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Nature Blows, Rattles and Rolls! The Typhoon and Earth Quake Connection

Posted: January 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Applied Science, Cankler, Geology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nature Blows, Rattles and Rolls! The Typhoon and Earth Quake Connection

Nature is a harsh mistress. The more we study the natural world the more we come to understand how the various natural system are inter-connected. Recently scientists from Florida International University have established a connection between large Typhoons and earthquakes. While earthquakes are a complex event with many causes this is one more piece of the puzzle that will help us understand the world we live in.

The most destructive earthquakes are the result of the Earth’s crust being made of a number of separate plates – tectonic plates – that just won’t stand still. As the plates are made of rock and earth they are rough causing friction as they grind together. This friction causes the plates to lock at the edges while the rest of the plate behind continue to move forward, building up pressure where the plates meet – convergent plate boundaries  -. When this pressure is released earthquakes are the result. The amount of energy that is released during an earthquake is astronomical. The total energy released by Japans recent earthquake – total energy or seismic moment – equates to 600 million times the energy released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. All of that energy had built in the crust and was released in just a few minutes of shaking.

“Very wet rain events are the trigger,” said Wdowinski, associate research professor of marine geology and geophysics at the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. “The heavy rain induces thousands of landslides and severe erosion, which removes ground material from the Earth’s surface, releasing the stress load and encouraging movement along faults.” Read the full article »»»»


Extra Brain Cells May Explain Autism

Posted: November 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Applied Science, Medicated, Michael Courtenay, Science, Science News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Extra Brain Cells May Explain Autism

A new study suggests that Autism starts in the womb, researchers have found a remarkable 67 per cent increase in the total number of brain cells in the prefrontal cortex of new born babies with ASD.

Extra Brain Cells May Explain AutismChildren with autism appear to have too many cells in a key area of the brain needed for communication and emotional development, say US researchers. Their findings help explain why young children with autism often develop brains that are larger or heavier than normal. Dr Eric Courchesne says the finding of excess brain cells in the prefrontal cortex explains brain overgrowth in autism, and hints at why brain function in this area is disrupted. Courchesne, of the University of California San Diego Autism Center of Excellence, and colleagues, have also found dozens of genes that may raise the risk of autism. But genetic causes only explain 10 per cent to 20 per cent of cases, and recent studies have pointed to environmental factors, possibly in the womb, as a potential trigger. The team found excess brain cells in each child with autism they studied, says Courchesne. And the brains of the autistic children also weighed more than those of typically developing children of the same age.

Researchers searching for an early indicator of autism say they’ve discovered a promising possibility, an impairment in the ability of the brain’s right and left hemispheres to communicate with each other. The researchers did brain imaging scans – fMRIs – on 29 sleeping toddlers with autism, 30 typically developing kids and 13 children with significant language delays, but not autism. All were between 1 and 4 years old. The scans showed that the language areas of the left and right hemispheres of the autistic toddlers’ brains were less “in sync” than the hemispheres of the typical kids and the children with other language delays. The weaker the synchronization, the more severe the autistic child’s communication difficulties :: Read the full article »»»»


Light Disorder: Laws of Reflection, Refraction and the Surface Pattern Loophole

Posted: September 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Applied Science, Cankler, Physics, Quantum Physics, Science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Light Disorder: Laws of Reflection, Refraction and the Surface Pattern Loophole

Scientists at Harvard have discovered new ways of making light dance, along the way changing the laws of reflection and refraction of light. The wonderful world of Nano particles, along with their effects on light’s behaviour were explored in order to make these discoveries. Under normal circumstances light is nice and predictable, Mr Consistent, the team from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences  – SEAS – found a loop-hole though, precise patterns of metallic nanostructures. Just as in a Carnivals Magic Mirror amusement the nanostructures were able to warp and bend light, unlike the carnival though they did not require bendy mirrors or clever lighting. Instead  using Nano structures embedded in precise patterns on the surface of silicon they were able to alter lights behaviour. Their findings were published in the scientific journal Science, September 2 and have since led to the reformation of the mathematical laws of reflection and refraction, the predicted path of a ray of light bouncing of a surface or passing from medium to medium, bouncing or bending:: Read the full article »»»»


Metallic Glass

Posted: May 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Applied Science, Cankler, Chemically Engineered | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Metallic Glass

Metallic Glasses, the new wonder material for a world pushing the boundaries. When Titanium is no longer strong enough where do you turn, BMGBulk Metallic Glasses –  2.5 times stronger than titanium, but with the pruduction costs of plastic. Cheap tough and very quick to form. Could matallic glass marbles be the toy of the future ?

First discovered by Klement, Willens and Duwez at CalTech – Californian Institute of Technology – in 1960’s . Production of Metal Glass wouldn’t occur until the early 90’s when William L. Johnson and his team were able to develop a commercially viable process. Liquidmetal Technologies was incorporated as a company in 2003 to manage the patents and products including Vitreloy, the first commercially available Metallic Glass.

