Nanostructured materials, tailored to respond to various stimuli, may form the basis of more energy efficient chemical reactors by regulating reactions, momentum, and heat and mass transfer inside the plants. A consortium of three UK universities, Leeds, Bath and Glasgow, is in the early stages of developing this nanotechnology from molecular metal oxides and polymers.
A cheap but effective polymeric coating to repair damaged aircraft wires and prevent them from sparking and causing an explosion is available, says a chemist at the University of Dayton Research Institute, USA.
Applying aluminium instead of phosphorous dopant ions to optical fibre glass lasers may help manufacturers better tackle photodarkening, which reduces the lifetime of the device. This could aid materials processing where lasers are used for cutting, drilling and welding.
Ultrasonic application of clay nanoparticles to biodegradable films could enhance their barrier properties, according to US spray technology company Sono-Tek. The technique prolongs the shelf life of food and pharmaceuticals and offers the packaging industry more accurate and economical treatment.
A water barrier film that is reportedly 1,000 times more effective than other technologies on the market has been developed by researchers at the Institute of Materials Reseach and Engineering (IMRE) in Singapore. By using metal nanoparticles suspended in a monomer solvent, sensitive devices like organic light emitting diodes and solar cells could be protected from moisture damage.
Broadband speed in households could be increased by replacing copper wires with plastic optical fibres, according to the results of an EU-sponsored research project. The initiative, Paving the Optical Future with Lightning-Fast Links, has focused on making polymethyl methacrylate cost effective and capable of high data capacity for transmission, improving on glass optical fibres.