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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