Improving coal gasification and synfuel production?

Materials World magazine
A proposal for a more energy and cost efficient coal gasification and synfuel production facility has been put forward by a team of researchers at the University of Padova in Italy. The team has suggested that combustion and gasification be carried out in separate fluidised bed reactors, with an inert solid, such as sand, transferring heat between them.

Nanogold for multiple drug delivery

Materials World magazine
Exploring laser excitation of gold nanoparticles will enhance international research into these materials for controlled drug delivery, say researchers at MIT, Cambridge, USA. Gold nanorods of different shapes respond to different infrared wavelengths, enabling selective melting of the carriers and release of the various medicines attached to their surfaces.
Extruded high-strength hydroxyapatite bone impant showing pore channels with an outer dense shell

Automotive technology aids synthetic bone manufacture

Materials World magazine
In an unusual example of technology transfer, the manufacturing process for automotive catalytic converters has been applied to synthetic bone implants. Scientists at the University of Warwick, UK, claim to have developed monolith bioceramic scaffolds that combine strength and porosity for load-bearing applications, such as large fractures and spinal fusions.
Heat shields for cars made from new ceramic

Dough moulding for resilient ceramics

Materials World magazine
UK researchers have created low-cost ceramic compounds with improved thermal and impact properties by applying a fibre reinforcing technique used for polymer moulding composites. These ceramics, made from calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, and an aluminium trihydroxide hardener, could have applications in automotive heat shields or composite aircraft wings.
corn stalks

Biogas field of dreams?

Materials World magazine
German researchers are building what they say is the first-ever biogas pilot plant to run entirely on agricultural waste, while achieving 30% more biogas than previous facilities. This technique could create a sustainable source of energy that does not rely on edible materials, preventing competition for food crops and land.