Harvard researchers just developed self-healing rubber

August 22, 2017 by  
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You’ve heard of self-healing concrete and even the potential of a self-healing starship , but what about rubber that repairs itself? The invention now exists, thanks to researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). In a new study published in Advanced Materials , the research team reveals how they developed a hybrid rubber with both covalent and reversible bonds that is capable of repairing itself. While self-healing materials aren’t new (researchers at SEAS created self-healing hydrogens which rely on water to incorporate reversible bonds that promote self-healing), this is the first time engineers have created a self-healing rubber. The task was difficult, as rubber is made of polymers often connected by permanent, covalent bonds. Because the bonds are strong, they never reconnect once broken. The researchers overcame this by making the bonds connecting the polymers reversible, so the material could break and reform. Related: This rubber-jointed LED table lamp can bend in any direction like Gumby To mix covalent and reversible bonds, the researchers developed a molecular rope (called randomly branched polymers) which tied the two types of bonds together. This rope allowed two previously unmixable bonds (“like oil and water,” according to Li-Heng Cai, a corresponding author) to be mixed homogeneously on a molecular scale. It was this step that produced the self-healing rubber. Unlike typical rubber, the self-healing variety redistributes stress so there is no localized point of trauma that results in cracking. When the stress is released, the material “snaps back” to its original form and the cracks repair themselves. Harvard’s Office of Technology Development has already filed a patent for the technology and is seeking commercialization opportunities. This means that in the very near future, objects that utilize rubber are likely to become more durable. Cai, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS, Jinrong Wu, a visiting professor from Sichuan University, China , and author David A. Weitz, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, developed the hybrid rubber as a team. Their research was supported by the National Science Foundation, Harvard Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and the National Institute of Health/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. “There is still a lot more to do. For materials science , it is not fully understood why this hybrid rubber exhibits crazes when stretched,” Weitz said. “For engineering, the applications of the hybrid rubber that take advantage of its exceptional combination of optical transparency, toughness , and self-healing ability remain to be explored. Moreover, the concept of using molecular design to mix covalent and reversible bonds to create a homogenous hybrid elastomer is quite general and should enable development of tough, self-healing polymers of practical usage.” + Advanced Materials Via GreenCarCongress Images via Pixabay ,  Peter and Ryan Allen/Harvard SEAS

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Harvard researchers just developed self-healing rubber

Trump administration disbands climate change advisory panel

August 22, 2017 by  
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Donald Trump’s administration appears determined to sweep away federal efforts to address climate change . The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the administration would disband the Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment , a group comprised of academics, officials, and representatives from corporations. Committee chair Richard Moss said the risky move could hurt the economic prospects of the next generation. The charter for the 15-person advisory panel, established in 2015 for the National Climate Assessment , expired over the weekend on Sunday. On Friday, acting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ben Friedman told the committee chair they wouldn’t be renewing the panel. Related: Trump’s USDA staff told to use ‘weather extremes’ instead of ‘climate change’ The National Climate Assessment is supposed to come out every four years in accordance with a 1990 law calling for the assessment, but has only come out three times since. The next assessment is scheduled for 2018. The Washington Post reported the Trump administration has been going over the Climate Science Special Report, which is crucial to the next National Climate Assessment. Scientists from 13 federal agencies said in the special report that human activity likely led to a global temperature increase from 1.1 to 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit between 1951 and 2010. NOAA communications director Julie Roberts told The Washington Post in an email that the move to disband the panel “does not impact the completion of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which remains a key priority.” But the advisory panel’s job was to help translate National Climate Assessment findings into guidance for officials in both the public and private sectors, so the decision could leave state officials with little guidance on how to consider climate change in infrastructure . Seattle mayor Ed Murray said the move is “…an example of the president not leading, and the president stepping away from reality.” Via The Washington Post Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Derek Liang on Unsplash

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Ford introduces the first-ever hybrid police car

April 28, 2017 by  
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When you think of police cars, visions of large, powerful and gas-hungry vehicles probably come to mind. Well, that vision of the “dirty” police car may change forever with Ford’s first-ever hybrid police car: meet the Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan. Ford currently more police vehicles in the United States than any other car-maker, with 63 percent market share. The Police Responder Hybrid Sedan is expected help cities’ Police departments decrease emissions and save fuel. The hybrid sedan is rated at an EPA-estimated combined gas mileage of 38 mpg – more than twice that of today’s Police Interceptor. The Police Responder Hybrid Sedan is powered by an Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery. The hybrid is calibrated for law enforcement’s unique duty cycle and will run in battery-only mode up to 60 mph. Related: Beijing creates new environmental police force to crack down on smog Police vehicles spend lots of time idling, so the the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan’s lithium-ion battery helps power the high electrical loads of the police vehicle, reducing engine run time and saving an estimated 0.27 gallons of fuel per hour. Ford estimates that Police Responder Hybrid Sedan customers could see nearly $3,900 a year in potential fuel savings per vehicle relative to the Police Interceptor. The Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan is making its debut in Los Angeles and New York, but Ford hopes to start delivering them nationwide by next summer. + Ford Images @Ford

