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Fiber

One and a half liters of petrol are used in the production of every cubic foot of Styrofoa...

In an age where many oil fields are in terminal decline and our dependence on petroleum reaches critical proportions, it is simply crazy that with every Styrofoam-packaged item consumers purchase, one cubed foot of Styrofoam representing 1.5 liters of petrol is thrown away. Moreover, in the U.S., Styrofoam is said to take up 25 percent of the space in landfills. A much better-sounding alternative is to use naturally-produced EcoCradle. It's created from useless agricultural by-products and mushroom roots, has all the same properties as other expandable polystyrenes (EPS), and is fully compostable.  Read More

Teijin's new lightweight firefighting suit

Japanese manufacturer Teijin, in cooperation with firefighting apparel maker Akao Co. Ltd., has announced the development of new firefighting suit that reportedly sets new world standards in both protection from extreme heat and lightweight wearability. Made from TRIPROTECH aramid fibers, Teijin's new suit consists of multiple key layers with even more clever monikers to boot, like GBARRIERLIGHT, TECHWAVE, and TECHNORA. The technical details of the layers' composition are somewhat hairy, but the upshot is that Teijin's improved aramid fibers have resulted in a firefighting suit that weights only 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) and is 60 percent more effective in preventing burns than the company's prior lightweight suits.  Read More

Bricks made for the Seville/Strathclyde study

In a collaborative study on sustainable building materials, researchers from Spain’s University of Seville and Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde have created bricks that contain sheep’s wool and a polymer derived from seaweed. Clay-based soils were provided by Scottish brick manufacturers, while the wool came from Scotland's textile industry, which produces more of the stuff than it can use. The polymer was an alginate, which occurs naturally in the cell walls of seaweed. Mixed together, the three substances resulted in bricks that were reportedly 37 percent stronger than regular unfired bricks.  Read More

MIT researchers are developing 'functional fibers' that can detect and produce sound (Imag...

We all know of optical fibers, the filaments of glass that carry data in the form of light pulses and enable the high-speed global telecommunications networks we take for granted today. For the past decade, Yoel Fink has been working at MIT to develop fibers with ever more sophisticated properties which enable fabrics to interact with their environment. Fink and his collaborators have now announced a new milestone on the path to functional fibers – fibers that can detect and produce sound.  Read More

A piece of the boron-nitride nanotube yarn

Not satisfied with your Kevlar body armor? Well, you may be in luck. American researchers have used lasers to create the world’s first practical macroscopic yarns from boron nitride fibers. The development could unlock the potential of the material for a wide variety of applications, including radiation-shielding for spacecraft, solar energy collection, and stronger body armor. If the supplied photo is anything to go by, it also does a great job at holding up a quarter.  Read More

NEPTUNE Canada: A rock fish at Folger Pinnacle

Deep-sea research is great and everything, but man, those submersibles can get pretty cramped. The other, bigger problem is that it requires going off and traveling on a ship, which is costly and can therefore only be done a few times a year. Fortunately, however, there’s now a way of obtaining real-time undersea data without leaving your office. NEPTUNE Canada, the world’s largest and most advanced cabled seafloor observatory, officially started going live to the Internet last December, giving anyone with an Internet connection free access to what will become an absolute mountain of data from the bottom of the sea.  Read More

The silica nanoparticle coating changes the surface of the wool to make it more water abso...

Already regarded as a “wonder fabric” for its lightness, softness, warmth even when wet, and other qualities, scientists from China say they have been able to improve on the natural properties of wool. They say their discovery could give wool a “brain,” placing it among other “smart” fabrics that shake off wrinkles, shrinkage and “breathe” to release perspiration.  Read More

Scientists at the University of Adelaide, Australia, have devised a way to squeeze light b...

Scientists at the University of Adelaide, Australia, have put the squeeze on light. By discovering that light within optical fibers can be squeezed into much tighter spaces than was previously believed possible, the researchers at the University's Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) have claimed a breakthrough that could change the world's thinking on light’s capabilities, especially when it comes to its use in telecommunications, such as fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), computing and other light sources.  Read More

Zhong Lin Wang holds a prototype three-dimensional solar cell that could allow PV systems ...

The photovoltaic (PV) panels adorning the rooftops of buildings around the world have become a visible sign of the shift towards environmentally friendly solar power. Now researchers have developed a new type of three-dimensional PV system using optical fiber that promises solar generators that are foldable, concealed and mobile, meaning they could be hidden from view and leave rooftops panel-free.  Read More

The principle of optical Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (oOFDM)

A new technology that applies the same principles used by ADSL to improve the capacity of data transfer over copper and wireless broadband could potentially increase the data capacity of optical fiber cables tenfold. It’s creators say the technology, known as optical Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (oOFDM), offers an inexpensive way drastically boost the capacity of increasingly strained broadband networks and improve download times around the world.  Read More

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