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Category: Chemical Engineering

Encapsulating cigarette butts cuts waste and reduces the heat island affect — ScienceDaily

Soon the footpath you walk on could be full of cigarette butts, instead of being littered with them. Trillions of cigarette butts are produced every year worldwide, with most discarded into the environment. They take ages to break down while their toxic chemical load is released into creeks, rivers and the ocean. Now a team at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, led by Dr Abbas Mohajerani has demonstrated that asphalt mixed with cigarette butts can handle heavy traffic and also…

Where there’s fire, there’s smoke — and social media — ScienceDaily

When people see smoke on the horizon, what do they do? Besides (hopefully) calling fire authorities, they post to social media, of course. The fact that people reliably flock to social media to discuss smoke and fire was the inspiration for a new study by Colorado State University atmospheric scientists. Driven to innovate ways to improve the air we breathe, the scientists have shown that social media, Facebook in this case, could prove a powerful tool. A study in Atmospheric…

New synthesis route for alternative catalysts of noble metals — ScienceDaily

Researchers have developed a new synthesis route for alternative catalysts of noble metals. Researchers have developed a new synthesis route for alternative catalysts of noble metals for versatile chemical reactions that could help address environmental concerns. Noble metals such as platinum are useful as catalysts for versatile chemical reactions including fuel cell vehicles and reduction of CO2 emission. However, they are too costly to be used for these purposes. As inexpensive alternatives, organic-based catalysts and carbonaceous catalysts were explored, but…

Crops that kill pests by shutting off their genes — ScienceDaily

Plants are among many eukaryotes that can “turn off” one or more of their genes by using a process called RNA interference to block protein translation. Researchers are now weaponizing this by engineering crops to produce specific RNA fragments that, upon ingestion by insects, initiate RNA interference to shut down a target gene essential for life or reproduction, killing or sterilizing the insects. The potential of this method is reviewed in Trends in Biotechnology‘s upcoming special issue on environmental biotechnology.…

Using magnetic resonance to evaluate food quality

The applications and benefits of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in medicine are well known, but the technology is also used in other areas such as agribusiness, where its applications include quality analysis of seeds and other products of animal and plant origin. NMR has recently reached the retail commerce sector, where it expedites the assessment of meat and fruit quality in supermarkets. Fine Instrument Technology (FIT), a Brazilian company based in São Carlos (São Paulo State, Brazil), has developed a…

Smart sensors could save lives

KAUST scientists’ disposable mobile wireless sensor nodes can be used to give early warning of industrial leaks or forest fires. Reproduced with permission from ref 1. Credit: Farooqui et al. 3-D-printed, disposable sensors capable of detecting noxious gases and changes in temperature and humidity, could revolutionize environmental monitoring. In an emergency, early warning is key to escaping from a hazard, such as a forest fire or a chemical leak. Motivated to improve on safety, a team from KAUST is using…

Colorimetric recognition of aldehydes and ketones — ScienceDaily

Vodka tastes different from brandy, and connoisseurs can distinguish among different brands of whiskeys. The flavors of spirits result from a complex bouquet of volatile compounds. New colorimetric sensor arrays on disposable test-strips read by hand-held devices allow for their rapid, inexpensive, and sensitive identification by their chemical “fingerprints.” They are based on novel sensor arrays that detect and differentiate among a diverse range of aldehydes and ketones, as reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie. Many volatile compounds can now…

Fossil site shows impact of early Jurassic’s low oxygen oceans — ScienceDaily

Using a combination of fossils and chemical markers, scientists have tracked how a period of globally low ocean-oxygen turned an Early Jurassic marine ecosystem into a stressed community inhabited by only a few species. The research was led by Rowan Martindale, an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences, and published in print in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoeconology on July 15. The study was co-authored by Martin Aberhan, a curator at the Institute for Evolution…

Study indicates concrete construction waste can help rid the air of sulfur dioxide, a major pollutant

This electron microscopy image of concrete includes a model of sulfur dioxide interactions with concrete surface – represented by the colored spheres. Credit: Marija Illoska New research reveals that sulfur dioxide, a major contributor to air pollution, is removed from the air by concrete surfaces. Stony Brook University researcher Alex Orlov, PhD, and colleagues discovered how concrete interacts and eliminates sulfur and nitrogen oxides. Their findings, published in the July edition of the Journal of Chemical Engineering, could be a…

Could concrete help solve the problem of air pollution? — ScienceDaily

New research reveals that sulfur dioxide, a major contributor to air pollution, is removed from the air by concrete surfaces. Stony Brook University researcher Alex Orlov, PhD, and colleagues discovered how concrete interacts and eliminates sulfur and nitrogen oxides. Their findings, published in the July edition of the Journal of Chemical Engineering, could be a significant step toward the practice of using waste concrete to minimize air pollution. According to the World Health Organization, as many as seven million premature…