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Iowa State University

Materials

Meta-skin could lead to invisibility cloak

Engineers at Iowa State University may have gotten one step closer to the ability to make objects invisible with the development of what they are calling a flexible, stretchable and tunable meta-skin. They have shown that objects wrapped in the meta-skin can suppress radar detection, and they are hoping to advance the material to eventually make objects undetectable to both visible and infrared light.Read More

Pets

Titanium-alloy legs keep disabled cat mobile

When Vincent was found abandoned as a kitten, he had no hind legs below what would be considered his shinbones. But thanks to the kindness of strangers, some titanium implants and the skills of a veterinary orthopedic surgeon, Vincent can now walk on all fours ... albeit not with the grace of a normal feline.Read More

Science

Pneumatic micro-tentacles can grab delicate objects as small as ants

If you had to grasp a tiny delicate object such as a blood vessel, doing so with traditional tweezers would be a very painstaking process – just a little too much pressure, and the object could be crushed. Instead, scientists from Iowa State University have developed miniature coiling tentacles for doing the job. They're even capable of holding an ant without harming it.Read More

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 & 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

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