Helping the nanotechnology industry avoid repeating past mistakes

Research into the environmental and health risks associated with nanotechnology tends to focus on end product toxicology, and until now there have been no detailed studies of toxic by-products from nanomaterial synthesis. New research at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Massachusetts Institute of Technology aims to help the nanotechnology industry avoid the kind of […]

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Are nanofluids really as cool as some make them out to be?

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Politecnico di Milano have confirmed what others have said about the hype surrounding nanofluids. That is, the liquids do not have the theoretical cooling capabilities claimed by some. Colloidal suspensions of nanoparticles were first produced in the early 1990s, and early experiments showed that they […]

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Nano-boric acid makes engine oil more slippery

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have found that nanoscale particles of boric acid can significantly improve the lubricity of engine oils, and thereby increase energy efficiency. Boric acid is mostly used as a mild antiseptic and eye wash, but it has been known for some years that microscopic particles of […]

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Harvest Home 2007

Harvest home, harvest home! We’ve plowed, we’ve sowed, We’ve reaped, we’ve mowed. And brought safe home Every load. Traditional song for the Autumn Equinox

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EU pumps money into nanotech, but where are the results?

Here’s an interesting factoid: As part of the European Union’s 6th Framework Programme, €1.4 billion is allocated to nanoscience and technology. That makes the EU the world’s largest public funder of all things “nano”. So what have we got to show for all this European public investment? Every fortnight I write for a science and […]

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Well-travelled godwit – no carbon offset required

A female godwit has been tracked from her summertime home in New Zealand to a breeding ground in Alaska – and then back again. It took the bird just over eight days to fly the 11,500 kilometres of the return leg from Alaska. Nonstop.

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England advances by furlongs per fortnight

Along with the European Commission I couldn’t give a monkey’s whether you quote your weight in kilogrammes, stones or, in this age of burgeoning obesity, London buses. And if you fancy a paahnd of bananas, far be it from me to complain. Any greengrocer with a gramme of sense will know what you mean, even […]

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EPA – too little, too late on nanomaterial risks

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program has recently come under fire from scientific and policy experts for its inconsistency and lack of regulatory teeth. Now joining the chorus of critics is Environmental Defense, a science and economics-centred advocacy group founded in the late 1960s as part of a campaign against the pesticide […]

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Sensing skin could reveal cracks in bridges

A new sensing skin for bridges, buildings and aeroplanes developed by engineers at the University of Michigan could prevent disasters similar to the recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis. Bridges undergo regular testing for cracks, corrosion and other damage, but even rigorous visual inspection might not catch all potential problems. The ideal would be for materials […]

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Music of the rocks

By way of AlphaGalileo I learn of a concert in London this evening that will feature a piano sonata inspired by the geology and coastline of Antarctica. The music of composer and pianist Kevin Jones is, we are told, “…largely derived from the crystal shapes and textures revealed through imaging rock samples collected recently by […]

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