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Alternative Materials

World's Lightest Solid Unveiled

A material that is 100 times lighter than styrofoam has been produced by scientists from the University of California, Irvine and viagra 50 the California Institute of Technology. The unnamed new material is made with nickel phosphorous in a nanoscale lattice. It is 99.99 percent air.

This material is even lighter than silica aerogel, and weighs just 0.9mg per cubic centimeter. The announced plans for the material include use for battery electrodes and for acoustic- and vibration-dampening applications. But there will doubtless be other applications that other materials engineers will find for this material.

The techniques used to generic levitra for sale fashion superlightweight materials may eventually be applicable for use with other materials. Even though there isn't an immediate green tech application for this material doesn't mean that it isn't interesting.

image credit: Dan Little, HRL Laboratories LLC

via: Architect Magazine


Making Natural Gas from Sunlight

Producing natural gas from wastewater and sunlight sounds like an idealized fuel production scenario, and that is just what a company called HyperSolar is claiming to be able to do.

Unlike many other companies making fuel using microorganisms, the HyperSolar process is designed to mimic photosynthesis with a nanomaterial. Hydrogen is produced at normal pressure, and then reacted with injected CO2 to produce methane.

Sunlight activates the nanomaterial particles and produces a charge which allows the particle to release hydrogen from the water. The process can even use untreated wastewater as a feedstock, and will produce clean water along with the natural gas.

This kind of natural gas would, of course, be preferable to fossil natural gas, since it would use already freed CO2 and leave the sequestered fossil carbon undisturbed. Moreover, it would serve as a source of natural gas without the need for controversial extraction methods like fracking.

Because the process takes place at normal pressure and temperature, it is less expensive than other systems that require large capital investments for the special equipment needed for their processes.


Whey Protein Transformed into Sustainable Food Packaging

Whey protein, a milk protein that is a byproduct of cheese production, is often used in protein bars and shakes, but scientists in Barcelona have discovered that it can also be made into a more sustainable plastic for food packaging.

The WheyLayer project was funded by the European Commission to find an alternative to petroleum sources in food packaging.  Through this project, research company IRIS found that whey protein could replace synthetic petroleum-based polymers.  The whey protein plastic has similar oxygen-blocking properties to traditional food packaging, but it's cheaper to make and, even better, more easily recyclable.

Traditional plastic packaging is hard to recycle because the petroleum-based polymers are almost impossible to separate for individual recycling, but with the whey protein plastic, the whey can be removed with enzymes so that the viagra discount drug remaining film can be recycled or reused in new packaging.

This process also keeps the 40 percent of buy viagra from china whey protein discarded by European cheese factories out of landfills.

via Earth911



Plastic Made from Fish Scales

Erik de Laurens, a student from the Royal College of Art has come up with an alternative to petroleum for making plastic: fish scales. Through a process that involves nothing but heat, high pressure and natural dyes, Laurens developed a sturdy plastic that can be used in cups, eyewear and even decorative tiles.

Much like using the keratin from waste chicken feathers to make plastics, Laurens' process makes use of waste fish scales from the fishing industry, giving new life to something that would otherwise end up in the garbage. And while the thought of waste fish scales is kind of gross, the resulting products are actually really good looking.

Titled Fish Feast, his project will be on exhibit during the London Design Festival. It has been shortlisted for the 2011 Sustain RCA Award, which honors graduate student work in sustainable design.

via Crisp Green


Nanocomposite Material Is Strengthened by Repeated Stress

A new nanocomposite material discovered by researchers at Rice University has the intriguing property of getting stronger from repeated stress. The material is made from verticaly aligned nanotubes combined with polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), an inert, rubbery polymer. After repeated compression (3.5 million cycles over a period of about a week), the material was found to be 12 percent stiffer than its original state.

Commercial possibilities for the material may not be immediately evident, but the viagra medicare uk research is intriguing. If the properties in this material can be understood, there may be applications for larger scale uses, such as for construction. Products that are subject to vibrational stresses may also be aided by materials like this which improve in stiffness over time.


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