The findings of their latest research have been published in the May 13, 2011 issue of the journal Science. Established by the research is a new far more efficient production process. They were able to heat small alloy slugs – blanks – at the rate of a million degrees a second. Once heated the metal is injection moulded and cooled. Try doing it all in 40 milliseconds. Sadly it doesn’t pop out of the mould transparent like glass, it’s not transparent metal as the name my imply. The term glass in the name actually refers to the metal having the internal structure of glass –amphorous or random layout of the metal’s atoms – not its transperancy. The crazy internal structure of this metal is its secret.

This next generation of BMG production process is all about speed. The alloy rod is heated to 600 degrees C in a millisecond, then injected into a mould and cooled, with the whole process complete in 40 milliseconds. To heat the alloy rod fast enough ohmic heating was used – firing a short and intense pulse of electrical current into the object to heat. Shock therapy for steel. The whole process is over so fast the metal doesn’t have time to form crytal bonds, it’s still sitting there going ‘what the hell was that?’ The new process is called Rapid Discharge Forming – patents pending –  and will be commercialized through Glassimetal Technology, a company formed in 2010 by Johnson and his CalTech alumni. This new process should be able to produce even more perfectly imperfect parts than is currently possible, the speed of the process eliminates any order.

Metallic Glass starts off it’s life as a fairly standard slug of Metal Alloy. Various alloys have been tested over the years some recipe’s increase strength, some effect electrical properties. Vitreloy incredient list includes zirconium and titanium as it’s main ingredients. The same recipe rules that apply to producing any metal apply here just the same. In a sense it’s a new style of forging alloys into products, a new kind of casting. Extremely rapid heating, moulding and cooling.

Metallic Glass’s biggest enemies are crystals and time. As all metals slowly cool the bonds between atoms are reforming into oderly crystal like structures, this is what they naturally want to do and until recenty accepted in metallergy as the strongest way to make metals. The Japanese sumaria sword makers were the masters of this with the heating, folding and cooling cycle while making a sword. Metallic glass takes the opposite approach, it works by making a random structure without any straight lines or points of weakness. Vitreloy is one Metallic Glass product made by LiquidMetals which is twice as strong as titanium. It’s tough stuff but still considered previous generation, one step behind what is discussed in Johnson’s latest research papers.

“We’ve taken the economics of plastic manufacturing and applied it to a metal with superior engineering properties,” Johnson says. “We end up with inexpensive, high-performance, precision net-shape parts made in the same way plastic parts are made—but made of a metal that’s 20 times stronger and stiffer than plastic.”

Is there room in our fast paced world for another wonder material ? Is Metalic Glass destined to be the next Ginshu knife sold on Danoz Direct, or is it a game changer ? The Aeropsace and commercial air craft industries will be all over this technology like a rash, more strength and less weight is their mantra. It may take 10 or 20 years to become established in other areas like manufacturing but BMG’s will be huge. Now has someone seen my transparent aluminium.


Lights Hidden Properties

Posted: April 18th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Applied Science, Chronic, Engineered Life, Physics Applied, Protoscience, Tecnoid | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lights Hidden Properties

University of Michigan boffins have discovered, while shooting lasers through glass, that light shining through non conductive materials exhibit strong magnetic characteristics. The magnetic properties of light were thought to be so weak that they could simply be ignored. With this research that has all changed, the assumption as it turns out was drastically wrong. They discovered that extremely powerful light can generate magnetic fields 100 million times stronger than previously estimated.  “Strong enough to induce useable voltages and create magnetic batteries.” Professor Stephen Rand says, adding, “Enough sunlight, focused into an optical fiber, could generate electricity – that’s is a simple way to think about it.”

Along with the obvious optical properties of light it also has electric and magnetic qualities. Solar panels take advantage of the electrical properties of light. These new panels will use the magnetic properties of light to create a solar panel, with the potential to produce a similar amount of power as a traditional solar panel – 10% efficiency -. This does raise the interesting idea of hybrid Electric-magnetic panels for twice the power per square meter. Add in Thermal and you have the big three.

Currently the main drawback is the required 10 million watts per square centimeter of light to induce the effect, normal sunlight produces 0.136 watts per centimeter. Research is still in its infancy so these and other hurdles will present themselves but possibilities like clear windows that generate electricity, magnetic batteries and self-powered displays will keep the white coats solving problems. Maybe even more important though is this discovery will change the way we think about light and magnetic fields interacting.

This is a monumental discovery that opens up a whole new field of science, new possibilities. This is a much bigger change than just some new power source, it’s a whole new side to light that we were blinkered to for so long. Longer term this may change how we look at light –no pun intended – this crosses the light and magnetic boundaries. How much of a game changer this is will take time. Solid numbers are required before any solid conclusions can be made. The Journal of Applied Physics this week published the initial paper by Professor Stephen Rand and doctoral student William Fisher. Keep an eye on this one it will get real interesting.

More information at Professor Rands site, Research site

Buddha’s Brother out…