Technology (category filter × )

Scientists produce rare diamonds in minutes at room temperature
  • They used a device called diamond anvil cell to apply 640-elephant equivalent pressure, combined with a twisting movement.
  • This generated regular and Lonsdaleite (formed at meteorite crash sites) diamonds in microscopic samples.
  • The technique might be able to create meaningful quantities of diamonds for industrial use, but it’s not quite there yet.

Iron Powder Passes First Industrial Test as Renewable, Carbon Dioxide-Free Fuel
  • It won’t power cars or heat homes, but it could be a great alternative for industrial usage.
  • Iron powder mixed with air burns down to solid rust that can be easily captured after burning, without any other byproducts.
  • Researchers in the Netherlands have been working on this for years, and they just installed an iron powder heating system at a local brewery.
  • The cool thing is that the rust remaining after burning can be turned back into iron to be burned again - but the best way to do it is still unclear.
  • Using iron powder for industrial fuel at scale is still far from reality, but it shows promise.

Self-Watering Soil Could Transform Farming
  • A gram of this soil can extract ~3.5 grams of water from air, and 0.1 to 1 kilogram (depending on the crops) can provide enough water for 1 square meter of land.
  • The soil is infused with a super-moisture-absorbent gel, which releases water when heated.
  • During a 4-week experiment, the soil retained ~40% of the water it started with, compared to only 20% left after 1 week in normal sandy soil.
  • The creators have been working for over 2 years on “super sponge” gel-polymer hybrid materials that extract water from air and release it when heated by the sun.
  • This is just the first use of this technology, and it could potentially enable farmers to grow crops in areas where there’s no water.

A revolution in the field of energy research
  • New technology can, among other uses, produce hydrogen from water without emitting greenhouse gases, to be used industrially and for transportation.
  • Creators are studying other potential uses, including the ability to recharge batteries in seconds, or generate oxygen from space rocks for planet explorers.
  • The technology is based on an observation that some materials change properties in unusual ways when treated with microwaves compared to normal heating.
  • Microwaves accelerate electrons in ionic materials, triggering the release of oxygen molecules.
  • This technology could play a big role in the global mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

Microwaving plastic waste can generate clean hydrogen
  • New method, quicker and less energy-intensive compared to alternatives, can recover 97% of hydrogen from plastic within seconds.
  • Scientists cut up plastic into small pieces, mixed it with a catalyst of iron oxide and aluminium oxide, and blasted it with a 1000 watt microwave generator.
  • The leftover solid material was carbon nanotubes.
  • So far it was only tested in experiments with 300 grams of plastic, but larger experiments are being planned.




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