News

Electricity Generator Mimics Trees

The biomimetic tree's leaves, modeled after cottonwood leaves, rely on piezoelectrical processes to produce electricity. (Photo by Christopher Gannon) Iowa State University scientists have built a device that mimics the branches and leaves of a cottonwood tree and generates electricity when its artificial leaves sway in the wind. The device is derived from biomimetics, or the use of artificial means to mimic natural processes. Such biomimetic technology could become a market for those who want to generate limited amounts of wind energy without the need for tall and obstructive towers or turbines.

Posted in: News, Energy Efficiency, Wind Power

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Energy Management System Cuts Hybrid Fuel Consumption by One-Third

Xuewei Qi and a team of UCR researchers are using vehicle connectivity and evolutionary algorithms to improve the efficiency of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Engineers at the University of California, Riverside have taken inspiration from biological evolution and the energy savings garnered by birds flying in formation to improve the efficiency of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) by more than 30 percent.

Posted in: News, Energy Efficiency

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Light-Absorbent Material Keeps Buildings Cool

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have created a thin, flexible, light-absorbing material that absorbs more than 87 percent of near-infrared light. The technology could someday support the development of solar cells; transparent window coatings to keep cars and buildings cool; and lightweight shields that block thermal detection.

Posted in: News, Materials

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Data Logger Aids in Development of New Vehicles

A new data logger developed by Fraunhofer researchers simultaneously collects data from vehicles with combustion engines, electric drives, external sensors, and location data, and permits the development of new hybrid and electric vehicles. Once installed in a car, it records all the relevant operational data from the trips the car makes over a period of several weeks or months, enabling evaluation of how a car is used, including characteristics such as route profiles or driving style – when does the driver drive more cautiously, when more aggressively?

Posted in: News, Monitoring, Test & Measurement

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High-Altitude Radiation Tests Will Protect Airline Travelers

The RaD-X payload ascended into the stratosphere to measure cosmic radiation coming from the Sun and interstellar space. (NASA) Imagine you’re sitting on an airplane cruising at 36,000 feet. Just above you, high-energy particles, called cosmic rays, are zooming in from outer space. While we are largely protected from this radiation on the ground, up in the thin atmosphere of the stratosphere, these particles can affect humans and electronics alike.

Posted in: News, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

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Researchers Build Solar-Powered Water Purifier

Using low-cost materials, academics from the University of Buffalo developed a solar-powered water purifier. The device could help to address global drinking water shortages, especially in developing areas and regions affected by natural disasters.

Posted in: News, Recycling Technologies

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Researchers Create Metallic Hydrogen

Nearly a century after it was theorized, scientists from Harvard University have created the first-ever sample of one of the rarest materials on the planet: metallic hydrogen. The atomic metallic hydrogen has a potentially wide range of applications, including as a room-temperature superconductor.

Posted in: News, Materials, Metals

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