Physical Sciences

Setting new horizons in electroplating of zinc die castings

Our supply of zinc, a metal abundant in our planet’s crust, could run out by 2100 unless we begin to change the way we use it. Collini Holding AG creates a step change in uncovering and addressing the core causes of common faults of plating on zinc die cast by investigating this material and the ways of it surface finishing […]

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Physical Sciences

Peering inside: 3D imaging in materials

  New strong materials are in demand in many sectors, leading to the development of different hybrid structures. These can be made from dissimilar light materials such as aluminium alloys, which are joined by incorporating reinforcing fillers into the weld, or self-compacting fibre-reinforced concrete, which is reinforced using fibres. However, creating new materials is not without its problems. The process […]

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Physical Sciences

Black hole binaries and gravitational waves: Unlocking the secrets of our universe in unexpected ways

When Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves over one hundred years ago, nobody could foresee what the implications could possibly be – but, as they make the move from predicted theory to proven fact, researchers like Professor Zoltan Haiman, of Columbia University, are devising ways of using them to study binary systems of colliding black holes and the […]

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Physical Sciences

Dynamic versus static: Evolving mechanical characterisation

Materials used for aerospace applications have to be incredibly robust. For commercial airlines, the materials used to build the aircraft need to be capable of withstanding temperatures from -45 to 45 °C and windspeeds of over 400 kilometres per hour. All materials must undergo stringent testing, designed to replicate the real dynamic conditions encountered during use. Dr Meysam Rahmat, in his research […]

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Physical Sciences

When kinetic theories clash, mind the lattice step: A statistical physics approach to the motion of atoms within materials

What happens when the method used to search out an answer appears to have an effect on the answer itself? In the field of Statistical Physics, two different approaches have been used to describe the particle kinetics: the so-called Master Equations; and their counterpart, the Fokker–Planck Equations. But which is better and why does the approach used have an effect on the […]

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Physical Sciences

Opinion dynamics and consensus in social networks

Denis Fedyanin and Alexander Chkhartishvili are researchers at the V.A. Trapeznikov Institute of Control Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. They use statistical modelling of social network structures to simulate opinion dynamics and decision making. Their recent work focuses on a consensus analysis of complex social network structures. The development of online social networks together with their influence on […]

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Physical Sciences

Technological leapfrogging the global energy crisis: How can changing the role of science in developing countries help with an oncoming climate catastrophe?

In 1975, the Brazilian government launched the National Alcohol Program (NAP) with the sole aim of relieving the country’s crushing dependence on fossil fuels with a move to cleaner ethyl-alcohol based fuels – and, thanks to researchers like Professor José Goldemberg, of the University of São Paulo, the program was an overwhelming success. Combining the country’s own natural resources with technological leapfrogging – […]

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Physical Sciences

Designing catalysts bit by bit

Catalysis, using reagents to speed up chemical reactions, is big business. From synthesising new chemicals to cleaning up the exhaust fumes from cars and sustainable energy devices such as hydrogen fuel cells, catalysts play a huge role in our daily lives. Prof Roy L. Johnston and Dr Francesca Baletto at the University of Birmingham and King’s College London respectively are using novel computational approaches […]

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Physical Sciences

Cleaner pathways to chemical synthesis via new generation catalysts

The synthesis and manufacture of chemicals, and chemical products, has typically relied on petroleum-based feedstocks. Even hydrogen, often hailed as a ‘clean fuel’ and an important component in many chemical reactions, is sourced from such feedstocks. However, Professor Mark Keane’s research at Heriot-Watt University is developing methods for clean chemical production from alternative, renewable feedstocks. To achieve this, he is designing and developing new […]

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Physical Sciences

Seeing the structures of molecules: insights from NMR and industry

Many of the essential chemical constituents of life, including carbohydrates, are made up of complex atomic arrangements. Knowing the particular structure of a compound is important not only for identification purposes, but also for understanding how biologically relevant compounds react. Through this knowledge, their biological functions can ultimately be deciphered. Professor Anthony Serianni at the University of Notre Dame has […]

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