Sunday, October 26, 2008

Nanofluids improve fuel efficiency

The so-called nanofluids are suspensions of particles a few nanometers in size, made of highly conducting materials. These fluids have good heat transfer properties.

According to a recent study by W. Yu at Argonne National Laboratory, smaller radiators are needed in vehicles that incorporate nanofluids. Vehicles with a smaller radiator can be made more aerodynamic. Fuel savings of more than 2.5 percent are projected.

Clic here for a presentation with details about these findings.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Handbook of Green Chemistry and Technology

The Handbook of Green Chemistry and Technology is available on Google books.

It has examples of sustainable processes and methods to reduce their environmental impact.

An issue of interest for the agricultural sector is the production of agrichemicals without using fossil fuels. Substances such as glyphosate herbicide can be produced via a purely biochemical route.

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Chemical equipment cost estimation

This PDF document has tables and plots for cost estimation of chemical equipment including:

*Heat exchangers

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Impact of Wall Street crisis on the chemical industry

The recent financial crisis is expected to impact the chemical industry. According to a report in Chemical and Engineering News, the scarcity of credit will not have a direct impact on chemical producers, since according to chemical stock analyst Dmitry Silverstyn, "they have strong free cash flow and relatively low debt and can ride out a short-term credit crunch."

Consumers of chemicals, on the other hand, may be forced to reduce their inventories or default on payments.

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New mirror for Helium scattering microscope

A Spanish research group has developed a material that would facilitate the construction of better microscopes based on Helium atom scattering. While Helium scattering has been known since the 1930's, the new material can be used to build a a mirror that reflects the atoms with a higher efficiency than previously possible.

Reference: Advanced Materials 20, 3492 (2008), Author(s): D. Barredo, F. Calleja, P. Nieto, J.J. Hinarejos, G. Laurent, A.L. Vázquez de Parga, D. Farías and R. Miranda

Photo: STM image shows the absence of step defects in the new material at various temperatures. Images are 500nm x 500nm.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

New process for rubber feedstock via fermentation

According to a new report, Goodyear and Genencor are collaborating to develop a process for isoprene through fermentation. Isoprene is a molecule used in the manufacture of synthetic rubber. This process uses renewable materials and would allow the production of synthetic rubber without using petroleum-based feedstocks.

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Graphene ultracapacitors

Ultracapacitors and supercapacitors are elements that can store electrical charge, and it is expected that they will be useful in many applications, including electric cars. Supercapacitors, unlike batteries, can store or deliver electric charge very quickly.

An article about graphene ultracapacitors is available as a PDF file from Rodney Ruoff's research group website at the University of Texas at Austin.

Graphene has the same hexagonal structure as graphite sheets. Because of its high conductivity and specific surface area, the material is very promising for electrical applications.

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AIChE book from 1921

Google books has an interesting volume from the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) published in 1921.
Part of the book's appeal comes from the style used to describe machinery and working details of many industries.

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First martian soil data announced

NASA announced the first results of the chemical analysis sent from the Phoenix Mars Lander spacecraft. Surprisingly, one of the substances detected may be perchlorates. Some possible implications of the discovery of these substances is that the Martian soil may be too toxic to support life. Another possibility is that the oxidizing material could be used to make rocket fuel that may be useful for future expeditions.

While further research is necessary to confirm the findings, the discovery is a surprising development.

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