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.
Array of superlenses

Metamaterials for magnifying superlenses

Materials World magazine
Advances in the field of magnifying superlenses have been reported by two separate US research teams. Conventional lenses are limited by the diffraction limit of light, which prevents high resolution imaging of features smaller than its wavelengths. The new superlenses are made from metamaterials designed to capture the evanescent waves that exist close to the surface of an object.

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.

De Montfort Medal recognises early-career research scientists

Materials World magazine
Yi Zhang, a PhD student from the Materials Science and Metallurgy department at the University of Cambridge, UK, won the De Montfort Medal, top prize in a poster competition which recognises Britain’s Top Early-Career Research Scientists, Engineers and Technologists. Zhang has helped divise a method for enhancing the plasticity of metalic glasses.

New ‘flat’ optical fible

Materials World magazine
Researchers at the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at Southampton, UK, have developed a novel ‘flat’ optical fibre to provide a simple and inexpensive approach to creating flexible optical devices. They hope it will facilitate mechanical flexibility and enable light to be manipulated for remote sensing or long-haul communications.