Archive for the ‘chemistry’ category: Page 3

Sep 1, 2021

Using liquid metal to turn motion into electricity, even underwater

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy, engineering

Researchers at North Carolina State University have created a soft and stretchable device that converts movement into electricity and can work in wet environments.

“Mechanical energy—such as the kinetic energy of wind, waves, and vibrations from motors—is abundant,” says Michael Dickey, corresponding author of a paper on the work and Camille & Henry Dreyfus Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State. “We have created a that can turn this type of mechanical motion into . And one of its remarkable attributes is that it works perfectly well underwater.”

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Aug 31, 2021

Genes can respond to coded information in signals —or filter them out entirely

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, engineering

Genes can respond to coded information in signals—or filter them out entirely.

New research from North Carolina State University demonstrates that genes are capable of identifying and responding to coded information in light signals, as well as filtering out some signals entirely. The study shows how a single mechanism can trigger different behaviors from the same gene—and has applications in the biotechnology sector.

“The fundamental idea here is that you can encode information in the dynamics of a signal that a gene is receiving,” says Albert Keung, corresponding author of a paper on the work and an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State. “So, rather than a signal simply being present or absent, the way in which the signal is being presented matters.”

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Aug 31, 2021

Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ contaminate indoor air at worrying levels, study finds

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, food

Science from industry, federal agencies and independent researchers now links 6:2 FTOH to kidney disease, cancer, neurological damage, developmental problems, mottled teeth and autoimmune disorders, while researchers also found higher mortality rates among young animals and human mothers exposed to the chemicals.

Experts previously considered food and water to be the two main routes by which humans are exposed to PFAS, but the study’s authors note that many humans spend about 90% of their time indoors, and the findings suggest that breathing in the chemicals probably represents a third significant exposure route.

“It’s an underestimated and potentially important source of exposure to PFAS,” said Tom Bruton, a co-author and senior scientist at Green Science.

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Aug 31, 2021

Synthetic biology enables microbes to build muscle

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, chemistry

Would you wear clothing made of muscle fibers? Use them to tie your shoes or even wear them as a belt? It may sound a bit odd, but if those fibers could endure more energy before breaking than cotton, silk, nylon, or even Kevlar, then why not?

Don’t worry, this muscle could be produced without harming a single animal.

Researchers at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a synthetic chemistry approach to polymerize proteins inside of engineered microbes. This enabled the microbes to produce the high molecular weight muscle protein, titin, which was then spun into fibers.

Aug 31, 2021

Flexible carbon nanotube fibers woven into clothing gather accurate EKG, heart rate

Posted by in categories: chemistry, nanotechnology

There’s no need to don uncomfortable smartwatches or chest straps to monitor your heart if your comfy shirt can do a better job.

That’s the idea behind “” developed by a Rice University lab, which employed its conductive nanotube thread to weave functionality into regular apparel.

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Aug 31, 2021

Smart ‘E-Skin’ Identifies Your Movements

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering, nanotechnology, wearables

Technion scientists have created a wearable motion sensor capable of identifying movements such as bending and twisting. This smart ‘e-skin’ was produced using a highly stretchable electronic material, which essentially forms an electronic skin capable of recognizing the range of movement human joints normally make, with up to half a degree precision.

This breakthrough is the result of collaborative work between researchers from different fields in the Laboratory for Nanomaterial-Based Devices, headed by Professor Hossam Haick from the Technion Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering. It was recently published in Advanced Materials and was featured on the journal’s cover.

This wearable motion sensor, which senses bending and twisting, can be applied in healthcare and manufacturing.

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Aug 30, 2021

Moon-in-a-jar recreates the hazy atmosphere of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon

Posted by in categories: chemistry, space

Scientists recreated the unique chemical conditions found on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, in tiny glass cylinders here on Earth, and the experiment revealed previously unknown features of the moon’s mineral makeup.

Aug 30, 2021

Experimental chlorine battery holds 6 times more charge than lithium-ion

Posted by in categories: chemistry, mobile phones

Stanford University scientists experimenting with a decades-old, single-use battery architecture have developed of a new version that is not only rechargeable, but offers around six times the capacity of today’s lithium-ion solutions. The breakthrough hinges on the stabilization of volatile chlorine reactions within the device, and could one day provide the basis for high-performance batteries that power smartphones for a week at a time.

The new battery is described as an alkali metal-chlorine battery, and is based on chemistry that first emerged in the 1970s called lithium-thionyl chloride. These batteries are highly regarded for their high energy density, but rely on highly reactive chlorine that makes them unsuitable for anything other than a single use.

In a regular rechargeable battery, the electrons travel from one side to the other during discharging and then are reverted back to their original form as the battery is recharged. In this case, however, the sodium chloride or lithium chloride is converted to chlorine, which is too reactive to be converted back to chloride with any great efficiency.

Aug 28, 2021

COVID-19: What you need to know about SARS-CoV-2 variants

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, evolution, genetics, health

Mutations are a part of life. Every time a virus replicates, there is a chance that its genetic code won’t be copied accurately. These typos travel inside new virus particles as they leave one body and move on to infect the next. Some of these mutations die out; others survive and circulate widely. Some mutations are harmless; others increase infectivity or allow a virus to better escape the immune system—that’s when public health bodies might deem that strain a variant of concern.

Swaps or deletions of single amino acids can change the shapes of different proteins. Mutations can happen in any of the proteins of SARS-CoV-2, and these may change the virus’s properties. Many of the worrisome mutations are found on the spike protein, as it is the target of antibody treatments and is mimicked by the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines. Researchers are especially troubled when typos occur in two parts of the spike protein—the N-terminal domain, which is at the beginning of the protein and which some antibodies target, and the receptor-binding domain (RBD), which grabs hold of ACE2 receptors on human cells and starts the process of infection.

To understand how specific mutations affect the structure and function of the spike protein and what those changes mean for treatments and vaccines, C&EN talked to Priyamvada Acharya, Rory Henderson, and Sophie Gobeil at Duke University. With colleagues, these researchers have combined biochemical assays, cryo-electron microscopy, and modeling to show how the mutations seen in the variants of concern work together to change the stability of the spike protein. The spike is a trimer of three identical protein strands folded and interwoven together. Before the virus has infected a cell, the spike takes on two conformations: a down state, in which the RBD is hidden, and an up state, in which the RBD faces out, ready to bind to ACE2. The team found that different mutations can increase binding in different ways. This process, in which similar features are arrived at independently, is called convergent evolution.

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Aug 28, 2021

Effect of electric fertilizer on soil properties

Posted by in category: chemistry

Circa 2004

Electric fertilizer, i. e. exerting electric field on plants during growing season instead of chemical fertilizer, is a kind of physical fertilizer, and the third kind of fertilizer with developmental prospect after inorganic fertilizer and organic fertilizer. For the purpose of studying the changes of physical and chemical properties of soil after exerting electric field, five treatments with different applications of chemical fertilizer were arranged on the black soil in Yushu City of Jilin Province by randomized block method, and electric field was exerted on plants every ten days during the growing season. Through sample analysis the paper arrives at following conclusions: 1) Exerting electric field can make soil’s granular structure increase, bulk density decrease, moisture capacity increase, thus improving the perviousness of soil.

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