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Science

Low-cost, durable, lightweight battery made from paper

By dipping an ordinary piece of paper into ink infused with carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires, scientists have been able to create a low-cost battery or supercapacitor that is ultra-lightweight, bendable and very durable. The paper can be crumpled, folded or even soaked in acidic or basic solutions and still will work.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Nanosized drug delivery systems take a leap forward

Blood vessels that supply tumors are more porous than normal vessels, makes nanoscale drug delivery systems a particularly attractive prospect. If properly engineered, nanoparticles can in fact get inside a tumor, targeting it precisely and allowing much higher drug dosages as they reduce side effects to a minimum. Two recent studies featured in the latest issue of the journal Nature Materials specifically address these issues and give us promising leads in the fight against cancer.Read More

Science

Nano-particle coating prevents ice buildup on roads and power lines

Like most things, ice can be a blessing or a burden depending on the circumstances. It’s perfect crushed in a drink on a hot summer’s day, but can wreak havoc when it collects on roads, power lines and aircraft in freezing temperatures. A University of Pittsburgh-led team has found a way to reduce these dangers by developing a nanoparticle-based coating that can be easily applied to impede the buildup of ice on solid surfaces.Read More

Science

Glass casting meets the digital age: 3-D glass printing method developed

A team of engineers and artists at the University of Washington's Solheim Rapid Manufacturing Laboratory has revived an ancient Egyptian glass casting method and developed "Vitraglyphic," a technique to manufacture glass objects from fine glass powder using computer-aided design and a 3-D printer, paving the way for a significantly faster and cheaper method for artists, architects and designers to build high-precision prototypes.Read More

Space

Lotus leaf inspires dust-busting shield for space gear

Finding inspiration from nature in order to refine and advance modern technologies is nothing new; Mercedes’ bionic car was an interesting example and we’ve also seen a new ‘smart fabric’ based on the design of pine cones. Perhaps one of the most inspiring species, certainly in the plant world, is the lotus, which has already contributed to the development of fog-free windscreens and other surfaces along with improving the efficiency of solar cells. Now NASA is looking to the Lotus Leaf to develop a non-stick surface for use on spaceflight equipment.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Sugar-coating nanoparticles to tempt cancer cells brings dual benefits

Researchers believe nanoparticles hold the promise of battling cancer without the damaging side effects of chemotherapy or radiation treatment. They have discovered that coating minuscule balls of iron oxide with sugar molecules not only makes them particularly attractive to resource-hungry cancer cells, it also makes them more effective by allowing them to get close to each other, but not too close to render treatment ineffective. Read More

Science

Graffiti-proofing our history

Graffiti is not only ugly, it costs society millions of dollars to remove it. But graffiti on historic landmarks is worse because it often can't be removed using basic caustic solutions without damage to the underlying surface. Now a new, breathable coating could help preserve some of our most beautiful and priceless links to the past by providing them with an efficient, all-round protection against attacks by taggers.Read More

Electronics

Algae used to create a quick-charge, lightweight battery

Algae blooms are unpleasant and unpredictable phenomena that arise quickly and strike seas and oceans, often causing serious problems to local ecosystems. But, in an effort to try and find a use for such algae, a research team from Uppsala University, Sweden, has recently managed to design a record-breaking "green" lightweight battery that is incredibly easy to produce and might just even out the environmental consequences of these blooms.Read More

Electronics

Tests on reducing glare and fingerprints from touch screen devices

Big touch screens, like those used on smart phones and portable media devices, are great … unless the sun is out. Then the glare can be a killer, rendering some devices next to useless. Scientists have developed a test for analyzing reflection-resistant coatings to make using touch screen devices easier. The research also includes defining a better smudge-resistant coating to deter ugly fingerprints and scratches from screens and surfaces.Read More

Science

Self-healing paint is just the beginning

Human skin has an amazing capacity to heal itself from scratches and cuts, so it’s not surprising that scientists are looking at transferring the self-healing properties of skin to industrial materials. Efforts to embed tiny liquid-filled capsules that rupture when a scratch occurs to spill healing agents into the damaged area of electroplated coatings have previously been hampered by the size of these capsules. But now researchers have developed a process for producing electroplated layers with nano-capsules that measure only a few hundred nanometers in diameter that could solve the problem.Read More

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