Researchers from the UK and Spain have identified an eco-friendly solid that could replace the inefficient and polluting gases used in most refrigerators and air conditioners. When put under pressure, plastic crystals of neopentylglycol yield huge cooling effects—enough that they are competitive with conventional coolants. In addition, the material is inexpensive, widely available and functions at close to room temperature.

Contrary to what you may have been taught, water doesn’t always freeze to ice at 32 degrees F (zero degrees C). Knowing, or controlling, at what temperature water will freeze (starting with a process called nucleation) is critically important to answering questions such as whether or not there will be enough snow on the ski

The quest to keep plastic out of landfills and simultaneously satisfy the needs of the food industry is filled with obstacles. A biodegradable replacement for petroleum-based products has to meet all sorts of standards and, so far, attempts at viable replacements from renewable sources have faced limited success due to processing and economic constraints. Among

Scientists have discovered a new state of physical matter in which atoms can exist as both solid and liquid simultaneously. Until now, the atoms in physical material were understood to exist typically in one of three states—solid, liquid or gas. Researchers have found, however, that some elements can, when subjected to extreme conditions, take on the properties

As researchers work toward next-generation electric vehicles, they may be hitting their heads on the ceiling of what lithium ion batteries can deliver. Meanwhile, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan are pushing the performance of a competing electric vehicle technology—hydrogen fuel cells—to new heights. A hydrogen fuel cell is a zero-harmful-emissions power source that

Efficient and inexpensive catalysts will be required for production of hydrogen from sunlight. Molybdenum sulfides are considered good candidates. A team at HZB has now explained what processes take place in molybdenum sulfides during catalysis and why amorphous molybdenum sulfide works best. The results have been published in the journal ACS Catalysis. Sunlight not only can

While water is perceived to be one of the simplest substances in the world, modeling its behavior on the atomic or molecular level has frustrated scientists for decades. To date, no single model has been able to accurately represent the plethora of water’s singular characteristics, including the fact that it is densest at a temperature

Tufts University engineers have developed a novel fabrication method to create dyed threads that change color when they detect a variety of gases. The researchers demonstrated that the threads can be read visually, or even more precisely by use of a smartphone camera, to detect changes of color due to analytes as low as 50

By focusing light down to the size of an atom, scientists at the University of California, Irvine have produced the first images of a molecule’s normal modes of vibration—the internal motions that drive the chemistry of all things, including the function of living cells. In a study published today in Nature, researchers at UCI’s Center for

Traditional surgery to reshape a nose or ear entails cutting and suturing, sometimes followed by long recovery times and scars. But now, researchers have developed a “molecular surgery” process that uses tiny needles, electric current and 3-D-printed molds to quickly reshape living tissue with no incisions, scarring or recovery time. The technique even shows promise

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