Stories tagged paint

Jul
18
2012

Sprayable Battery: Move over spray-tan, there's a new aerosol in town.
Sprayable Battery: Move over spray-tan, there's a new aerosol in town.Courtesy Alex Walker
Researchers from Rice University have rethought the battery. Typically, batteries are made up of 5 layers: a positive and negative electrode, each with a metal current collector, and a polymer separator. These layers are manufactured in sheets and then rolled into cylinders. Rice researchers realized that each of these layers were available, or could be created, in sprayable form. They used lithium titanium oxide and lithium cobalt oxide for the anode and cathode, existing metallic paints and carbon nanotube mixtures for the current collectors, and a chemical hodge-podge with a very lengthy name for the separator layer. The result is an ultra thin (a fraction of a millimeter thick) lithium ion battery.
In their first experiment, researchers sprayed each consecutive layer onto nine bathroom tiles, topped with a solar cell. The resulting batteries were able to power 40 LEDs for six hours.
In its current state, this method is too toxic to be used outside a controlled environment, but with a little tweaking, a safe alternative will be found. At that point, any surface could be a battery!

Jun
28
2012

Sensing Strain: This new system will allow you to detect strain anywhere, in any direction, and at any time.
Sensing Strain: This new system will allow you to detect strain anywhere, in any direction, and at any time.Courtesy Bruce Weisman
Scientists at Rice University developed a new type of paint, infused with carbon nanotubes, that can detect strain in bridges, buildings, and airplanes before the signs of deformation become visible to the naked eye.

This is how it works: The paint is applied to the desired structure and allowed to dry. A laser beam is then focused on the structure, which excites the carbon nanotubes, and in turn, causes them to fluoresce in a way that indicates strain. Finally, a handheld infrared spectrometer is used to measure this fluorescence.

The advantage of strain paint over conventional strain gauges is that the gauge (the paint, in this case) and the read-out device don't have to be physically connected. Also, strain paint allows you to measure strain anywhere on the structure, and along any direction. This product is not yet on the market, but it will benefit all of us, as I'm sure we all find the structural integrity of our planes, bridges, and buildings to be pretty important.

Nov
15
2006

New cure: Could a new paint made with a spikey-shaped polymer be a new way to fight the flu? Scientists think they've found a paint that can kill flu bugs on contact.
New cure: Could a new paint made with a spikey-shaped polymer be a new way to fight the flu? Scientists think they've found a paint that can kill flu bugs on contact.
Can you add a paintbrush as a method of fighting the flu along with chicken soup and antibiotics?

Scientists are debating that topic this week after researchers contend they’ve found a polymer-based paint that can kill flu-bearing viruses on touch. The new findings were reported on Scientific American’s website.

The researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say that the paint can be applied to surfaces in public places such as hospitals, schools or airplanes, where people congregate and can possibly pass along flu germs.

Through the tests, researchers have found that the spiky-shaped polymers when painted on surfaces can kill bacteria, including esherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus -- bugs that are waiting to jump on to people’s unsuspecting hands, get into bodies and become full-born flu.

These pokey-polymers work by punching holes into the cell wall of a flu bug microbe, letting its contents spill out. The polymer molecules are positively charged, keeping them standing rigid and in position to burst more microbes. That ongoing battle neutralizes flu because those microbes have a wall around them that is susceptible to being speared.

The paint coatings were found non-toxic to monkey cells through tests, but they will need further study before getting government approval to be made commercially available.

Skeptics, however, think that the new information is just another piece in the puzzle of people looking to profit from the latest flu hysteria. They point to new efforts by people pointing to “improved” handwashes and new devices that remind you to wash your hands regularly.

Mar
10
2006


Nanotech Inventory: The nanotech product inventory

Nanotechnology is certainly a big buzz word in the world of science and technology. Scientists are making efforts to bring us futuristic products like an elevator to space and super cheap solar cells by manipulating materials at the nano scale (almost 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair). Some of these futuristic breakthroughs could revolutionize how we live and improve our lives.

Yet, the popular media is also buzzing with nanotechnology safety concerns. Because this technology is so new and unknown we don't know all of the risks involved with building at the scale of atoms.

But whether you see nano-tech products as the promise of the future or a scourge to our health, few people realize that there is an amazing array of products out there right now that use nano-technology.

Don't believe me? Just check out the Nanotechnology Consumer Products Inventory. They have a list of over 200 current products you can buy containing nano-technology including, BEHR paint, Dockers Pants, and my favorite the GreenYarn nano beauty mask.

Nanotechnology holds great promise. Whether its future will be overwhelmingly negative or positive is yet to be decided. But, the future is no longer far off in the distance. Nanotechnology is on the self of our hardware, drug, and convenience stores right now.

So does this make you excited? Worried? Or is it all just hype?