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Nanomaterials

The nanomaterial-based unmanned Piranha USV boat is now a reality, and threatens to redefi...

You've heard of UAVs, unmanned remote controlled military aircraft; but what about USVs? Standing for Unmanned Surface Vehicle, a USV is quite simply an unmanned boat, like Zyvex Marine's Piranha concept. We've looked at USVs before, and the Piranha specifically in early 2010; but what was then a prototype under development is now a fully-fledged production craft, having shipped its first unit last November. "Our production facility is closer to rocket science than traditional boat building," says Zyvex Marine VP Byron Nutley of his boat - the only one in the world, it's claimed, that is made out of nanomaterials. But does the Piranha have the technological bite to match the hyperbole, and what does this mean for naval warfare?  Read More

The new micro-lattice material is so light that it can sit atop dandelion fluff without da...

Researchers have created a new metallic material that they claim is the world’s lightest solid material. With a density of just 0.9 mg/cm3 the material is around 100 times lighter than Styrofoam and lighter than the "multiwalled carbon nanotube (MCNT) aerogel" - also dubbed "frozen smoke" – with a density of 4 mg/cm3 that we looked at earlier this year. Despite being 99.99 percent open volume, the new material boasts impressive strength and energy absorption, making it potentially useful for a range of applications.  Read More

A new technique could help reveal how nanoparticles, such as these titanium oxide nanotube...

At the nanoscale chemistry is different and nanoparticles don’t behave like normal particles. Nanoparticles tend to be more chemically reactive than ordinary-sized particles of the same material, making it hard to predict how they will act under different conditions and raising serious questions about the use of such particles – particularly inside the human body. Researchers have now developed a method for predicting the ways nanoparticles will interact with biological systems – including the human body – that could improve human and environmental safety in the handling on nanomaterials, and have applications for drug delivery.  Read More

Sewage plants like this could soon be soon be self-sufficient in terms of energy usage (Im...

While much of the focus on renewable electricity production focuses on green alternatives, a team of engineers at Oregon State University is looking at ways to improve electricity production from a “brown” source – namely sewage. The engineers found that using new coatings on the anodes of microbial electrochemical cells they were able to increase the electricity production from sewage about 20 times.  Read More

Are we rushing to embrace the potential benefits of nanotechnology without considering the...

We talk a lot about the wonders of nanotechnology here at Gizmag. After all it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement surround the technology when it promises to revolutionize practically every area of human endeavor. Among its long list of anticipated benefits are new medical treatments; stronger, lighter materials; improved energy production, storage and transmission; and more effective pollution monitoring and prevention, just to name a few. But nanotechnology is not just something set to come about in some far off future – it is happening now. In fact, the odds are there is a product either containing, or made using nanoparticles sitting in your house right now. But the big question is, are they safe?  Read More

Researcher Bing Hu paints a small square of ordinary paper with an ink that will deposit n...

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

Samples of novel nanocomposite materials tha will be mounted to the hull of the space stat...

If you think the weather at your place is bad there’s no way it can compare with “space weather.” The International Space Station (ISS), which travels at about 27,700 kph (17,212 mph), is exposed to extreme levels of ultraviolet radiation and temperatures ranging from -40 to 60 degrees Celsius (-40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit). These extreme conditions might not make for great holiday weather, but it does provide a good way to test the performance of new nanomaterials. That’s why samples of new nanocomposites - including an improved form of Teflon - will be mounted onto the ISS’s outer hull in a Passive Experiment Carrier (PEC), and exposed to the rigors of outer space.  Read More

Lead researchers Shana Kelley and Ted Sargent with the cancer detecting microchips

Because the signature biomarkers that indicate the presence of cancer at the cellular level are generally present only at low levels in biological samples, detecting them is a procedure that usually takes days and involves a room filled with computers. Now researchers have used nanomaterials to develop a microchip small enough to fit in a device the size of a mobile phone, and sensitive enough to do the job in 30 minutes.  Read More

Chemical engineering Professor Brian Korgel tests one of his printed solar cells

Cheaper solar cells – roughly one-tenth the cost of current day prices – could be available within three to five years thanks to a manufacturing procedure that uses nanoparticle ‘inks’ to print them like newspaper or to spray-paint them onto the sides of buildings or rooftops. Even windows could become solar cells thanks to the semi-transparent inks. 'Painting' solar cells on buildings has been an idea in the making for some time – Gizmag investigated the possibilities of 'solar paint' in 2008.  Read More

An 'odako' bundle with trailing nanotubes

Researchers at Houston’s Rice University have developed a method for making bundles of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) dubbed “odako”. Eventually, the method may realize meter-long strands of nanotubes that are no wider than a piece of DNA which could be used in lightweight, super-efficient power-transmission lines, in ultra-strong and lightning-resistant materials for airplanes, and may also prove useful in batteries, fuel cells and microelectronics.  Read More

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