"We were blown away" – researchers eliminate obstacles to fusion energy

November 15, 2017 by  
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Fusion powers the sun, and if we could harness it here on Earth, we could obtain unlimited clean energy . Scientists have been working on that aim for years, and now researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory , Massachusetts Institute of Technology , and Texas A&M University just made a huge leap forwards. Helium , a byproduct of the process, typically bubbles and weakens the materials comprising a fusion reactor . But inside of nanocomposite solids, instead of the metal of regular fusion reactors, helium doesn’t form into destructive bubbles – it actually tunnels vein-like channels to potentially escape. Fusion energy isn’t easy to generate in part because of the difficulty in finding materials able to withstand the grueling conditions inside a fusion reactor’s core. These researchers may have found an answer by exploring how helium behaves in nanocomposite solids – and the results surprised them. Because while helium doesn’t endanger the environment , according to Texas A&M University, it does damage fusion reactor materials. Inside a solid material, helium bubbles out, akin to carbon dioxide in carbonated water. Related: These mini spherical reactors could help scale fusion energy by 2030 Michael Demkowicz, Texas A&M associate professor, said, “Literally, you get these helium bubbles inside of the metal that stay there forever because the metal is solid. As you accumulate more and more helium, the bubbles start to link up and destroy the entire material.” But inside nanocomposite solids – which Texas A&M describes as “materials made of stacks of thick metal layers” – helium didn’t bubble. Instead, it actually made channels similar to human veins. Demkowicz said, “We were blown away by what we saw. As you put more and more helium inside these nanocomposites, rather than destroying the material, the veins actually start to interconnect, resulting in kind of a vascular system.” And the researchers think the helium could then flow out of the material “without causing any further damage,” according to Texas A&M. The surprising discovery could have more applications than in just fusion reactors. Demkowicz said, “I think the bigger picture here is in vascularized solids…What else could be transported through such networks? Perhaps heat or electricity or even chemicals that could help the material self-heal .” The journal Science Advances published the research this month. Via Texas A&M University and Futurism Images via Wikimedia Commons and Texas A&M University

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"We were blown away" – researchers eliminate obstacles to fusion energy

World’s largest aircraft can fly without a crew for three weeks straight

March 22, 2016 by  
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The largest aircraft in the world measures 302 feet long, and it’s almost ready to take off. British aeronautical firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) has unveiled the Airlander 10, an experimental airship with an impressive list of capabilities. The aircraft can haul literal tons of cargo, and is also designed to stay in the air, without a human crew, for up to three weeks. The airship is held aloft with the help of helium, but make no mistake: this is not just another Goodyear blimp. Read the rest of World’s largest aircraft can fly without a crew for three weeks straight

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World’s largest aircraft can fly without a crew for three weeks straight

Arthur Kupreychuk’s Surrealist ‘Under the Cloud’ Railway Station is Topped With a Floating Roof

March 1, 2013 by  
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Arthur Kupreychuk’s creative design for a train station in Sevastopol, Ukraine , consists of a passenger terminal building with a cloud-shaped canopy suspended above it. The supporting structure of the canopy is similar to the structure of an airship. “The shell is filled with helium, and an aluminum frame consisting of longitudinal and transverse trusses makes the external form hard,” Kupreychuk explains . “The gas is inside a rigid framework in bags made of a gas-tight material, facing is made of fiberglass uniform panels.” The cloud-shaped mass would hover over the green-roofed main terminal of the train station, making it one of the most unique train stations in the world. Images © Arthur Kupreychuk The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: airship , Arthur Kupreychuk , blimp , floating architecture , green design , green roof , helium , Sevastopol , surreal architecture , train station , train station design , ukraine , Under the Cloud

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Arthur Kupreychuk’s Surrealist ‘Under the Cloud’ Railway Station is Topped With a Floating Roof

Boston Dynamics Equips BigDog Robot With an Arm Strong Enough to Throw Cinder Blocks

March 1, 2013 by  
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Over the years, robotics company Boston Dynamics has developed a number of robots that take inspiration from nature such as the Cheetah , PETMAN and Rise . Among the most famous of their designs is BigDog, a rough-terrain robot that can walk, run, climb and carry heavy loads. Recently Boston Dynamics equipped the heavy-duty machine with a power arm that is powerful enough to lift and toss a heavy cinder block. Read the rest of Boston Dynamics Equips BigDog Robot With an Arm Strong Enough to Throw Cinder Blocks Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: all terrain robot , bigdog , bigdog robot , Boston Dynamics , cheetah , darpa , ls3 , power arm , robots , us army robot

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Boston Dynamics Equips BigDog Robot With an Arm Strong Enough to Throw Cinder Blocks

Pont de Singe is a Hanging Bridge Suspended by Helium-Filled Balloons in the UK

November 14, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Pont de Singe is a Hanging Bridge Suspended by Helium-Filled Balloons in the UK Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Art , Design , eco design , floating bridge , floating structures , futuristic bridge , hanging bridge , helium , Leonardo da Vinci , Olivier Grossetête , Pont de Singe , public art , sustainable design , Tattum Japanese Garden , UK

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Pont de Singe is a Hanging Bridge Suspended by Helium-Filled Balloons in the UK

Inflatable Bike Case Makes Taking Your Bike Easier

March 14, 2010 by  
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Image: biknd For all those times you wish you could have brought your bike with you on the train, bus or plane, now there is Biknd Helium. The Helium bike case is not quite lighter than air, but definitely lighter than a standard hard case, weighing in at a mere than 9.5 kg (20.9 lbs)

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Inflatable Bike Case Makes Taking Your Bike Easier

Happy Pi Day From TreeHugger and Planet Green

March 14, 2010 by  
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We are big fans of Pi Day and have been celebrating it for years, last year with this yummy mushroom and barley pie .

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Happy Pi Day From TreeHugger and Planet Green

TONIGHT: Jessica Biel, Emile Hirsch, and Kenna Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in ‘Summit on the Summit’ Documentary (Video)

March 14, 2010 by  
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Jessica Biel, Kenna, and Emile Hirsch attend Summit on the Summit premier at the Tribeca Grand Hotel in NYC. Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Wireimage We have been covering the Summit on the Summit expedition, to raise awareness of the global clean water crisis, since it was

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TONIGHT: Jessica Biel, Emile Hirsch, and Kenna Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in ‘Summit on the Summit’ Documentary (Video)

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