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Iowa State University

— Electronics

Creating materials to enable "transient electronics" that dissolve on command

The advantages of durable, long-lasting electronics are well established and, indeed, desirable in electronic devices large and small. But in what scenario would you want a device to dissolve away leaving no trace? The truth is, from military to medicine, "transient electronics" has a great many potential applications. The latest research team to shift its focus to this emerging field is a group from Iowa State University, which is developing materials that can melt away when remotely triggered. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Nasal spray nanovaccine promises no pain, more gain

Vaccines save lives, but sometimes they fail to reach the people who need them most, in parts of the developing world. A research team from Iowa State University is currently developing a new generation of vaccines that uses nanotechnology, and is delivered in spray form. One of the advantages of this new type of vaccine is that is can increase access to people living in remote areas because it requires no refrigeration and is simpler to administer. Read More
— Science

Flexible, heat-dissipating parts for electronics from spider silk?

Over the years, we’ve seen Spiderman use his webbing to catch villains, swing between buildings, and even parachute from great heights. In all that time, however, the opportunity never came up for him to use it to conduct heat. As it turns out, it would have been perfect for the job. Although materials from living things generally don’t conduct heat well, a team of scientists from Iowa State University have discovered that spider silk does so 800 times better than any other organic material ever tested. Because the silk is also very strong and stretchable, it could have a number of applications in human technology. Read More
— Environment

Textured substrate increases efficiency of polymer solar cells by 20 percent

The idea of boosting the performance of solar cells by coating them with a textured substrate is commonly used in silicon-based cells. The idea is to traps more light so that it bounces around inside the cell instead of reflecting back out, but for a number of reasons, attempts to use textured substrates in polymer solar cells have failed. Now researchers from Iowa State University and the Ames Laboratory have developed a process of producing a thin and uniform light-absorbing layer on textured substrates that improves the efficiency of polymer solar cells by 20 percent. Read More
— Environment

PrISUm Team's Anthelion solar car to compete in American Solar Challenge

A team of Iowa State University students are busy putting the finishing touches to a solar-powered vehicle before setting off on a thousand mile race. Using computer-aided design and some novel engineering techniques, the students' three wheel craft weighs half that of previous creations and sports over 500 solar cells. Hopes are high for a winning result in the forthcoming American Solar Challenge. Read More
— Games

Gaming addiction: Psychological problem or social disorder?

If you’re more than partial to an evening of World of Warcraft or Call or Duty, best keep track of how many hours you’re wiling away in front of the screen. Gaming addiction is a peculiarly modern phenomena suggested by some as being just as serious as alcohol, drugs and gambling, and there are examples of gamers making themselves seriously ill, or in some rare cases, dying through malnutrition or dehydration. Following the opening of Britain’s first computer rehab clinic, Paul Lester takes a closer look at the issues surrounding gaming addiction to see if things are really as serious as they seem and if dedicated treatment is necessary. Read More
— Environment

Quantifying the benefits of biofuels

A team of researchers from the University of Washington researched the impact on soil fertility and effects on food supply when fuels based on crops such as corn and soybeans are mixed with fossil fuels. They discovered that the large amounts of energy required to grow corn and then convert it to produce ethanol had a net energy gain that was modest and that corn-based ethanol was the worst offender amongst the alternative energy fuels. Read More