Graphene to desalinate sea water?

Another use for graphene! Graphene, which is composed a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, was produced in 2004 by a team lead by Manchester University. Now another UK based team have created a sieve made from graphene, which can remove  salt from seawater.



A wood in Staffordshire!

An interesting experiment is taking place in a Staffordshire forest. An area of the woodland has been cordoned off and the trees within the site are being subjected to high levels of carbon dioxide. The project has been set up to measure how trees will deal with the higher levels of CO2 in that are expected in the future.

Planes made of graphene?

Remember graphene, the single layer of carbon atoms forming a regular hexagonal pattern, which is very light but extremely strong? Richard Branson believes that aircraft could be made entirely of graphene in 10 years time.

Single atoms used to store information

Scientists have manage to use a single atom to store two bits of data, whereas today’s  technologies need at least 10,000 atoms to store one bit of information. Atoms of holmium (a metal in the lanthanide series) were used, and by flipping the atom’s magnetic orientation so that it aligned with or against the Earth’s magnetic field, it was able to switch a bit from 0 to 1.


Trump and Global Warming

One hundred researchers, including many of the most prominent climate scientists in Britain, have written to Theresa May to warn her of the potential threats posed by Donald Trump, who has made it clear he does not accept that human activities contribute to global warming.

The letter warns that Trump’s administration may severely weaken climate change research. If the world class climate science now performed in the US is wound down under Trump, the UK must be ready to respond decisively, the letter states. One response would be to rapidly expand British climate science by offering jobs to disaffected US researchers.

Fires in lithium-ion batteries reduced

Lithium-ion batteries are found in devices such as mobile phones, laptops etc. However, these devices can occasionally catch fire. Unfortunately, adding a flame retardant to the electrolyte makes the battery less efficient.

Scientists have now come up with fibres, containing a flame retardant inside a plastic shell, which can be added to the electrolyte. If the battery heats up too much, the plastic melts and the flame retardant escapes.



More climate change effects

Something is happening to the floating sea ice of the Arctic; scientists are finding that Arctic sea ice is getting younger and thinner, which is set to continue in March, when US research reveals the winter maximum, and September, when it reveals the summer minimum, making it more vulnerable to a catastrophic and unprecedented break-up.

Nasa researchers have found that the thicker multi-year ice, which has survived several summer melt seasons, is being rapidly replaced by thinner one-year ice formed over a single winter. This change makes the polar region increasingly vulnerable to storms that could smash their way through the final remnants of thinner, one-year sea ice, making a completely ice-free summer in the Arctic increasingly likely.

Breathalyser detects 17 diseases

A new breathalyser can detect the presence and amount of the 100 or so chemicals present in our exhaled breath. Many diseases, such as kidney cancer and Parkinson’s, can be detected and  the presence of one disease does not prevent the detection of others.