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Matter & Energy

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gold nugget

GOLD MINE  Chemists have finally explained two of gold’s properties: the energy involved in removing or adding an electron to a gold atom. New theoretical calculations match up with values measured in experiments.

flame resistant fibers

FIRE FIGHTER  To stop battery fires in their tracks, researchers formed tiny fibers containing flame retardant, shown above in an image taken by a scanning electron microscope. If the battery overheats, the fibers’ plastic shells melt, releasing the flame retardant encapsulated inside.

molecular knot

WOVEN TOGETHER  A new molecular knot (representation shown) is the most complex one ever described. It forms a triple braid, with iron ions (silvery-blue) and a chloride ion (green) guiding the formation.

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