Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Rust

Terahertz-frequency radiation is being used to check the integrity of automotive paint job...

Although all steel-bodied cars rust eventually, premature rusting may soon be less of a problem thanks to technology developed by father-and-son team Anis and Aunik Rahman. Their system non-destructively analyzes automobiles' paint jobs, making sure that the layers of paint have been applied properly. It could reportedly also find use diagnosing the early stages of skin cancer.  Read More

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is one of the suggested recipients of the polyfibroblast ...

According to the US Department of Defense, corrosion costs the Navy approximately US$7 billion every year. That's certainly an incentive for developing a method of keeping military vehicles from rusting. Now, researchers from the Office of Naval Research and The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory may be onto something. They're looking into the use a powder that could allow scratched or chipped paint to "heal like human skin."  Read More

The small prototype device created by researchers at EPFL

As scientists endeavor to increase the efficiency of solar panels, the challenge of storing the resultant energy cheaply and in an environmentally responsible way must also be met. To this end, researchers at Switzerland’s École polytechnique fédérale de Lausann (EPFL) have developed an inexpensive device that transforms light energy into hydrogen, for storage and later use. The new prototype makes use of sunlight, water, and metal oxides, including iron oxide – or rust.  Read More

A piece of steel treated with the graphene varnish, in front of an untreated sample

Hexavalent chromium compounds are a key ingredient in coatings used to rust-proof steel. They also happen to be carcinogenic. Researchers, therefore, have been looking for non-toxic alternatives that could be used to keep steel items from corroding. Recently, scientists from the University at Buffalo announced that they have developed such a substance. It’s a varnish that incorporates graphene, the one-atom-thick carbon sheeting material that is the thinnest and strongest substance known to exist.  Read More

Researchers have discovered a new form of micro-organism munching away at the hull of the ...

Misfortune continues to take a bite out of the world's most famous ocean liner – literally. Twenty-five years after the RMS Titanic's ocean grave was discovered a few hundred miles off the coast of Newfoundland, researchers have identified a new bacteria feeding on the great ship's hulk. The scientists believe that the new micro-organism may work with a complex variety of bacteria, which inhabit a microscopic world inside porous mounds of rusty stalactites called rusticles, to break down metal into a fine powder.  Read More

Ultimate VCI Protection bags are plastic bags which are said to keep steel tools stored in...

Fishermen, sailors, and other people who take to the sea will know how quickly and easily steel tools begin to rust in a marine environment. One method of dealing with the problem involves spraying the tools with oil before storage, then wiping them off before use. New Jersey-based company Leland Limited, however, is now offering what it describes as a simpler, more eco-friendly alternative: plastic tool-storage bags that prevent rust.  Read More

Cigarette butts contain chemicals that may keep steel from rusting

It has been estimated that every year, 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are added to the world’s ecosystem. That would be bad enough if they were simply disgusting, but when they’re left on beaches or washed down storm sewers, they can be lethal to fish. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done with the butts, other than throwing them out... until now, perhaps. Researchers from China’s Xi’an Jiaotong University claim that cigarette butts can be used to make an excellent rust inhibitor.  Read More

The sensor-transponder system Fraunhofer researchers say delivers an early warning of dang...

According to the Neil Young album title, rust never sleeps. In construction, rust damage can be insidious – especially in infrastructure like concrete bridges where rust can have fatal consequences if the steel in bridges fails. But detecting rust before it’s too late has been an ongoing challenge for engineers and scientists. Experts at the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS have developed an early-warning system for rust. By installing sensor-transponders into in the concrete to measure the extent of corrosion, engineers are being given a vital heads-up.  Read More

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