C&EN Senior Business Editor Melody Voith notes that friction, the heat produced when objects rub together, wastes fuel in engines and other machinery and causes their parts to wear and eventually break down.
One in every 10 gallons of gasoline in the average car goes to overcoming friction in the engine — about 1.4 million barrels of oil wasted per day or almost $31 billion worth of fuel (at $60 per barrel) lost every year.
But the article describes how high-tech lubricants and additives now in development could vastly reduce the effect of friction and improve energy efficiency in everything from car engines to power-generating wind turbines. That could improve the fuel economy of cars by 3-5 percent, according to one estimate.
Scientists are also trying to reduce wear on engine and machine parts, one of the consequences of increased friction, by designing tougher materials that can better withstand extreme heat and other harsh conditions.
One promising approach is the use of nanoparticles — super-strong particles just 1/50,000th the width of a human hair — to coat engine parts and make them more slippery.
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
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On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
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19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy