The Tek Pulse: The latest and greatest engineering and science posts

Informative, innovative and interesting articles from our favorite blogs


1. Touch-sensitive, elastic fibers offer new interface for electronics, North Carolina State University, April 4, 2017, EurekAlert – Researchers have created touch-sensitive fibers that can interface with electronic devices. These soft and stretchable fibers can detect touch, strain and twisting, and may be especially useful for integrating electronics into wearable devices. These microscopic fibers are made of tube-like polymer strands that contain a liquid metal alloy, eutectic gallium and indium (EGaIn). The fiber works due to a phenomenon known as capacitance, in which electric charge is stored between two conductors separated by an insulator. One big advantage of this new fiber is that it is built from elastic materials so it can be twisted 100 times more than existing torsion sensors. For the full article visit EurekAlert.


2. Scientists Use Graphene to Help Cool Electrical Components, Kenny Walter, April 3, 2017, Scientific Computing – Rutgers University researchers have used graphene to cool the computer chips used in smartphones, laptops and other electrical devices. Current methods to cool down chips involve using small fans in computers, which is inefficient because they often break down. Water is also used for cooling, but the method is complex and has been prone to leaks that can fry computers. The Rutgers team’s solution doesn’t have any moving parts, is very efficient for cooling and it achieved a power factor two times higher than previous thermoelectric coolers. The power factor is the effectiveness of active cooling, when the electrical current carries heat away, while passive cooling is when heat diffuses naturally. The team discovered that graphene is superior in both active and passive cooling and by combining both, graphene acted as an efficient cooler. For the full article visit Scientific Computing.


3. Graphene sieve turns seawater into drinking water, The University of Manchester, April 3, 2017, PHYS.ORG – Researchers have found an efficient way of using graphene to turn salt water into clean drinking water. When common salts are dissolved in water, they form a “shell” of water molecules around the salt. Tiny graphene-oxide membranes block the salt from flowing along with the water. Water molecules are then able to pass through the membrane barrier, which is key for application of these membranes in desalination. The team has also demonstrated that there are realistic possibilities to scale up their approach and mass-produce graphene-based membranes. This technology has the potential to revolutionize water filtration around the world. The team hopes that their graphene-oxide membrane system can also be built on smaller scales for countries without the finances to build large plants. For the full article visit PHYS.ORG.


4. Photonics Breakthrough Paving the Way for Improved Wireless Communication Systems, University of Sydney, April 3, 2017, Wireless Design & Development – Researchers have achieved radio frequency signal control at sub-nanosecond time scales on a chip-scale optical device. This breakthrough could seriously impact the wireless revolution and unlock the bandwidth bottleneck faced by wireless networks worldwide. To provide broader bandwidth instantaneously to more users, one would need to create very fast, tunable delay lines on a chip. Furthermore, to reduce power consumption and maximize reception range for mobile communications, RF signals need to achieve directional and fast distributions to different users from information centers. This is exactly what the team set out to accomplish. Although more work needs to be done, the team has laid the groundwork toward the realization of faster and more reliable wireless communication. For the full story visit Wireless Design & Development.


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Do you have a great article, blog or idea that you’d like to see featured in our series? Please be sure to share in the comments below. Stay tuned next week for another installment of The Tek Pulse, featuring more trending articles from the engineering, technology and science worlds.


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