What happens if fog comes on roads? First of all, visibility falls down, so the risk for a car accident increases, especially on highways. Scientists from Central Aerological Observatory have constructed a special electrostatic filter, which eliminates the fog at a distance up to 10 meters. The filter looks like a metal frame with a precipitation electrode - thin metal plates, separated with high-voltage isolators. It also has a corona-forming electrode of a twisted wire. The unit is grounded with a metal net.
Current fog dissipation methods are good only for cold fogs, which appear at temperatures below zero. Warm fogs are a bit worse: they are thermodynamically stable, and it requires much energy to dissipate them. There is a good method of electrostatic fog precipitation, used on factories: fog particles caught into electrostatic field between two electrodes - corona-forming and precipitation - acquire electrical charge (because of ionised air) and start moving towards the precipitation electrode. They stick to it and lose their charge.
The scientists tried to apply this method to open air. For testing purposes they created fog and then dissipated it under various weather conditions - on a sunny day with gradual temperature increase, or cloudy day with no temperature change, or in cold evenings. During these experiments, the scientists found the best electrodes shape and corona-forming voltage. So, electrostatic method takes 7 minutes for fog to disappear, while under natural conditions it takes nearly an hour.
Irina Sigunova | alfa
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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