Thermal

  • Kevlar and Twaron are tough materials, but there’s a bit of a trade-off to be made between strength, heat resistance and weight. Now, researchers have created a new nanofiber material that’s just as strong, but much more insulating against heat.
  • Scientists at the University of Manchester have developed a new type of smart textile that could enable thermally adaptive clothing, using graphene to alter its thermal radiation properties via electrical tuning.
  • One of the largest natural sources of renewable energy could be right under our feet – literally – with geothermal energy. Now researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology and Sanoh Industrial have developed a new type of battery cell that can directly convert heat energy into electricity.
  • Engineers from the University of California San Diego have developed a proof-of-concept armband that can keep the wearer's skin at a constant temperature, even when the ambient temperature is raised or lowered. And the technology is being scaled up to vest size.​
  • Lithium-ion batteries aren't necessarily the best choice for grid-scale energy storage. Researchers at MIT have outlined a new system they call a “sun in a box,” which stores energy as heat in molten silicon and harvests it by tapping into the bright light it emits.
  • In every speaker is a membrane that physically vibrates to generate sound waves. But now, researchers have developed a speaker that doesn’t need to mechanically vibrate at all. Instead, a graphene membrane is heated and cooled with carefully controlled electric currents to create sound waves.
  • Science
    ​A new phase of matter, called a time crystal, has been created for the first time. In a regular crystal, the atoms are arranged in a pattern that repeats in space, but in a time crystal, that pattern repeats through time. The creation of time crystals marks a new class of non-equilibrium phases.
  • Science
    ​Levitation may look like magic, but there are a few scientific tricks behind it. Magnetic systems, optical levitation and acoustics only work with certain objects, but researchers at the University of Chicago have developed a method to levitate basically anything, using differences in temperature.
  • A new flexible material can block various portions of the electromagnetic spectrum while allowing others through. The material has the potential to improve solar cell efficiencies and create window coatings that not only let in visible light and keep out heat, but also block electromagnetic signals.
  • Metals that conduct electricity also produce heat, right? Well, no, not all of them, according to recent research led by Berkeley Lab. They've found one type of metal that keeps its cool as electrical current moves through it, and may lead to a range of new and super-efficient electrical devices.
  • Flir Systems has announced two new additions to its Lepton-based range of thermal imaging solutions. The pocket-sized Scout TK is aimed at outdoor types, while the entry-level TG130 is heading for home and small business use.
  • Data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft now indicates that the plumes from Saturn's moon Enceladus may be due to present-day hydrothermal activity in the vast ocean beneath the crust of the frozen moon, raising the possibility that Enceladus may harbor life.