A new laboratory at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township aims to speed and improve the process of testing water at beaches in Michigan.
The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens and The Detroit News report the lab opened this week in Harrison Township following years of work to improve testing. The lab is part of a pilot project designed to help state officials plan for future water monitoring.
Scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have made the first structural observations of liquid water at temperatures down to -51 F, within an elusive “no man’s land” where water’s strange properties are super-amplified.
The research, made possible by SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser and reported in Nature, opens a new window for exploring liquid water in these exotic conditions, and promises to improve our understanding of its unique properties at the more natural temperatures and states that are relevant to global ocean currents, climate and biology.
Ban on Pavement Sealant Significantly Impacted Lake
In 2006, Austin, Texas, became the first city in the country to ban a commonly used pavement sealant over concerns that it was a major source of cancer-causing compounds in the environment. Eight years later, the city’s action seems to have made a big dent in the targeted compounds’ levels — researchers now report that the concentrations have dropped significantly. They published their study, which could have broad implications for other jurisdictions and public health, in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Peter Van Metre and Barbara Mahler from the U.S. Geological Survey point out that in 2005, researchers figured out that pavement sealants made from coal tar were contributing high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to the environment. This is a serious public concern because studies have shown that PAHs cause cancer in animals, and they likely impact human health as well.
Water is thought to be embedded in the moon’s rocks or, if cold enough, “stuck” on their surfaces. It’s predominantly found at the poles. But scientists probably won’t find it intact on the sunlit side.
New research at the Georgia Institute of Technology indicates that ultraviolet photons emitted by the sun likely cause H2O molecules to either quickly desorb or break apart. The fragments of water may remain on the lunar surface, but the presence of useful amounts of water on the sunward side is not likely.
Feathers have long been recognized as a classic example of efficient water-shedding — as in the well-known expression “like water off a duck’s back.” A combination of modeling and laboratory tests has now determined how both chemistry — the preening oil that birds use — and the microstructure of feathers, with their barbs and barbules, allow birds to stay dry even after emerging from amazingly deep dives.
The new research, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, studied how cormorants and other diving birds are able to reach depths of some 30 meters without having water permanently wet their protective feathers. The research was carried out by MIT professors Robert Cohen, Michael Rubner and Gareth McKinley; graduate students Siddarth Srinivasan and Shreerang Chhatre; Andrew Parker of London’s Natural History Museum; and two others.
Scientists are using a pioneering method of “caging” and cooling water molecules to study the change in orientation of the magnetic nuclei at the center of each hydrogen atom — a process that transforms the molecule from one form of water to another.
By trapping water molecules in carbon spheres and cooling them, scientists at the universities of Southampton, Nottingham and Columbia Univ., have been able to follow the change in form (or isomer) of the molecules. The results of this work may one day help to enhance the diagnostic power of MRI scans.
If you don’t want to die of thirst in the desert, be like the beetle. Or have a nanotube cup handy. New research by scientists at Rice Univ. demonstrated that forests of carbon nanotubes can be made to harvest water molecules from arid desert air and store them for future use.
The invention they call a “hygroscopic scaffold” is detailed in a new paper in ACS’ Applied Materials and Interfaces. Researchers in the lab of Rice materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan found a way to mimic the Stenocara beetle, which survives in the desert by stretching its wings to capture and drink water molecules from the early morning fog.
Researchers from Northwestern Univ. and the Univ. of New Mexico have reported evidence for potentially oceans worth of water deep beneath the U.S. Though not in the familiar liquid form — the ingredients for water are bound up in rock deep in the Earth’s mantle — the discovery may represent the planet’s largest water reservoir.
The presence of liquid water on the surface is what makes our “blue planet” habitable, and scientists have long been trying to figure out just how much water may be cycling between Earth’s surface and interior reservoirs through plate tectonics.
The Supreme Court ruled today, June 9, that a group of homeowners in North Carolina can’t sue a company that contaminated their drinking water decades ago because a state deadline has lapsed, a decision that could prevent thousands of other property owners in similar cases from recovering damages after being exposed to toxic waste.
In a seven to two decision, the justices said state law strictly bars any lawsuit brought more than 10 years after the contamination occurred — even if residents did not realize their water was polluted until years later.
A chemist at the Univ. of Bath has teamed up with the UK Barista Champion to find the best type of water for making coffee. Now, the pair are heading to the World Barista Championships in Italy, on June 8, to share their coffee chemistry knowledge with the rest of the world.
Christopher Hendon, a PhD student from the Univ. of Bath’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, embarked on the project in his spare time with friend Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, owner of Colonna and Small’s coffee shop in Bath, after a discussion about why the taste of coffee varies so much.
Every Thursday, Laboratory Equipment features a Scientist of the Week, chosen from the science industry’s latest headlines. This week’s scientist is Daniele Lantagne, from Tufts Univ. With a team, she found that the EPA’s recommendations for treating water after a natural disaster or other emergencies call for more chlorine bleach than is necessary to kill disease-causing pathogens, and are often impractical to carry out.
Researchers from the Univ. of Twente in the Netherlands have taken the precise art of origami down to the microscopic scale. Using only a drop of water, the scientists have folded flat sheets of silicon nitride into cubes, pyramids, half soccer-ball-shaped bowls and long triangular structures that resemble Toblerone chocolate bars, which are almost too tiny to see with the naked eye.
"While making 3-D structures is natural in everyday life, it has always been extremely difficult to do so in microfabrication, especially if you want to build a large number of structures cheaply," says Antoine Legrain, a graduate student at the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology at the Univ. of Twente. To help solve the challenge of building in miniature, researchers have turned to the technique of self-assembly, in which natural forces such as magnetism or surface tension trigger a shape change.
Next time you spot an earthworm sliding through fresh dirt, take a closer look. What you’re seeing is an organic movement called peristaltic locomotion that has been meticulously refined by nature.
Jarod Gregory, an undergraduate student in the Univ. of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, used a worm’s contracting and expanding motion to provide a way for gels to swim in water.
After experiencing its driest winter on record, Israel is responding as never before — by doing nothing.
While previous droughts have been accompanied by impassioned public service advertisements to conserve, this time around it has been greeted with a shrug — thanks in large part to an aggressive desalination program that has transformed this perennially parched land into perhaps the most well-hydrated country in the region.