• Natural fibre-based packaging

    Nanoclays modified with crustacean shells

    Packaging Professional magazine
    Scientists at Sheffield Hallam University, UK, have modified nanoclays with molecules from the shells of crustaceans and dispensed them in natural polymers, such as starch, to create natural fibre-based packaging a viable alternative to petroleum based-polymers. The research is part of the four-year European Sustainpack project bringing together packaging research associations, academia and industry from 13 European countries. The scheme, which is due to end in 2008, aims to encourage widespread use of biopolymers, paper and board for packaging.
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    Single-phase bulk solids heat management

    Materials World magazine
    Scientists at the IBM T J Watson Research Center and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, both in the USA, are exploring the optical and thermal electric properties of new composite materials that harness the properties of multiple semiconductors in one superlatice material using different nanocrystal combinations to be used in the recovery of waste heat.
  • Nanosight microscope indentifies nanoscale cracks

    Materials World magazine
    NanoSight Ltd, UK, has developed a method for accurately visualising individual nanoparticles for nanoscale cracks and deformities. The NanoSight LM20 uses a conventional optical microscope fitted with a specialised camera and dedicated analytical software that makes use of a technique called nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA).
  • Non-reflective coating for optical devices

    Materials World magazine
    A material that has almost the same refractive index of air has been created, by positioning low-reflective silica nanorods onto a thin film of aluminium nitrate. The result is an innovative coating that reflects virtually no light allowing researchers to potentially reduce the negative effect on the performance of optical components and devices.
  • Graphene exists in the free state

    Materials World magazine
    Scientists have attempted to prove that a 2D gauze of carbon atoms, called graphene, can exist in the free state. The material has potential for use in the manufacturing of micromechanical switches and electronic transistors, and more immediately as a substrate to aid transmission electron microscopy.
  • First soluble monoclonal nanoscale molecular imprinted polymers developed

    Materials World magazine
    Through the process of living polymerisation, researchers at Cranfield University, UK, claim to have developed the first soluble monoclonal nanoscale molecular imprinted polymers (nanoMIPs) for potential application in analytical chemistry, pharmacology, crime prevention and the food industry.
  • Self-healing anti-corrosion mechanism uses encapsulated corrosion inhibitors

    Materials World magazine
    A self-healing method for structural and functional materials developed by the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Germany, and the University of Aveiro, Portugal, combines passive barrier and active anti-corrosion mechanisms in one system. Conventional anti-corrosion silica-zirconia sol-gel film matrices are doped with ‘polyelectrolyte nanocontainers’ that release encapsulated organic corrosion inhibitors.
  • Woolly jumper

    Thin film tungsten diselenide structures with ultra-low thermal conductivities

    Materials World magazine
    Researchers at the Universities of Oregon and Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have used a modulated elemental reactant method to synthesise thin nanocrystalline WSe2 structures with the lowest ever recorded thermal conductivities for a fully dense solid. The technology may lead to improved insulation in a number of applications.
  • Scientist writing formulae

    Bumpy molecular structure improves hyperpolarisability of optical materials

    Materials World magazine
    Computer modelling techniques at Washington State University showed that varying the shape of molecules to produce a bumpy structure resulted in improved intrinsic hyperpolarisability and performance of optical materials. Studies of new molecules synthesised by a group at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have confirmed the effect.
  • X-ray microscope for imaging materials at the nanoscale

    Materials World magazine
    An X-ray microscope has been developed at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA, for quantitative and non-destructive 3D imaging of materials at the nanoscale. Applications include porous materials, semiconductors, inorganic nanostructures and biomaterials.