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

Informative, innovative and interesting articles from our favorite blogs


1. Modern construction using long-forgotten techniques, Claudia Hoffmann, April 10, 2017, TechXplore – Researchers have developed a concrete floor system that’s 70 percent lighter than standard concrete floors. To safely make concrete floors of a large building today, they must be roughly 25 centimeters thick and reinforced with steel bars, making them very heavy. But in today’s urban environments, maximizing space is crucial. Architects are continuously looking for ways to make buildings more compact, cost-effective and easier on the environment. So these new floors have a load-bearing slab that’s just two centimeters thick and remarkably stable. The floors are environmentally friendly, as they require less concrete; the slabs are arched like a vaulted ceiling, allowing them to support very heavy loads. To bring production costs down, the team 3D-printed the elements of the slabs. The floor will be used for the first time in a two-story guest penthouse later this year. For more information visit TechXplore.


2. New Hybrid Inks for Printed, Flexible Electronics Without Sintering, April 10, 2017, ECN – Scientists have created a new type of hybrid ink that allows electronic circuits to be applied to paper directly from a pen and are usable after drying without the need for any further processing. To create the hybrid ink, the team combined gold and silver nanoparticles, coated with organic, conductive polymers and then suspended them in a mixture of water and alcohol. The organic compounds in the ink ensure that the nanoparticles remain suspended in the liquid mixture and have a good arrangement when drying. When bent, the organic compounds act like a hinge and maintain electrical conductivity, which is far superior to a layer that’s made from metal nanoparticles in current flexible circuits. For more information, visit ECN.


3. Your Body Heat Can Now Power your Devices with this Thermoelectric Fabric, Aayesha Arif, April 10, 2017, Wonderful Engineering – A new thermoelectric fabric harnesses body heat and turns it into electricity to power IoT devices. The fabric is made up of semiconductor strings that are integrated into the fabric and absorb heat from any direct contact point, which is then converted into electrical power. Possible applications include clothing, tech wearables and it could be wrapped around objects like coffee cups and chimneys that radiate heat. Anything that takes heat and converts it to another form of energy also provides a cooling effect. Therefore, this technology could also provide continuous cooling. More work still needs to be done to make this technology commercially viable, but if it works, we would no longer need batteries for wearable devices. For more information visit Wonderful Engineering.


4. Diamonds coupled using quantum physics, Vienna University of Technology, April 10, 2017, ScienceDaily – Quantum states are very fragile and decay very quickly, which is why in-depth research is being conducted with the goal of finding quantum systems that can be used for technical applications. Until now, there has been no system discovered that fulfills all the requirements simultaneously. Researchers have now found that diamonds with minute flaws could play a major role in the future of quantum technology. The defects in some diamonds consist of a nitrogen and atom vacancy that forms a quantum system with a long-lasting state, making diamonds with these flaws ideal for quantum experiments. A pre-requisite for most quantum technologies is the need to couple such quantum systems together – a task that had never been accomplished until this team successfully coupled the specific defects in two diamonds. Their breakthrough could lead to highly sensitive sensors and switches for quantum computers. For the full article, visit ScienceDaily.


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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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