New Lightweight Material From MIT Scientists is Stronger Than Steel and as Light as Plastic:
Polymer film courtesy of the researchers; Christine Daniloff, MIT
Using a novel polymerization process, MIT chemical engineers have created a new material that is stronger than steel and as light as plastic, and can be easily manufactured in large quantities. Such a material could be used as a lightweight, durable coating for car parts or cell phones, or as a building material for bridges or other structures, says Michael Strano, the senior author of the new study. The new material is a two-dimensional polymer that self-assembles into sheets, unlike all other polymers, which form one-dimensional, spaghetti-like chains. Polymers, which include all plastics, consist of chains of building blocks called monomers. These chains grow by adding new molecules onto their ends. Once formed, polymers can be shaped into three-dimensional objects, such as water bottles, using injection molding. Not only this but this new polymer was found to be six times stronger than bulletproof glass and because of its seamless stacked structure, it does not allow any gasses to seep through.
Climate hopes as scientists in the UK set fusion record:
File picture showing Prince Charles visiting the control room at the Joint European Torus (JET) experiment near Oxford, where scientists say they have broken a record for nuclear fusion.
Scientists in Britain announced Wednesday they had smashed a previous record for generating fusion energy, hailing it as a "milestone" on the path towards cheap, clean power and a cooler planet. A team at the Joint European Torus (JET) facility near Oxford in central England generated 59 megajoules of energy for five seconds during an experiment in December, more than doubling a 1997 record, the UK Atomic Energy Authority said. That is about the power needed to power 35,000 homes for the same period of time, five seconds, said JET's head of operations, Joe Milnes. The donut-shaped machine used for the experiments is called a tokamak, and the JET site is the largest operational one in the world. The machine itself superheats very small quantities of deuterium and tritium to create plasma. Then using magnets that spin around the device the materials are fused, creating a massive amount of energy. This process, unlike nuclear plants, is safe and Pound for pound (gram for gram) the device releases nearly four million times more energy than burning coal, oil, or gas.
The quantum ‘boomerang’ effect has been seen for the first time:
In the quantum boomerang effect, particles return to their starting positions, on average, after a nudge. A new experiment (shown) demonstrates a version of the effect using lithium atoms. Credit: Tony Mastres
Physicists have confirmed a theoretically predicted phenomenon called the quantum boomerang effect. An experiment reveals that, after being given a nudge, particles in certain materials return to their starting points, on average, researchers report in a paper accepted in Physical Review X. Thee theory states that Particles can boomerang if they’re in a material that has lots of disorder such as when atoms are missing or misaligned, or other types of atoms sprinkled throughout. Electron localization which is caused by disorder such as this can cause materials to cease to conduct electricity and is also necessary for the boomerang effect to take place. Weld and colleagues demonstrated this effect using ultracold lithium atoms as stand-ins for the electrons. Instead of looking for atoms returning to their original position, the team studied the analogous situation for momentum, because that was relatively straightforward to create in the lab. The atoms were initially stationary, but after being given kicks from lasers to give them momenta, the atoms returned, on average, to their original standstill states, making a momentum boomerang. They also found that if the timing of the kickoff was changed while the effect was taking place, it stopped which further confirmed the theory.