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2017 BMW 740e turns BMW’s flagship sedan into a plug-in hybrid

August 8, 2016 by  
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With the recent introductions of the 3 Series and X5 plug-in hybrids, it was only a matter of time until BMW’s flagship sedan debuted with its own electrified powertrain. BMW has unveiled the 740e plug-in hybrid, which will be offered in three versions when it goes on sale later this year. With up to 30 miles of fully-electric driving range, the 740e plug-in hybrid may not be able to take on the Tesla Model S, but it represents a move in the right direction. When the 740e goes on sale, BMW is going to offer the large flagship sedan in three versions: BMW 740e iPerformance, long-wheelbase BMW 740Le iPerformance and BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance. All three versions are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is mated to an electric motor to generate a total 326 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. The hybrid powertrain sends its power via an 8-speed automatic to either the rear or all four wheels. Depending on which model you choose, the 740e plug-in hybrid can travel between 25-30 miles in electric mode and it will take less than four hours to recharge from a domestic power socket and in under three hours from a BMW i Wallbox. Related: The 2017 BMW i3 gets an upgraded battery for 50% more driving range Just like BMW’s other electrified models, the 740e will offer different driving modes to suit the driver and improve the 740e’s efficiency. An eDrive button will allow the driver to choose between the Auto and Max drive settings. The Auto setting is the default setting that seeks to maximize range the 704e’s electric driving range by powering up the gasoline engine at 50 mph or if the driver floors it. With the Max setting, the 740e defaults to electric-only mode and can stay in this mode up to 87 mph. In the Max setting, the engine will still power up under spirited driving. There are other modes to control power usage: Adaptive, Comfort, Sport, and EcoPro. A Battery Control function allows the driver to force the 740e’s powertrain to maintain the battery charge anywhere between 30 and 100 percent that way electric power can be reserved. BMW hasn’t released all the pricing details for the 740e, but it’s expected to start around $90k, when it arrives in U.S. showrooms in the next month or two. + BMW All images @ BMW

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2017 BMW 740e turns BMW’s flagship sedan into a plug-in hybrid

John Elkington and the search for What’s Next

May 19, 2016 by  
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John Elkington has long been at the forefront of sustainability — including naming his hybrid think tank-consultancy SustainAbility way back in 1987, when almost nobody was using that term. Since then he coined the terms “triple bottom line,” “green growth,” “green consumer” and “people, profit and planet,” among others. He has foreseen more trends in the environmental and sustainability realm than most of us will ever experience. He always seems to know what’s next.

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Kia unveils one of the most fuel-efficient crossovers you can buy

February 12, 2016 by  
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Kia is proving that it is possible to create a fuel efficient SUV with the debut of their 2017 Kia Niro hybrid. The Niro hybrid is the automaker’s first dedicated hybrid , and with a combined rating of 50 mpg, they demonstrate it is possible to combine the SUV design that buyers love without sacrificing fuel efficiency. Read the rest of Kia unveils one of the most fuel-efficient crossovers you can buy

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Kia unveils one of the most fuel-efficient crossovers you can buy

Hyundai’s new hybrid Ioniq is the first car to take on the Toyota Prius

January 12, 2016 by  
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The Toyota Prius still holds the title as the best-selling hybrid ever, but now it’s about to get some new competition from Hyundai. Hyundai has set its eyes squarely on the Prius with its first dedicated hybrid, the 2017 Ioniq. While the Prius is only offered in hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions, the Ioniq takes things a step further by becoming the first model to be offered in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric versions. Read the rest of Hyundai’s new hybrid Ioniq is the first car to take on the Toyota Prius

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After three long years the BMW i8 Spyder is finally about to become a reality

December 8, 2015 by  
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It’s been three long years since BMW unveiled the i8 Spyder concept, which is essentially an open top version of the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. Now BMW has announced the company is finally going to put the i8 Spyder into production. CEO Harald Krueger said it will arrive in the “near future.” Read the rest of After three long years the BMW i8 Spyder is finally about to become a reality

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The 2016 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid is faster, more powerful, and more efficient than its non-hybrid counterpart

November 20, 2015 by  
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Think hybrid cars compromise on performance? Think again – Toyota’s new 2016 Rav4 Hybrid is better than its non-hybrid counterpart in every way. It’s faster, more powerful, and it has the best fuel economy in its class. And here’s the real kicker: the 2016 Rav4 Limited Hybrid only costs $700 more than the non-hybrid model. Read the rest of The 2016 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid is faster, more powerful, and more efficient than its non-hybrid counterpart

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The all-new 2016 Toyota Prius will debut on September 8

August 21, 2015 by  
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It’s hard to believe that the current Toyota Prius has been on the market for almost seven years, but an all-new Prius is just around the corner. Toyota has confirmed that the next-generation 2016 Toyota Prius is going to debut next month in Las Vegas. What can we expect from the all-new Prius? Toyota has yet to release the big details about the new car, but we do know that it will keep its familiar shape and should top the current model’s 50 mpg rating. Read the rest of The all-new 2016 Toyota Prius will debut on September 8

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