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Category: Chemical Engineering

Avoiding food contamination with a durable coating for hard surfaces

Eduardo Torres Dominguez, who is pursuing a doctorate in chemical engineering in the MU College of Engineering, lead the study. Dominguez is also a Fulbright scholar. In the future, a durable coating could help keep food-contact surfaces clean in the food processing industry, including in meat processing plants. A new study from a team of University of Missouri engineers and food scientists demonstrates that the coating — made from titanium dioxide — is capable of eliminating foodborne germs, such as…

Software suite expedites reproducible computer simulations

Complex molecular simulations support advancements in multiple fields. Vanderbilt engineers developed MoSDeF, Molecular Simulation and Design Framework, to make such research easily reproducible. The open-source software suite is available at mosdef.org. Science moves forward when researchers verify their and others’ results. “Reproducibility in scientific research is a prominent issue, and molecular simulations, which play an important role in many subfields of science and engineering, pose particular computational challenges,” said Peter Cummings, associate dean for research and John R. Hall Professor…

Cyclohexasilane as a Novel Source for SiC Power Electronics

Silicon carbide (SiC) has gained increased attention from both advanced materials developers and the investment community. But as is the case with most emerging technologies, there’s tremendous room for market adoption and utilization in next-generation electronics. Many in the semiconductor space know that SiC wafers are more complex than traditional silicon wafers, but its properties are better suited for industrial applications, specifically power electronics. The manufacturing pivot to SiC has already begun, most recently reflected by STMicroelectronics, a multinational electronics…

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…