Physicists build circuit that generates clean, limitless power from graphene

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A team of University of Arkansas physicists has successfully developed a circuit capable of capturing graphene’s thermal motion and converting it into an electrical current.

“An energy-harvesting circuit based on graphene could be incorporated into a chip to provide clean, limitless, low-voltage power for small devices or sensors,” said Paul Thibado, professor of physics and lead researcher in the discovery.

The findings, published in the journal Physical Review E, are proof of a theory the physicists developed at the U of A three years ago that freestanding graphene—a single layer of carbon atoms—ripples and buckles in a way that holds promise for energy harvesting.

The idea of harvesting energy from graphene is controversial because it refutes physicist Richard Feynman’s well-known assertion that the thermal motion of atoms, known as Brownian motion, cannot do work. Thibado’s team found that at room temperature the thermal motion of graphene does in fact induce an alternating current (AC) in a circuit, an achievement thought to be impossible.

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Harvesting Solar Energy from Pavement to Melt Ice & Power Streetlights!

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What a perfect energy solution for our cold winters!

The heat radiating off roadways has long been a factor in explaining why city temperatures are often considerably warmer than nearby suburban or rural areas. Now a team of engineering researchers from the University of Rhode Island is examining methods of harvesting that solar energy to melt ice, power streetlights, illuminate signs, heat buildings and potentially use it for many other purposes. Continue reading… “Harvesting Solar Energy from Pavement to Melt Ice & Power Streetlights!”

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Atoms and Molecules: Using Magnetic Toys as Inspiration, Researchers Tease out Structures of Self-Assembled Clusters

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Rendering of various cluster shapes.

Scientists have long studied how atoms and molecules structure themselves into intricate clusters. Unlocking the design secrets of Nature offers lessons in engineering artificial systems that could self-assemble into any desired form.

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Robo-bats With Metal Muscles May Be Next Generation Of Remote Control Flyers

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The skeleton of the robotic bat uses shape-memory metal alloy that is super-elastic for the joints, and smart materials that respond to electric current for the muscular system.

Tiny flying machines can be used for everything from indoor surveillance to exploring collapsed buildings, but simply making smaller versions of planes and helicopters doesn’t work very well. Instead, researchers at North Carolina State University are mimicking nature’s small flyers – and developing robotic bats that offer increased maneuverability and performance.

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Bacteria Cause Old Buildings To Feel Off-color

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Stop taking pictures  of my house! The bacteria is my pet!

The assumption that time, weather, and pollution are what cause buildings to decline is only partly true. Bacteria are also responsible for the ageing of buildings and monuments – a process known as biodeterioration, where organisms change the properties of materials through their vital activities.

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New Process Promises Bigger, Better Diamond Crystals

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As Big as your car!  no not really

Researchers at the Carnegie Institution have developed a new technique for improving the properties of diamonds—not only adding sparkle to gemstones, but also simplifying the process of making high-quality diamond for scalpel blades, electronic components, even quantum computers.

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