Copper foam turns CO2 into useful chemicals

Brown University researchers reported the development of a copper foam which could turn CO2 into useful chemicals such as formic acid – a preservative and antibacterial agent in livestock feed. As CO2 emissions continue to grow, scientists are trying to find potential uses to it. The problem with carbon dioxide is that it is extremely stable, so breaking it and

A new method for filtering light coming from a specific direction

Using only material geometry and interference patterns, MIT researchers have devised a novel way of passing light of any colour only if it comes from a specific angle. Light coming from other directions will be reflected, something which can be desirable in certain applications. Those who could benefit immediately from the findings are solar photovoltaics, detectors for telescopes and microscopes, and

Synthetic muscle made from nylon is 100 times stronger than human muscle

Sometimes, I come across stories or various research that make me wonder “why the heck hasn’t anyone else thought of this before?” We should be grateful, nevertheless, that researchers from University of Texas at Dallas have found a way to manufacture artificial muscle that is up to 100 times stronger than the flimsy tissue that makes up the human biceps.

4D printing may pave way for a new kind of smart materials

A team of scientists, part of a collaborative effort involving multiple Universities from the U.S., are proposing to take 3D printing one step further by adding a new dimension – time. Their work involves building a new class of materials that can morph, change their physical properties and functionality over time based on external stimuli by exploiting the high precision

Carbon capture of the future might turn CO2 into construction materials

We all know that CO2 dumped in the atmosphere (consequences in the ocean, where the most carbon winds up actually are even dire  – i.e. ocean acidification) causes global warming through what’s commonly referred to as the greenhouse gas effect. Governments and various environmental panels have through out the years issued various policies meant on curbing emissions. Ironically, however, greenhouse

New anti-fragile plastic becomes stronger every time it’s stressed

Say hello to drop-proof smartphones and whole new generation of plastic products that will be far more durable and strong than their present counterparts. Scientists at Duke University recently unveiled their most recent, stunning work: a new type of polymer that seems to contradict common knowledge and re-arranges its chemical structure each time its under stress, say a mechanical shock.

Breakthrough could usher away silicon and make way for graphene transistors

Time and time again we’ve hailed on ZME Science the cultural and scientific advances graphene is about to bring to humanity. It’s the strongest material known so far, while also being the lightest, it can be magnetic and – something of uttermost important to science – it’s the best electrical conductor that we know of.  The latter also comes with

Atomic structure of bone deciphered for the first time

Bone is a really awesome material, being hard and flexible at the same time. For something so ubiquitous and studied for so long, it might come as a surprise to some of you to hear that the molecular bone structure of bone has alluded scientists for such a long while. This is because, even though the constituent elements that make up bone have

Topological insulator super-material found in nature too

Researchers have demonstrated for the first time the existence of a naturally occurring topological insulator – an exotic class of materials that possesses the unique ability to conduct electricity and the surface, but not on the inside. Previously, topological insulators have been studied and created in labs only, however now a mineral has been found that acts as one. Moreover,

Graphene can multiply light, demonstrating new immense energy potential

We’ve never shun away from praising the almost miraculous properties of graphene, the wonder material set to become even more paradigm shifting than plastic. Graphene has found been found to have the potential to revolutionize a myriad of scientific fields, from genetics, to electronics, to nanotech, to security, to just about anything you could think of. The energy sector, however, might be one

Silicon robot hops 30 times its own height using combustion

Researchers at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have developed a three-legged silicon robot that uses chemical reactions to help it leap up to 30 times its own height. Combustion is typically used in hard systems like internal combustion engines where the heat generated by the chemical reaction can be withstood, but this latest demo proves that the material can withstand high

Superomniphobic material can avoid any stain – repels almost any liquid

Scientists have developed a new surface, which they call  “superomniphobic”, that can repel virtually any liquid, even the most troublesome like blood or highly concentrated acids. Their findings brings us a step closer to manufacturing stain-proof, spill-proof clothing, protective garments and other products. Currently there is a wide range of clothing and garments that are water proof and offer protection against some spills, but even

3D-Printed Fractal structures are ultralight and extrastrong

  Remember fractals? Those incredible structures that arise from the apparent random variability of both the mathematical and the real universe. A few years after prof. Mandelbrot published his work on what he defined as fractals, swarms of ideas exploded in the minds of scientist: they turned out to be an astonishing revelation in understanding the structure of the universe –

Butterfly wings inspire high-tech self-cleaning surfaces

Common to Central and South America, the Blue Morpho is an iconic butterfly, prized for its brilliant blue color and iridescence. Beyond its beauty, however, scientists have discovered that its wings have a certain microscopic texture that could benefit a wide range of applications from self-cleaning instruments, to more efficient piping. For example, the researchers were able to clean up

New polymer aerogels might become the wonder insulating material

Since they were first invented in 1931, aerogels have become widely used in the industry, mostly for insulation purposes, thanks to their low thermal conductivity and light weight. Traditional silica aerogels, however, are brittle and obtuse, typically unsuited for applications where flexing of the material would occur. A novel class of polymer aerogels seeks to fix most of these inconveniences, after scientists

Graphene layered in 3D crystal structure might allow for electronics revolution

It seems scientists have yet to draw the line on where graphene, man’s greatest material ever discovered, ceases to amazes with its new abilities, since apparently new properties and uses for the carbon allotrope are found constantly. Most of the contributions come from University of Manchester, where the material has been recognized for its true history-shaping potential and where a state-of-the-art National

Graphene sheets can repair themselves naturally

Graphene is one of the most phenomenal materials discovered in science. It’s so thin, it can be molded into sheets just 1 atom thick, yet despite this, it’s so strong that you can actually pick it up. It has the highest current density (a million times that of copper) at room temperature, the highest intrinsic mobility (100 times more than in

First single RGB laser devised using quantum dots

Most digital devices today, like displays or blue-ray disks, use lasers which emit the colors red, green and blue, which when combined can render any color in the visible spectrum of light. However, current technology requires a separate laser for each color, since they produce monochromatic light. A team of researchers at Brown University has successfully managed to produce a

Scientists manage to derive semiconductor from graphene – huge implications for electronics industry

Graphene has been countless times hailed as the material at the forefront of the coming technological leaps ahead in the future, thanks to its extraordinary properties and countless applications. Electronics is where graphene shines the most, though, and now scientists at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have managed to synthesize a semiconductor variant of graphene which might lead to a whole new generation

Scientists turn hydrogen into metal

For years and years scientists have tried to make hydrogen exhibit metal properties, by experimentally proving what’s already been more or less acknowledged in theory. Hydrogen is an alkali metal, and under the right circumstances it can be fooled  into becoming a metal. These “right” circumstances have yet to be found, until recently when a pair of scientists from the Max-Planck