Arsenic often appears in minerals rich in iron and sulphur, such as pyrite (fools’ gold). Scientists working as part of eMinerals, a major project funded under the Natural Environment Research Council’s e-Science programme, have found out precisely how arsenic is taken up and held in the pyrite structure and the factors likely to lead to its release. “We now know that arsenic replaces the sulphur in pyrite rather than the iron, and that pyrite is likely to dissolve more easily when arsenic is present,” says Dr Kate Wright, who worked on the project. Further work could identify ways of stabilising arsenic-containing iron sulphide rock by introducing additives that slow the rate at which it dissolves.
The eMinerals project found that a dioxin molecule will bind more strongly to clay surfaces the more chlorine atoms it contains, irrespective of the position of the chlorine atoms in the dioxin molecule. It also found that binding is stronger the greater the electrical charge on the surface. However, water competes with dioxin to bind to surfaces and, in practice, a dioxin molecule’s ability to bind to a surface is a balance between the binding strength of the dioxin to the surface, the water to the surface, and the dioxin to the water.
Both examples involved performing numerous simulations of the interactions between the different minerals in soil and rock with all the known variants of the contaminants. For example, there are 76 different variants of the dioxin molecule and numerous mineral surfaces in the environment to which they can attach, so hundreds of serious calculations are necessary.
The project has developed a grid infrastructure consisting of clusters and condor pools (including campus grids) at the collaborating institutions and resources held on the National Grid Service and the North West Grid. High performance computing resources can also be accessed for particularly large simulations if necessary.
Without access to such grid resources, researchers would have to perform all of the simulations sequentially, taking too much time to be practicable. Using the eMinerals infrastructure, they can submit all these jobs at once and see the results within a few hours. Results are automatically returned to a distributed data store with an interface that shows the files as if they are part of a single system. The data can be accessed remotely by collaborating scientists, as well as by those who originally submitted the job.
“We’re doing grid properly. We can submit hundreds of jobs from the user’s desktop to a number of different compute grids, and get the data back with metadata attached and with the analysis done - and in a state that enables collaborators to understand what the simulations are saying. We’re giving control back to the user,” says Professor Martin Dove, eMinerals principal investigator.
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03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
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