News

NASA System Would Enable Unmanned Aircraft to Fly in US Airspace

NASA, working with government and industry partners, is testing a system that would make it possible for unmanned aircraft to fly routine operations in United States airspace. The tests engage the core air traffic infrastructure and supporting software components through a live and virtual environment to demonstrate how an autonomous aircraft interacts with air traffic controllers and other air traffic.

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Jet Contrails Affect Ground Temperatures and Climate

High in the sky where the cirrus ice crystal clouds form, jet contrails draw their crisscross patterns. Now researchers have found that these elevated ice cloud trails can influence temperatures on the ground and affect local climate.

Posted in: News, Aerospace

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Material That Mimics Owl Wings Could Make Planes Quieter

A newly designed material that mimics the wing structure of owls could help make wind turbines, computer fans, and planes much quieter. Early wind tunnel tests of the coating have shown a substantial reduction in noise without any noticeable effect on aerodynamics.(Credit: m01229)

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New Nanowires Absorb Light

Harvard University scientists have created nanowires with new useful properties. The wire not only absorbs light at specific wavelengths, but also light from other parts of the spectrum. The technology could have applications in areas ranging from consumer electronics to solar panels.

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Nanogenerator Harvests Power from Rolling Tires

A group of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers and a collaborator from China have developed a nanogenerator that harvests energy from a car's rolling tire friction. The technology ultimately could provide automobile manufacturers with a new way to reuse energy and provide greater vehicle efficiency.

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Diamond-Like Coating Application Improves Engine Components

Applying carbon coatings to engine components, such as piston rings and pins, reduces friction and lowers fuel consumption. Using a new laser-based method, researchers at Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Munich, Germany, say they can now produce layers of carbon that are almost as hard as diamond. The team of researchers have created hydrogen-free tetrahedral amorphous carbon coatings of up to 20 micrometers, which, they say, are more resistant to wear than conventional diamond-like coatings.

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Researchers Prevent Fires in Next-Gen Lithium Batteries

New research from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, CA, could help remove a major barrier to developing lithium-sulfur and lithium-air batteries. The SLAC engineering team discovered that adding two chemicals to a lithium metal battery's electrolyte prevents the formation of dendrites, “fingers” of lithium that pierce the barrier between the battery’s halves and cause electrical shorts, overheating, and fires. The engineers discovered that adding both chemicals, in specific amounts, stopped lithium dendrite formation and the lithium metal electrode acquired a stable protective coating that improved the battery’s performance.

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