What early-budding trees tell us about genetics, climate change

Late frosts caused millions of dollars in losses for orchards. Scientists at Michigan Technological University investigate the genes that tell trees when to bud out and blossom, which enables scientists to modify or select crop varieties more resilient to late frost, warming winters, diseases and pests.

Catching electrons in action in an antiferromagnetic nanowire

The electron is one of the fundamental particles in nature we read about in school. Its behavior holds clues to new ways to store digital data. A new study explores alternative materials to improve capacity and shrink the size of digital data storage technologies. Specifically, the Michigan Tech team found that chromium-doped nanowires with a germanium core and silicon shell can be an antiferromagnetic semiconductor.

Cooperative eco-driving automation improves energy efficiency and safety

Connected, automated vehicles promise to save energy and improve safety. Michigan Tech engineers propose a modeling framework for cooperative driving. Simulation results show that the cooperative automated eco-driving algorithm saves energy — 7% under light traffic and 23% under heavy traffic.

MTU Experts in Snow, Solar, and Power Outages

Michigan Technological University resides in the Keweenaw, a part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that gets more than 200 inches of snow every winter. Michigan Tech researchers—engineers, sociologists, computer scientists—study renewable energy grids, their strengths and weaknesses, community resilience and impact…

MTU students win NASA’s BIG Idea Challenge

MTU students took home top honors — the Artemis Award — in NASA’s Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge. Eight university teams competed in the BIG Idea Challenge for 2020, called the Lunar PSR Challenge. The goal? Demonstrating different technologies and designs to study and explore the moon’s permanently shadowed regions (PSRs), which NASA officials note are a formidable challenge for space exploration.

New Great Lakes modeling improves operational forecast system

Forecasting the water levels, temperatures, and currents of the Great Lakes is important because conditions on the lakes affect commerce, recreation, and community well-being. These forecasts comprise the Great Lakes Operational Forecast System (GLOFS), an automated model-based prediction system operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Michigan Tech helps NOAA improve the GLOFS model.

Almost Alien: Antarctic Subglacial Lakes are Cold, Dark and Full of Secrets

More than half of the planet’s fresh water is in Antarctica. While most of it is frozen in the ice sheets, underneath the ice pools and streams of water flow into one another and into the Southern Ocean surrounding the continent. Understanding the movement of this water, and what is dissolved in it as solutes, reveals how carbon and nutrients from the land may support life in the coastal ocean.

MTU Engineers Zap and Unstick Underwater Smart Glue

Turning adhesion on and off is what makes a glue smart. Inspired by nature, catechols are synthetic compounds that mimic the wet-but-still-sticky proteins found in mussel feet and offer promise for underwater glue, wound dressings, prosthetic attachments or even making car parts and in other manufacturing. A Michigan Tech team has used electricity for the first time to deactivate a catechol-containing adhesive in salt water.

New threads: Nanowires made of tellurium and nanotubes hold promise for wearable tech

Wearable tech requires both strength and flexibility. A new nanowire design — a boron nitride nanotube (BNNT) filled with tellurium atomic chains — holds promise for electronics triggered by light and pressure. In collaboration with Purdue University, Washington University and University of Texas at Dallas, Michigan Tech physicists created and tested the new nanowire alongside carbon nanotubes.

MTU engineers examine lithium battery defects

Lithium dendrites cause poor performance and even explosions in batteries with flammable liquid electrolytes. How these dendrites grow, even with a solid electrolytes, is still a mystery, but materials engineers at MTU and Oak Ridge study the conditions that enable dendrites and how to stop them.

Siting Cell Towers Needs Careful Planning

The health impacts of radio-frequency radiation (RFR) are still inconclusive, but the data to date warrants more caution in placing cell towers. An engineering team from Michigan Tech considers the current understanding of health impacts and possible solutions, which indicate a 500 meters (one third of a mile) buffer around schools and hospitals may help reduce risk for vulnerable populations.