Hard-to-burn ‘smart’ wallpaper even triggers alarms | Science News

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Hard-to-burn ‘smart’ wallpaper even triggers alarms

Science News for Students (www.sciencenewsforstudents.org) is an award-winning, free online magazine that reports daily on research and new developments across scientific disciplines for inquiring minds of every age — from middle school on up.

 

Hard-to-burn ‘smart’ wallpaper even triggers alarms

Wallpaper can transform the look of a room. A new type can also do double duty as a 24/7 fire sentry. This wallpaper is all but unburnable, and when it gets really hot, it can trigger warning lights and sound an alarm. One added benefit: It’s nontoxic. Key to the new wallpaper is a network of nanowires inside it. The wires are made from hydroxyapatite, a mineral found in bones and teeth that is flexible on a nanoscale level. Researchers in China described their new wall covering March 13 in ACS Nano. The team hopes the product’s traits will make it attractive for use in homes. — Alexandra Taylor

Read more: www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/wallpaper

 

Living Mysteries: Meet Earth’s simplest animal

In the 1880s, scientist Franz Eilhard Schulze was one of the world’s top experts on ocean sponges. Today, he is best known for discovering a drab animal no larger than a sesame seed. The animal had been hiding in one of Schulze’s fish tanks. To this day, Trichoplax adhaerens remains the simplest animal known. A flat sheet three cells thick, it has no mouth, stomach, muscles, blood or veins. Yet T. adhaerens interests scientists because it shows what the very first animals on Earth might have looked like. The critter is even providing hints about how simple animals later evolved — with mouths, stomachs and nerves. — Douglas Fox

Read more: www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/simple-animal

 

Dirty air can harm your brain and stress the body

Emerging data show that air pollution can pose serious risks to anyone, including healthy children and teens. Pollutants too small to see can alter brain function. The pollutants can make it hard for kids to concentrate and can throw hormones — those chemical messengers that direct the body’s activities — out of whack. In short, air pollution can seriously damage young minds and bodies. And over many years, scientists worry, these pollutants could place healthy young people at risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes or even heart disease and strokes. — Lindsey Konkel

Read more: www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/dirty-air