Picture a cool place, teeming with a multitude of hot bodies twirling about in rapidly changing formations of singles and couples, partners and groups, constantly dissolving and reforming.
That's a good description of the shells around dying stars, the place where newly formed elements make compounds and life takes off, said Katharina Lodders, Ph.D., research associate professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.
“The circumstellar environment is where chemistry happens for the very first time,” said Lodders. “It's the first place a newly synthesized element can do chemistry. It's a supermarket of things from dust to gas and dust grains to molecules and atoms.
Researchers at the University of Warwick's Department of Chemistry have found a way of replacing the soap used to stabilize latex emulsion paints with nanotech sized clay armour that can create a much more hard wearing and fire resistant paint.
To date latex emulsion paints have relied on the addition of soaps or similar materials to overcome the polymer parts of the paint's aversion to water, stabilize the paint, and make it work. The University of Warwick chemistry researchers led by Dr Stefan Bon have found a simple way to individually coat the polymer particles used in such paints with a series of nanosized Laponite clay discs.
The discs effectively create an armoured layer on the individual polymer latex particles in the paint.
Want to make the perfect bandage? Mix the adhesive properties of the Mussel and the Gecko.
Scientists report they have merged two of nature’s most elegant strategies for wet and dry adhesion to produce a synthetic material that one day could lead to more durable and longer-lasting bandages, patches, and surgical materials.
The scientists, supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health, have designed a synthetic material that starts with the dry adhesive properties of the gecko lizard and supplements it with the underwater adhesive properties of a mussel.
The hybrid material, which they call a geckel nanoadhesive, proved in initial testing to be adherent under dry and wet conditions.
This post provides an update of our CombiUgi project. From a larger perspective I think that this can be useful to people interested in how collaborative Open Science actually works.
For those who have not been following the progress of the CombiUgi project
on our mailing list
, here is a brief update.
The basic idea is to generate libraries of compounds that can be made quickly in the lab. The compounds in these virtual libraries are then prioritized according to potential usefulness (anti-malaria, anti-tumor, etc.).
A detailed understanding of key chemical reactions that take place in interstellar space has been provided by groundbreaking research at two U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories and two European universities.
Argonne National Laboratory senior chemist Stephen Klippenstein – along with colleagues at Sandia National Laboratories; the Institute of Physics, University of Rennes, France; and the University of Cambridge, U.K. – has developed a detailed understanding of the dynamics of reactions between neutral radicals and neutral molecules, known as “neutral-neutral” reactions, at temperatures as low as 20 Kelvin, approximately the temperature of interstellar space.
As I've recently commented, there has been media interest
in the use of the virtual online world Second Life
for chemistry. We also recently demonstrated on Drexel Island
that it was possible to visualize molecular docking
using the molecular rezzer developed by Andrew Lang.
Nature Island also hosts several common molecules
, including buckyballs.
Chemists from UCLA and the University of Florence in Italy may have solved an important mystery about a protein that plays a key role in a particular form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disorder that strikes without warning.
Joan Selverstone Valentine, UCLA professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has studied the protein — copper-zinc superoxide dismutase — since the 1970s, long before it was implicated in ALS in 1993. Since the link was discovered, Valentine’s laboratory has made more than two dozen mutant, ALS-causing enzymes, most of which have only one wrong amino acid out of 153, to try to understand their properties and learn what makes them toxic.
Any machinist will tell you that a little grease goes a long way toward making a tool work better. And that may soon hold true for plastic electronics as well.
Carnegie Mellon University chemists have found that grease can make some innovative plastics vastly better electrical conductors. They outline a chemical process that could become widely adopted to produce the next generation of tiny switches for transistors in radio frequency identification tags, flexible screen displays, and debit or key cards.
Rich Apodaca wrote
about using his InChIMatic
service to track molecules in UsefulChem
Because we use InChIs
in blog posts and HTML pages
generated automatically from the molecules blog
, doing an InChI search in Google is a pretty good way to find molecules of interest to UsefulChem.
We deal with ice every day. Yet we don't all there is to know about it. Now Dr Angelos Michaelides and Professor Karina Morgenstern say they have made a breakthrough in understanding how ice works.
Dr Michaelides said, “We are all familiar with the freezing of water. It features prominently in our daily lives, from fridge freezers to winter snow. Despite all this, the question of how individual water molecules come together and give birth to ice crystals remains mysterious.”
Understanding the process of ice nucleation at a molecular level also takes us a step closer to understanding the mysterious process through which ice forms around microscopic dust particles in the upper atmosphere.