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.
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.
Scientists examined cell abundances, size, cellular carbon mass, and how photosynthetic cells differ on polymeric and glass substrates over time, exploring nanoparticle generation from plastic like polystyrene and how this might disrupt microalgae. Conservative estimates suggest that about 1 percent of microbial cells in the ocean surface microlayer inhabit plastic debris globally. This mass of cells would not exist without plastic debris in the ocean, and thus, represents a disruption of the proportions of native flora in that habitat.
Many of us have seen informational posters at parks or aquariums specifying how long plastics bags, bottles, and other products last in the environment. They’re a good reminder to not litter, but where does the information on the lifetime expectancy of plastic goods come from, and how reliable is it?
Polystyrene persists in the environment for millennia, according to some international governmental agencies. But now researchers have challenged this common assumption with the finding that sunlight can break down polystyrene over a much shorter time scale, from decades to centuries.