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Category: Chemical Engineering

New cathode coating extends lithium-ion battery life, boosts safety

PEDOT is coated on both primary and secondary particles of NMC cathode used in EVs. This coating protects the cathode against reactivity with electrolyte and extends the life of the battery. Credit: Argonne National Laboratory The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, in collaboration with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), has developed a new particle-level cathode coating for lithium-ion batteries meant to increase their life and safety. The idea, three years in the making, was…

First evidence of snake-like venom glands found in amphibians — ScienceDaily

Caecilians are limbless amphibians that, to the untrained eye, can be easily mistaken for snakes. Though caecilians are only distantly related to their reptilian cousins, researchers in a study appearing July 3 in the journal iScience describe specialized glands found along the teeth of the ringed caecilian (Siphonops annulatus), which have the same biological origin and possibly similar function to the venom glands of snakes. If further research can confirm that the glands contain venom, caecilians may represent the oldest…

Lab-grown ‘mini-brains’ suggest COVID-19 virus can infect human brain cells — ScienceDaily

A multidisciplinary team from two Johns Hopkins University institutions, including neurotoxicologists and virologists from the Bloomberg School of Public Health and infectious disease specialists from the school of medicine, has found that organoids (tiny tissue cultures made from human cells that simulate whole organs) known as “mini-brains” can be infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The results, which suggest that the virus can infect human brain cells, were published online June 26, 2020, in the journal ALTEX: Alternatives…

How water in the deep Earth triggers earthquakes and tsunamis — ScienceDaily

In a new study, published in the journal Nature, an international team of scientists provide the first conclusive evidence directly linking deep Earth’s water cycle and its expressions with magmatic productivity and earthquake activity. Water (H2O) and other volatiles (e.g. CO2 and sulphur) that are cycled through the deep Earth have played a key role in the evolution of our planet, including in the formation of continents, the onset of life, the concentration of mineral resources, and the distribution of…

Slow-growing rotavirus mutant reveals early steps of viral assembly — ScienceDaily

Rotavirus is responsible for more than 130,000 deaths in infants and young children younger than five years, every year. The virus causes severe, dehydrating diarrhea as it replicates in viral factories called viroplasms that form inside infected cells. Viroplasms have been difficult to study because they normally form very quickly, but a serendipitous observation led researchers at Baylor College of Medicine to uncover new insights into the formation of viroplasms. The researchers created a mutant rotavirus that unexpectedly replicated much…

Lowering atmospheric CO2 in large-scale renewable energy electrochemical process

Credit: CC0 Public Domain What if carbon dioxide (CO2), a prevalent greenhouse gas, could be transformed into higher-value fuels and chemicals using low-cost, renewable electricity? Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have been focusing on improving electrochemical routes to convert CO2, which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, into a range of value-added products. Previously, limitations in energy efficiency, scalability, product selectivity, and production rate (the rate at which electrons transfer, measured in the form of current…

Adhesive film turns smartwatch into biochemical health monitoring system

Credit: University of California, Los Angeles UCLA engineers have designed a thin adhesive film that could upgrade a consumer smartwatch into a powerful health-monitoring system. The system looks for chemical indicators found in sweat to give a real-time snapshot of what’s happening inside the body. A study detailing the technology was published in the journal of Science Advances. Smartwatches can already help keep track of how far you’ve walked, how much you’ve slept and your heart rate. Newer models even…

Chemistry behind bombardier beetle’s extraordinary firepower — ScienceDaily

If you want to see one of the wonders of the natural world, just startle a bombardier beetle. But be careful: when the beetles are scared, they flood an internal chamber with a complex cocktail of aromatic chemicals, triggering a cascade of chemical reactions that detonates the fluid and sends it shooting out of the insect’s spray nozzle in a machine-gun-like pulse of toxic, scalding-hot vapor. The explosive, high-pressure burst of noxious chemicals doesn’t harm the beetle, but it stains…

Researchers shed light on new enzymatic reaction — ScienceDaily

Researchers have identified key ingredients for producing high-value chemical compounds in an environmentally friendly fashion: repurposed enzymes, curiosity, and a little bit of light. A paper published in Nature describes a study led by Xiaoqiang Huang (pictured), a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB). Huang works in the lab of ChBE Professor Huimin Zhao, Conversion Theme Leader at the Center…

In the Fight to Contain COVID-19, MU Makes its Own Testing Swabs

Michael Absheer, the manager of the MU College of Engineering’s 3D printing lab, removes coronavirus testing swabs from a rack after they were cured in an infrared heating unit. A cross-campus team is manufacturing swabs so MU Health Care has an adequate supply to test patients for COVID-19. The new 3D printers at the University of Missouri College of Engineering have been given colorful nicknames, ranging from the enticing PiquantPelican to the down-and-dirty FreshSlug. The nicknames are fitting, because the…