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  • News in Brief

    A new 3-D printer builds temporary electronics on your skin

    A new 3-D printer draws precise patterns of electrically conductive material directly on a person’s skin, creating temporary, tattoolike electronic devices.

    Unlike other 3-D printers designed to layer material on stiff, motionless objects, the new system uses computer vision to compensate for a moving printing surface — say, the back of a fidgety hand, researchers report in the June 6...

    06/06/2018 - 14:30 Technology, Materials
  • Feature

    Future smart clothes could pack serious gadgetry

    In the future, leaving your phone charger at home will mean only one thing: You forgot to put on pants.

    Just as smartphones untethered users from their desktop computers, smart clothing is poised to bring personal electronics out of our pockets and onto our sleeves.

    The current generation of wearable technology that includes smart glasses and watches is still more marginal than...

    06/01/2018 - 10:57 Technology, Materials
  • News

    This plastic can be recycled over and over and over again

    There’s a great future in plastics.

    A new kind of plastic can, when exposed to the right chemicals, break down into the same basic building blocks that it came from and be rebuilt again and again. The recyclable material is more durable than previous attempts to create reusable plastics, researchers report inthe April 27 Science.

    Designing plastics that can be easily reused is one...

    04/26/2018 - 15:40 Pollution, Chemistry, Materials
  • Teaser

    A new plastic film glows to flag food contaminated with dangerous microbes

    Pathogen detectors built into plastic patches could someday spare you food poisoning.

    Carlos Filipe, a chemical engineer at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and colleagues have developed a new kind of flexible film that’s coated in molecules that glow when they touch E. coli cells. This type of sensor also glows in the presence of molecules secreted by E. coli, so the material...

    04/17/2018 - 07:00 Materials, Microbes, Health
  • News in Brief

    This material uses energy from ambient light to kill hospital superbugs

    PHOENIX — A new material that harnesses the power of ambient light to produce bacteria-killing molecules could help stem the spread of hospital infections, including those with drug-resistant bacteria.

    About 1 in 10 patients worldwide get an infection while receiving treatment at a hospital or other health care facility, according to the World Health Organization. “Contaminated hospital...

    04/10/2018 - 07:00 Microbes, Materials, Technology
  • News in Brief

    Toxic chemicals turn a new material from porous to protective

    PHOENIX — A new, breathable material that can also block biological or chemical threats could offer comfortable protection for people working in contaminated environments or dangerous military zones.

    The bottom layer of the material, described April 3 at the Materials Research Society spring meeting, features carbon nanotube pores embedded within a flexible synthetic polymer film. These...

    04/05/2018 - 08:00 Materials, Chemistry
  • News

    Eggshell nanostructure protects a chick and helps it hatch

    A chicken eggshell has a tricky job: It must protect a developing chick, but then ultimately let the chick break free. The secret to its success lies in its complex nanostructure — and how that structure changes as the egg incubates.

    Chicken eggshells are about 95 percent calcium carbonate by mass. But they also contain hundreds of different kinds of proteins that influence how that...

    03/30/2018 - 14:00 Materials
  • News in Brief

    Live heart cells make this material shift color like a chameleon

    To craft a new color-switching material, scientists have again taken inspiration from one of nature’s masters of disguise: the chameleon.

    Thin films made of heart cells and hydrogel change hues when the films shrink or stretch, much like chameleon skin. This material, described online March 28 in Science Robotics, could be used to test new medications or possibly to build camouflaging...

    03/28/2018 - 14:00 Materials, Biophysics, Technology
  • News

    Earwigs take origami to extremes to fold their wings

    To quickly unfurl and refold their wings, earwigs stretch the rules of origami.

    Yes, those garden pests that scurry out from under overturned flowerpots can also fly. Because earwigs spend most of their time underground and only occasionally take to the air, they pack their wings into packages with a surface area more than 10 times smaller than when unfurled, using an origami-like series...

    03/22/2018 - 14:10 Biophysics, Animals, Materials, Robotics
  • News in Brief

    Give double-layer graphene a twist and it superconducts

    LOS ANGELES — Give a graphene layer cake a twist and it superconducts — electrons flow freely through it without resistance. Made up of two layers of graphene, a form of carbon arranged in single-atom-thick sheets, the structure’s weird behavior suggests it may provide a fruitful playground for testing how certain unusual types of superconductors work, physicist Pablo Jarillo-Herrero of MIT...

    03/08/2018 - 16:10 Condensed Matter, Materials