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Category: Chemical Engineering

Weighing in on the origin of heavy elements — ScienceDaily

A long-held mystery in the field of nuclear physics is why the universe is composed of the specific materials we see around us. In other words, why is it made of “this” stuff and not other stuff? Specifically of interest are the physical processes responsible for producing heavy elements — like gold, platinum and uranium — that are thought to happen during neutron star mergers and explosive stellar events. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory…

Electric jolt to carbon makes better water purifier — ScienceDaily

Nagoya University scientists have developed a one-step fabrication process that improves the ability of nanocarbons to remove toxic heavy metal ions from water. The findings, published in the journal ACS Applied Nano Materials, could aid efforts to improve universal access to clean water. Various nanocarbons are being studied and used for purifying water and wastewater by adsorbing dyes, gases, organic compounds and toxic metal ions. These nanocarbons can adsorb heavy metal ions, like lead and mercury, onto their surfaces through…

New techniques allow tracking millisecond voltage changes, calcium signaling in awake mice — ScienceDaily

Electrical and chemical signals flash through our brains constantly as we move through the world, but it would take a high-speed camera and a window into the brain to capture their fleeting paths. University of California, Berkeley, investigators have now built such a camera: a microscope that can image the brain of an alert mouse 1,000 times a second, recording for the first time the passage of millisecond electrical pulses through neurons. “This is really exciting, because we are now…

First-time direct proof of chemical reactions in particulates — ScienceDaily

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have developed a new method to analyse particulate matter more precisely than ever before. With its help, they disproved an established doctrine: that molecules in aerosols undergo no further chemical transformations because they are enclosed in other suspended particulate matter. In the smog chamber at PSI, they analysed chemical compounds directly in aerosols and observed how molecules dissociated and thus released, for example, gaseous formic acid into the atmosphere. These findings will help…

The triple-stranded molecule may help put chemistry’s holy grail in reach — ScienceDaily

Enzymes are nature’s powerhouses. Found in the cells of all animals, plants, and every other living organism, they accelerate the chemical reactions that trigger thousands of biological functions — from forming neurons to digesting food. They perform their jobs so selectively and so quickly — millions of times faster than a blink of the eye — that the field of biomimetic chemistry has emerged over the past few decades with the goal of designing artificial enzymes that can mimic the…

Engineering Interns Gain Skills on NextGen Site

Mizzou Engineering interns (l-r) Bryan McClure, Madie Churchill, Morgan Hanley and Jacob Reed pose for a group shot at the NextGen Precision Health Institute construction site. Four Mizzou Engineering students are currently working as interns on the construction site of the NextGen Precision Health Institute located near University Hospital on the MU campus. The students say their internships provide an opportunity to put into practice what they have learned in the classroom, or give them a chance to learn new…

New type of indoor solar cells for smart connected devices — ScienceDaily

In a future where most things in our everyday life are connected through the internet, devices and sensors will need to run without wires or batteries. In a new article in Chemical Science, researchers from Uppsala University present a new type of dye-sensitised solar cells that harvest light from indoor lamps. The Internet of Things, or IoT, refers to a network of physical devices and applications connected through the internet. It is estimated that by 2025, many facets of our…

Metal-organic frameworks can separate gases despite the presence of water — ScienceDaily

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are promising materials for inexpensive and less energy-intensive gas separation even in the presence of impurities such as water. Experimental analyses of the performance of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for the separation of propane and propene under real-world conditions revealed that the most commonly used theory to predict the selectivity does not yield accurate estimates, and also that water as an impurity does not have a detrimental effect on the material’s performance. Short chain hydrocarbons are produced in…

Defects in Cathodes Could Improve Battery Performance

Engineers are in search of the perfect battery, one that will give smartphones longer-operating times, let electric vehicles drive for hundreds of miles on a single charge and let utilities and consumers store renewable energy for future use. One approach to the battery problem is by improving one of its components, the cathode. To date, the typical way to improve cathodes has been to adjust their chemical composition. But now, chemists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National…

Directed Light Shrinks Li-ion Battery Recharge Time

With so much attention on reducing the recharge time of lithium-based batteries, researchers are exploring novel, if perhaps impractical, approaches and “accelerants.” It’s not a matter of how much current the charging source can deliver, but how fast the chemical reaction within the cell that constitutes recharging can occur. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have tested a scheme in which light is directed at the cell while charging—and it cuts the charge time by…