New material design stores energy like an eagle

New material design stores energy like an eagle
Auxetics are materials that store energy internally rather than bulging out. In this way they can store more energy when squeezed or struck and disperse it more regularly. Historically, however, these materials have had sharp corners that could break easily with enough pressure. Now researchers at Queen Mary University of London and University of Cambridge have discovered a way to use auxetics in a more efficient and less fragile way. In this way you can create systems that store energy and release it mechanically multiple thousands of times.
“The exciting future of new materials designs is that they can start replacing devices and robots. All the smart functionality is embedded in the material, for example the repeated ability to latch onto objects the way eagles latch onto prey, and keep a vice-like grip without spending any more force or effort,” said Queen Marry University’s Dr. Stoyan Smoukov. For example, a robot using this system can close its hand over and object and keep it closed until its time to let go. There is no need to continue sending power to the claw or hand until it is time to open up and drop the object.
“A major problem for materials exposed to harsh conditions, such as high temperature, is their expansion. A material could now be designed so its expansion properties continuously vary to match a gradient of temperature farther and closer to a heat source. This way, it will be able to adjust itself naturally to repeated and severe changes,” said Eesha Khare, an undergrad who worked on the project.
The project used 3D printing to make small clips that grab a toothed actuator. To release the energy, you pull on the opposite sides of the object to release the teeth. While the entire thing looks quite simple the fact that this object stores energy without bulging is important. The same technology can be used to “grab” bullets as they strike armor, resulting in better durability.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

New technique brings secrets out of old daguerreotypes

New technique brings secrets out of old daguerreotypes
Daguerreotypes – photos made with a process that used mercury vapors on an iodine-sensitized silvered plate – break down quite easily. The result is a fogged plate that, more often that not, is completely ruined by time and mistreatment. However, researchers at Western University have created a system that uses synchrotrons and “rapid-scanning micro-X-ray fluorescence imaging” to scan the plates for eight hours. The system shot an X-ray 10×10 microns thick at “an energy most sensitive to mercury absorption.” This, in turn, showed the researchers where the mercury is most prevalent, thereby bringing up the image that was lost to damage or decay.
Kozachuk used rapid-scanning micro-X-ray fluorescence imaging to analyze the plates, which are about 7.5 cm wide, and identified where mercury was distributed on the plates. With an X-ray beam as small as 10×10 microns (a human scalp hair averages 75 microns across) and at an energy most sensitive to mercury absorption, the scan of each daguerreotype took about eight hours. The team published their findings in Scientific Reports.
“It’s somewhat haunting because they are anonymous and yet it is striking at the same time,” said Madalena Kozachuk, a PhD student in Western’s Department of Chemistry. “The image is totally unexpected because you don’t see it on the plate at all. It’s hidden behind time. But then we see it and we can see such fine details: the eyes, the folds of the clothing, the detailed embroidered patterns of the table cloth.”
The technology promises to improve the methods of conservation for old photographs and should bring many previously unusable daguerreotypes back to life.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch