graphene microphone Technology 

New Graphene Microphone Outperforms Nickel

By Kate Stone Scientists have developed a graphene microphone that is nearly 32 times more sensitive than ordinary microphones made from nickel. Using graphene, the research team at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, created a vibrating membrane – the part of a microphone that converts the sound to a current.  At frequencies up to 11 kHz, the microphone was able to achieve 15 dB higher sensitivity compared to a commercial microphone. “We wanted to show that graphene, although a relatively new material, has potential for real world applications,” explains Marko…

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Self-cleaning surfaces (Artwork by Vectorolie via freedigitalphotos.net) Engineering Technology 

New, Durable Self-cleaning Surfaces

Put away the polish!  A new paint that creates self-cleaning surfaces has been developed by a research team at University College London (UCL). The coating can be applied to clothes, paper, glass and steel. When combined with adhesives, the paint maintains its self-cleaning properties after being wiped, scratched with a knife, and scuffed with sandpaper. Self-cleaning surfaces work by being extremely water repellent, but often stop working when damaged or exposed to oil. According to Claire Carmalt, professor of inorganic chemistry at UCL, “The surfaces tend to be mechanically weak…

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Biofuel: Inforgraphic courtesy of Eric Taylor, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Biology Engineering Environment Oceanography 

Fish Food Turned into Two New Biofuels

By Kate S. A common algae commercially grown to make fish food could become a future source of biofuel, according to a new study. The research team, led by Greg O’Neil of Western Washington University and Chris Reddy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has pioneered a technique that uses a single species of algae called Isochrysis to make both biodiesel and jet fuel. The scientists believe that the ability to produce two types of biofuel from one algae holds some promise for future commercialization. They stress that this is only…

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