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DLC-coated plowshare (Image: Martin Horner/Fraunhofer IWM)

Plows are one of the most basic agricultural implements and have been in use for thousands of years. In that time they’ve evolved from simple ox-drawn scratch plows consisting of a frame holding a vertical wooden stick dragged through the topsoil – which are still used in many parts of the world – to tractor-mounted plows that can have as many as 18 moldboards. The evolution of the humble plow looks set to continue with Fraunhofer scientists working on diamond-like carbon (DLC)-coated plowshares that would slide through the soil like a hot knife through butter, thereby requiring less fuel.  Read More

The graphene coating, seen above as a dark blue patch connected to gold contacts, generate...

Hydroelectricity is the most widely used form of renewable energy, supplying around 20 percent of the world’s electricity in 2006, which accounted for about 88 percent of electricity from renewable sources. Now researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to harvest energy from flowing water using a nanoengineered graphene coating. The new technology only produces small amounts of electricity so isn’t aimed at large scale electricity production, but rather at self-powered microsensors to be used in oil exploration.  Read More

The University of Georgia has developed a permanent spray-on antibacterial coating, that c...

A University of Georgia chemist has invented something that should be a boon to both hospital staff and athletes ... a permanent spray-on antibacterial polymer coating. It can be applied to natural and synthetic materials – just once – and even after repeated washings, will continue to kill a wide range of bacteria, yeasts and molds. In health care settings, it could be used on textiles such as lab coats, scrub suits, uniforms, gowns, gloves and linens, to protect patients from infections. It could also be used on athletic wear, along with shoes, socks, undergarments, and just about anything else that tends to get germy.  Read More

Two newly-developed coatings could protect the jet engines of airliners from the harmful e...

Following last April’s historic eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland, commercial flights were cancelled within most of Europe for several days – it was the largest disruption of air travel since the Second World War. Well, while no one is suggesting that airliners could now merrily fly right through clouds of ash, researchers from Ohio State University (OSU) have developed a coating that they say could allow jet engines to better withstand small amounts of volcanic ash that are ingested over time.  Read More

Researchers have developed what they say is the world's first-ever permanent anti-fog coat...

Tired of your glasses fogging up on cold days, or of having to spit in your dive mask before putting it on? Those hassles may become a thing of the past, as researchers from Quebec City’s Université Laval have developed what they claim is the world’s first permanent anti-fog coating. Just one application is said to work indefinitely on eyeglasses, windshields, camera lenses, or any other transparent glass or plastic surface.  Read More

Scientists have coated paper with silver nanoparticles, to create a 'killer paper' packagi...

Silver is a known killer of harmful bacteria, and has already been incorporated into things such as antibacterial keyboards, washing machines, water filters, and plastic coatings for medical devices. Now, scientists have added another potential product to the list: silver nanoparticle-impregnated “killer paper" packaging, that could help keep food from spoiling.  Read More

How humans see the Bird-Protection Glass (left) and how birds see it (right)

Someone has apparently crunched the numbers and estimated that more than 100 million birds are killed every year due to collisions with glass surfaces – not to mention the untold numbers of beverages spilt by surprised people as a bird slams into a nearby window. Birds see the tree or sky reflected in a window or the environment behind the glazing, but not the glass itself. German company Glaswerke Arnold (or Arnold Glass) has come up with a simple way to prevent these collisions by producing a glass that appears normal to humans but is visible to birds.  Read More

Solar power plant at Nellis Air Force Base

Deserts are the obvious locations for solar power plants. The land is cheap and the sunshine is plentiful. Unfortunately so too is the dust, dirt and wind that leads to dirty solar panels that can take a big hit in efficiency. Sending a guy around with a squeegee in the sweltering heat doesn’t sound like the best job in the world and self-cleaning systems that rely on water aren’t always an option in areas where clean water is hard to come by. Another solution is self-dusting solar panels that are cleaned by an electric charge provided by the solar panels themselves. The self-dusting solar panels are based on technology developed for another dry and dusty environment – Mars.  Read More

Scanning electron microscopy image of nanocomposite film (Image: Rensselaer/Ravindra C.Pan...

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the bacteria responsible for antibiotic resistant infections, poses a serious problem in hospitals, where patients with open wounds, invasive devices and weakened immune systems are at greater risk of infection than the general public. In a move that could significantly reduce this risk, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created a nanoscale coating for surgical equipment, hospital walls, and other surfaces which safely eradicates MRSA.  Read More

Zinc oxide coatings on copper or aluminum substrates has proven the best heat dissipation ...

In a finding that could well revolutionize cooling technology as we know it, researchers at Oregon State University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have discovered a way to achieve near-optimal heat dissipation by applying a nanostructured coating. Because of performance, versatility and economy of materials used, their method could soon lead to better electronics, heating and air conditioning.  Read More

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