Oxygen-absorbent crystals before (left) and after (right) becoming saturated with oxygen. Photo Credit: TheHigherLearning.com
71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water and, for the most part, it is unexplored by humans…until now! Scientists from the University of Southern Denmark in conjunction with the University of Sydney, Austrailia have discovered a crystalline material that is capable of absorbing oxygen from both air and water! This revolutionary material can bind and store oxygen in high concentrations then control the release time of that oxygen depending on what the user needs. The benefits to this are unquantifiable but could be especially beneficial to deep sea divers and to those suffering from respiratory ailments.
A study led by professor Christine McKenzie alongside Jonas Sundberg of the University of Southern Denmark involved about 10 liters of microscopic grains of the material and found them to be enough to suck the oxygen out of a room. Even just a few grains contain enough oxygen for a single breath and that material can even absorb and supply oxygen from water surrounding deep sea divers. The oxygen saturated material is so effective that it is comparable to 3 full pure oxygen tanks under pressure! One of the key ingredients is the metal cobalt in the material which controls the process of absorption which gives it the molecular and electrical structure to be capable of absorbing oxygen from air and water. Remarkably the absorption and releasing process can be done many times without losing the ability much like a sponge in water. The impact that this discovery will have on the medical field as well as exploration will be monumental and I look forward to it. For more information please visit: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/10/10/absorbing-crystal-can-steal-oxygen-from-air/
SBI water resistant material. Photo Credit: SBIFinishing.com
Water is definitely not a friend for materials such as metals, electronics, wood, etc. For example, when metal is submerged underwater it increases the rate of corrosion of the metal (i.e steel). So we must consider how we can fight against these negative effects the water produces against devices that are made for the water like boats. There are metals out there that are able to neglect the negative attributes of water; however some of us may not have the money to spend on corrosion resistant steel. So what has been done is to create a coating that could be placed over the metal to act as a layer to protect these metals.
There are many coatings out there today however each of these coatings may serve a different purpose. When developing vehicles or devices for underwater purposes it is important to choose a coating that provides cathodic protection. Cathodic protection is used to prevent the metal from being corroded and is usually cheaper than straight out buying corrosion resistant steel. These coatings do come in different colors so you could alter the color of the metal to your choosing. If you are worried about meeting certain specifications no need to worry. There are coatings that go through testing to ensure performance. For example, a coating called Alocit made by A&E Group was tested by the navy and it is 1 of the 3 that meets the specification for the US Army Corps of Engineers! This coating provides great resistance and adhesion. The best part about this and other coatings is that the installation is simple!
Lithium ion battery made of sand. Photo Credit: UCRToday.UCR.edu
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have created a battery using pure silicon as the anode which outperforms the current standard by more than 3 times! Graduate student Zachary Favors, and Mihrimah and Cengiz Ozkan, engineering professors at UC Riverside, are the team behind this discovery of using silicon to create these high performance batteries.
The idea for this came to Favors when he noticed that the sand on the beach of San Clemente, CA was made of primarily quartz, or silicon dioxide. Favors did some research to find where sand had a high percentage of quartz which brought him to the Cedar Creek Reservoir. The sand from this reservoir was milled down to the nanoscale and purified to a powdered sugar consistency. Ground salt and magnesium were added and the result was heated. Salt for heat absorption and magnesium to react out the oxygen to be left with only pure nanoscale silicon. This pure nanoscale silicon has a sponge-like consistency that has been proven to be the key to improving battery performance.
The purpose of this research is to create a better lithium ion battery for personal electronics and electric vehicles. Graphite is the current standard material used for the anode in batteries but electronics today require more energy than graphite can produce.
There are two problems with using silicon at the nanoscale: 1. It degrades quickly 2. It’s hard to produce in large quantities. Both of these problems are being looking into by the research team.
Think about what this means. Having to charge your phone every 3 days rather than every night. Electronic vehicles able to go out farther and for longer periods of time before coming back to be recharged. Personally I believe it’s about time some great leaps in the batteries were made. I am thankful for people like Favors and the Ozkan team that are trying to create new solutions to existing problems. For more information please visit here.
Urine Powered Generator setup Photo Credit: MakerFaireAfrica.com
A group of teenagers have brought attention to a fuel source you might not have expected. A group of four young women have designed and built a power production system that uses pee. The urine is placed in an electrolytic cell which separates the hydrogen and oxygen out of the water-containing fluid. Hydrogen is a powerful energy carrier that has shown great potential in being a future fuel but obtaining it in its purest form is difficult and expensive. The hydrogen then goes on to a water filtration phase for further purification. The next phase is a borax solution bath to remove any water vapor the hydrogen gas has picked up along the way. After this phase is complete, the hydrogen gas enters the combustion chamber which then powers the converted generator. Some electricity generated is pulled to start the process over again at the “water splitting” electrolytic cell. With this system, a liter of urine can provide up to six hours of electricity! This is a huge improvement over the 7 liters needed by gasoline to obtain the same run time.
An additional benefit to burning the cleaner hydrogen instead of traditional fuels is the zero emission of carbon monoxide. The only significant product of hydrogen combustion is water vapor and traces of nitrogen oxide (which is dangerous but still less dangerous than what is found in traditional fuel combustion.).
This kind of system can be useful in areas where traditional fuels are very expensive or hard to come by. Although a large percentage of the generated electricity is needed to separate a water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen, the reduction in harmful pollution offered by this alternative process is a great advantage.
More info at can be found here