasilewski at FUW have created an atomic...

The technologies made possible by breakthroughs in quantum physics have already provided the means of quantum cryptography, and are gradually paving the way toward powerful, practical, everyday quantum computers, and even quantum teleportation. Unfortunately, without corresponding atomic memories to appropriately store quantum-specific information, the myriad possibilities of these technologies are becoming increasingly difficult to advance. To help address this problem, scientists from the University of Warsaw (FUW) claim to have developed an atomic memory that has both exceptional memory properties and a construction elegant in its simplicity.  Read More

Sawdust can be converted into a fuel additive – among other things – using a new chemical ...

This is science at its best: Decades ago, the only practical use for sawdust was to soak up vomit, but thanks to scientists at a Belgian university who developed a new chemical process, that same sawdust could soon be used to create gasoline and other products normally derived from petroleum.  Read More

According to researchers, Blu-ray disc patterns markedly improve the efficiency of solar c...

Blu-ray discs have proven themselves superior to DVDs as storage media in light of their high capacity, high definition, and higher transfer rate. Now researchers claim that Blu-ray discs have one more advantage over DVDs: they also have the ability to help markedly improve the efficiency of solar cells, when their etched information patterns are repurposed for use as light concentrators.  Read More

Metamaterials negate the properties of the so-called aberrating layers, allowing ultrasoun...

Score another point for metamaterials. Researchers at North Carolina State University have designed complementary metamaterials that will aid medical professionals and engineers in diagnosing problems under the skin. These metamaterials are structured to account for so-called "aberrating layers" that block or distort the acoustic waves used in ultrasounds, making it possible to now conduct ultrasounds of a person's head or an airplane's wing – among other things.  Read More

A view through the channels of the new zeolite-type allotrope of silicon (Image: Timothy S...

You probably wouldn't be reading this if it weren't for silicon. It's the second most-abundant element in the Earth's crust as well as the key to modern technology – used in the integrated circuits that power such electronics as computers, mobile phones, and even some toasters and refrigerators. It's also used in compound form in building, ceramics, breast implants, and many other areas. And now the ubiquitous element may have a plethora of new applications, thanks to a team of Carnegie scientists who synthesized an allotrope (new/different physical form) with the chemical formula Si24.  Read More

New research shows that the sound emitted by fish tags can make them more likely to become...

Tagging fish offers scientists new ways of learning about their movements, growth and methods of survival. While this helps in conservation efforts, new research suggests it may in fact be having an adverse effect, with the sounds emitted by the tags alerting predators to the fish's location and where to hunt for their next meal.  Read More

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