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— Science

Adding liquids to solids could make them stronger – and more useful

Liquids are softer than solids, so incorporating droplets of a liquid into a solid will always make it weaker ... right? Actually, no. Scientists at Yale University have discovered that if the drops are just the right size, they can actually make the solid stiffer. Their findings could pave the way for composite materials that use liquids for added optical or electrical functionality, yet that don't compromise strength. Read More
— Science

Superhydrophobic coating allows water to boil without bubbles

You know that thing that water does when it boils? The thing with the bubbles? Turns out, it doesn't really need to do that at all, with scientists finding a way to make boiling water a completely bubble-free zone. Researchers from Northwestern University, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia and Melbourne University in Australia teamed up to prevent water from bubbling when it boils by using tiny spheres coated with a hydrophobic material. Read More
— Science

Laser scanner may allow passengers to take bottled drinks on planes again

Besides having to remove our shoes, the volume limitations regarding liquids and gels in carry-on baggage has become a major hassle in the world of post 9-11 airport security. Hopefully, however, we may soon be able to once again bring our big bottles of water and tubes of toothpaste aboard airliners in our overnight bags. Britain’s Cobalt Light Systems has developed a scanner called the INSIGHT100, that uses laser light to assess the liquid contents of containers, even if those containers are opaque. Read More
— Science

Synthetic kitty litter ingredient could have many other applications

Cat litter might not seem like a particularly exotic substance, but it contains a mineral known as sepiolite, which is actually rather remarkable. Mined from only a few sources worldwide, sepiolite is a type of clay that absorbs 2.5 times its weight in water - that's more absorbent than any other known mineral, or any manmade material. This is made possible by its crystalline structure, that maximizes the amount of internal surface area available for soaking up liquids ... such as cat pee. Recently, an international team of scientists have obtained X-ray diffraction microscope images of sepiolite for the first time. Using the information provided by those images, a cheaper, easier-to-source synthetic version of the mineral could be created, and used in everything from batteries to food. Read More
— Outdoors

Arzum shows Termotwin double reservoir vacuum flask

If you’re into camping but miss your creature comforts, you’re going to love Arzum’s Termotwin, which was on display at IFA 2010. It’s a vacuum flask that consists of two separate reservoirs that keep liquids at the same temperature for up to four hours – so milk and coffee or brewed tea and hot water (or I’m thinking maybe rum and cola!) are ready when you are. Now that’s good thinking. Read More
— Automotive

All-electric Ford Focus to use liquid cooled/heated lithium-ion battery system

One of the downsides of the lithium-ion battery systems used in electric vehicles is that their performance, reliability, safety and durability can be negatively affected by extreme temperatures. When the all-new Ford Focus Electric debuts later this year in the U.S. it will be powered by a lithium-ion battery – no news there. What is interesting, however, is that the battery system will use cooled and heated liquid to regulate battery temperature, which should extend battery life and maximize driving range. Read More
— Science

Setting droplets on a one-way street has huge implications

By creating specific kinds of tiny structures on a material’s surface MIT researchers have made a liquid spread only in a single direction. While this may not appear to be a momentous breakthrough it has important implications for a wide variety of technologies, including micro-arrays for medical research, inkjet printers and digital lab-on-a-chip systems. Up until now the designers of such devices could only control how much the liquid would spread out over a surface, not which way it would go. This new system changes that. Read More
— Around The Home

Nanopool says the case is clear for spray-on glass

Yep, you read it right, spray-on glass. It could revolutionize the fields of agriculture, medicine, fashion, transportation - really, it would be easier to list where it might not be applicable. The remarkable product, called Liquid Glass, was developed by the German nano-tech firm Nanopool GmbH. Their patented process, known as “SiO2 ultra thin layering” involves extracting silica molecules from quartz sand, adding them to water or ethanol, and then... well, they won’t tell us what they do next, but the end result is a 100 nanometer-thick, clear, flexible, breathable coating that can be applied to almost any surface. We’re told that there are no added nano-particles, resins or additives - the coating is formed using quantum forces. The possible uses are endless. Read More