Chemistry in the News

Science Daily

Biomass heating could get a 'green' boost with the help of fungi
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 13:28:04 EDT
In colder weather, people have long been warming up around campfires and woodstoves. Lately, this idea of burning wood or other biomass for heat has surged in popularity as an alternative to using fossil fuels. Now scientists report a step toward a "greener" way to generate heat with biomass. Rather than burning it, which releases pollutants, they let fungi break it down to release heat.

With new model, buildings may 'sense' internal damage
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 12:24:09 EDT
When a truck rumbles by a building, vibrations can travel up to the structure's roof and down again, generating transient tremors through the intervening floors and beams. Now researchers have developed a computational model that makes sense of such ambient vibrations, picking out key features in the noise that give indications of a building's stability. The model may be used to monitor a building over time for signs of damage or mechanical stress.

Window into battery life for next-gen lithium cells
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 19:42:31 EDT
Dendrites, whiskers of lithium that grow inside batteries and can cause fires like those in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, are the bane of next-generation lithium batteries. While they usually spread under cover of darkness in a closed cell, a team of researchers has spied on them by cutting a window in a battery and filming the dendrites as they grew. Their work could help researchers safely take lithium batteries to the next level.

Pushing the boundaries of magnet design
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 14:28:19 EDT
For physicists, loss of magnetization in permanent magnets can be a real concern. In response, scientists created the strongest available magnet -- one offering ten times more magnetic energy than previous versions -- in 1983. These magnets are a combination of materials including rare-earth metal and so-called transition metals, and are accordingly referred to as RE-TM-B magnets.

When it comes to polymer fragility, size does matter
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 11:25:30 EDT
By combining a number of tools and techniques, a team of researchers was able to find a more complete picture of the glass transition phenomenon in polymers and to point out where the polymers differ from small molecular liquids.