This crystal impurity is sheer perfection

Scientists at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have developed a nanoparticle composite that grows into 3D crystals. The new 3D-grown material could speed up production and eliminate errors in the mass manufacturing of nanoscale photonics for smart buildings or actuators for robotics.

The Future Looks Bright for Infinitely Recyclable Plastic

Plastics are ubiquitous, but they’re not practical. Less than 10% are recycled, and the other ~8 billion tons are creating a pollution crisis. A Berkeley Lab team is determined to change that. A new analysis shows producing and recycling their game-changing new plastic could be easy and cheap enough to leave old plastics in the dust.

Polystyrene waste is everywhere; scientists just found a way to break it down

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and their partners from Clemson University have discovered a green, low-energy process to break down polystyrene, a type of plastic that is widely used in foam packaging materials, disposable food containers, cutlery, and many other applications.

How Does Plastic Debris Make Its Way Into Ocean Garbage Patches?

Researchers in the U.S. and Germany decided to explore which pathways transport debris to the middle of the oceans, causing garbage patches, as well as the relative strengths of different subtropical gyres and how they influence long-term accumulation of debris. In Chaos, they report creating a model of the oceans’ surface dynamics from historical trajectories of surface buoys. Their model describes the probability of plastic debris being transported from one region to another.

Plastics pose threat to human health

Plastics contain and leach hazardous chemicals, including endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that threaten human health. An authoritative new report, Plastics, EDCs, & Health, from the Endocrine Society and the IPEN (International Pollutants Elimination Network), presents a summary of international research on the health impacts of EDCs and describes the alarming health effects of widespread contamination from EDCs in plastics.

Pervasive plastics increase exposure to harmful chemicals

The Endocrine Society and IPEN will release a comprehensive joint report Dec. 15 on endocrine-disrupting chemicals in plastics and the threat they pose to public health. Experts will share highlights from the report during a virtual news conference Dec. 15.

New Science Behind Algae-based Flip-flops

UC San Diego researchers formulated polyurethane foams, made from algae oil, to meet commercial specifications for midsole shoes and the foot-bed of flip-flops. Their latest result, in a series of recent research publications, offers a complete solution to the plastics problem—at least for polyurethanes.

Harmful Microbes Found on Sewer Pipe Walls

Can antibiotic-resistant bacteria escape from sewers into waterways and cause a disease outbreak? A new Rutgers study, published in the journal Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, examined the microbe-laden “biofilms” that cling to sewer walls, and even built a simulated sewer to study the germs that survive within.

Rutgers’ William Roberts, inventor of air-inflated greenhouses, dies

New Brunswick, N.J. (June 9, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick faculty are available to discuss the late William Roberts, who had a 41-year career at Rutgers and invented the air-inflated greenhouse covering system that revolutionized agriculture worldwide. Roberts, a Distinguished…

Using Big Data to Design Gas Separation Membranes

Researchers at Columbia Engineering and the University of South Carolina have developed a method that combines big data and machine learning to selectively design gas-filtering polymer membranes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Their study, published today in Science Advances, is the first to apply an experimentally validated machine learning method to rapidly design and develop advanced gas separation membranes.

Scientists Discover New Clue Behind Age-Related Diseases and Food Spoilage

Berkeley Lab scientists have made a surprising discovery that could help explain our risk for developing chronic diseases or cancers as we get older, and how our food decomposes over time.