- The new knowledge explains exactly why some thermoelectric materials can have the desired low thermal conductivity without degrading the electrical properties. This can be crucial for the conversion of wasted heat, for example, from vehicle exhaust emissions.
Leading car manufacturers are now working to develop this possibility and the first models are close to production. The technology is expected to give the cars considerably improved fuel economy, explains Bo B. Iversen, Professor at iNANO at the University of Århus. The new knowledge can also contribute to the development of new cooling methods, so that one avoids the most common, but very environmentally damaging greenhouse gas (R-134a). All of which is a gain for the environment.
In the Nature Materials article the researchers have studied one of the most promising thermoelectric materials in the group of clathrates, which create crystals full of ‘nano-cages’.
- By placing a heavy atom in each nano-cage, we can reduce the crystals’ ability to conduct heat. Until now we thought that it was the heavy atoms random movements in the cages that were the cause of the poor thermal conductivity, but this has been shown to not be true, explains Asger B. Abrahamsen, senior scientist at Risø-DTU.
The researchers have used the technique of neutron scattering, which gives them opportunity to look into the material and see the atoms’ movements.
- Our data shows that, it is rather the atoms’ shared pattern of movement that determines the properties of these thermoelectric materials. A discovery that will be significant for the design of new materials that utilize energy even better, explains Kim Lefmann, associate professor at the Nano-Science Center, the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.
Rikke Bøyesen | alfa
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At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
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Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
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UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
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Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
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