So far in engineering realms, only Dyneema has given steel materials a run for their money. Now integrated into an everyday backpack, Dyneema is pushing researchers to develop more industrial-strength products. With sustainable options on the rise, wood is the first to make its way up the ladder. Owing it entirely to science, a newly developed “super wood” is 10 times stronger than its normal counterpart.
“It is as strong as steel, but six times lighter. It takes 10 times more energy to fracture than natural wood. It can even be bent and moulded at the beginning of the process.”
The magic behind it is a simple treatment and heated compression process. Super wood will likely wriggle its way into buildings and even vehicles, as the material is practically bulletproof.
“It is particularly exciting to note that the method is versatile for various species of wood and fairly easy to implement,” says engineering scientist Huajian Gao.
The affordable process that requires no more than various liquids and most any type of wood is truly inventive. I wouldn’t mind an indestructible rocker in my living room to save on furniture expenses.
In its last-ditch effort to combat smog with air-purifying bicycles, China has moved onto greater endeavors. Ensuing a promise to plant an Ireland-sized forest, Shaanxi province is tackling air pollution head-on with a giant air purifier.
The system works through greenhouses covering about half the size of a soccer field around the base of the tower.
Polluted air is sucked into the glasshouses and heated up by solar energy. The hot air then rises through the tower and passes through multiple layers of cleaning filters.
Since its recent launch, the 100-meter edifice has produced over 10 million cubic meters of clean air. As one of the most heavily-polluted regions in China, Xian is the perfect guinea pig for purifying technology. The gargantuan spire is still experimental, but may soon swarm the nation.
“It barely requires any power input throughout daylight hours. The idea has worked very well in the test run,” [said head of research Cao Junji.]
Cao’s full-size tower will span 500 meters. If its dwarfed prototype remains as promising as it seems, sunset-gazing in China may just become a popular weekend activity.
Medical e-skin sensors have made it easier and more affordable to detect illnesses. Devices such as nanochips have made treating these illnesses even simpler. Still, not every health condition is easy to pick up. To rule out melanoma, students from McMaster University have created Skan, which uses heat to test for skin cancer.
It works using a series of thermistors, which are inexpensive and highly accurate temperature sensors, to detect the temperature response of a patch of skin to sudden cooling.
The readings are then processed by an algorithm that uses time, temperature, and spacial readings to create a heat map, and show any spots with heat irregularities that could be a melanoma.
It is important to tackle melanomas in their early stages as they metabolize faster than normal cells. But as with most outdated technology, current detection apparatuses cost more than an arm and a leg.
There are already detection methods using thermal imaging, but they currently use thermal imaging cameras that cost upwards of $26,000.
Estimates project Skan to cost $1,000, truly a fraction of the price of traditional machines. Considering how quickly survival rates drop when melanoma gets its way, investing in Skan may be the way to go.
There is no denying that climate change is a curse — but, in a way, also a blessing. Recurring heat waves have allowed bright minds to find alternative sources of energy, making the most of traffic and laptop batteries. Now, startup SkyCool wants to help homeowners save on electricity bills with an air conditioning system that beams heat into space.
Objects on earth give off heat in the form of an invisible type of light called infrared radiation. Emissions in the mid-infrared range of eight and 13 micrometers slip through the atmosphere and into the cool lower layers of space.
SkyCool invented a material that can take advantage of this natural occurrence. The material… radiates infrared light within the eight to 13 micrometer range. It also reflects 97 percent of sunlight, which prevents sun’s warmth from offsetting the effect.
The material, which is fitted over pipes, can save buildings up to 70% off air conditioning fees. Not only is it a dream cost-wise — it can lower carbon emissions, 10% of which arise from cooling systems worldwide. Word on the street is that SkyCool will be tending to potential customers by next year. Here’s to hoping construction costs are as cool as the actual product.
Looking for ways to conserve energy is now one of our top priorities. The more reusable, the better. Bakers at Pizza On Earth seem to have found the perfect way to make the most out of their brick ovens. They use leftover heat to bake St. John’s most delicious bagels.
The bagels are baked in the morning using the residual heat in the oven from the previous evening’s pizza-making; this means that they’re essentially baked with waste heat, no new wood required.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even know this was possible! The process itself is simple and efficient.
While still wet from boiling, the bagels are tossed in sesame or poppy seeds or left plain. Then they’re baked in the oven, which measures 450 F, despite it being more than 12 hours since the last pizza came out.
Now that’s a hot oven. Apparently, sales at Pizza On Earth have since skyrocketed, and I’m not surprised. If these clever bakers are finding ways to maximize energy use, I’m pretty sure we can too.
If you’ve ever attended an all-girls Catholic private school, the one-inch-above-the-knee rule is about as real as you can get. Your dress determined your principles, and if you were a millimeter of par, you may as well have been publicly shunned. While I didn’t exactly have the guts to protest my long, itchy skirt against a horde of nuns, these schoolboys from Isca Academy in Exter sure did.
School boys from the Isca Academy in Exeter opposed to their school’s no-shorts policy responded by showing up in the school’s dress code-approved (but reserved for girls) tartan skirts.
For the last five days British citizens have suffered through a sizzling heatwave, and yesterday’s temperature beat record for the hottest day in 41 years.
The skirt-wearing demonstration was prompted by call center agent Joey Barge who, after breaking office dress code by wearing shorts, returned the next day in a dress code-approved dress. As incredible acts should, Joey’s endeavor went viral.
The Exeter boys’ protest encouraged headteacher Aimee Mitchell to adjust the dress-code policy accordingly.
“Shorts are not currently part of our uniform for boys, and I would not want to make any changes without consulting both students and their families,” she said. “However, with hotter weather becoming more normal, I would be happy to consider a change for the future.”
With summer easing in, wear out all the shorts in your wardrobe. And in the process, maybe break some gender constructs too.