Author: Laurie

#NerdWedding: The Readings

Back in December, in the midst of my end-of-year review blog post, I promised to share details of the readings we had at our wedding. I’ve had a few messages and Twitter DMs since, asking me to get on with it, so here you are. More details of the wedding are available in the post linked above: 1. Excerpt from ‘The Amber Spyglass’ by Philip Pullman Very...


Living glues, inspired by marine animals

Chinese researchers develop the world’s first ‘living biofilm’ adhesive with tuneable behaviour Image taken by Thomas Quine, and shared on Flickr The remarkable properties of natural marine adhesives, such as those used by mussels, have long been studied by researchers. Over millennia, these organisms have harnessed diverse proteins, so that they can grip...


Could tomorrow’s silk be self-cleaning and sun-proof?

Textile researchers have found a simple process for coating silk with ZnO Silk fibre being spun. Image taken from a YouTube video of Sara Lamb There’s nothing quite like the feeling of cool, smooth silk on your skin. It’s perhaps one reason why the luxury fabric has retained its popularity many thousands of years after it was first developed. It does have...


2018: The year that was!

As regular readers know, I don’t like making New Year’s resolutions because I think they just set people up to fail, and put a crazy amount of pressure on January. I am, however, a big fan of end-of-year reviews, where I take stock of what’s happened in the previous 12 months. Usually, my reviews are very career-heavy – unsurprising, given how crap I am...


Protecting planes from lightning strikes

Image by Griffinstorm [CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikipedia] Nickel-coated carbon fibres may be a better option than carbon mesh for composite aircraft Driven by the need to reduce weight and improve fuel efficiency, over the past two decades, aircraft manufacturers have increasingly turned to carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFPRP) composites. The world’s largest...


Method to scale-up fabrication of 2D materials

Image owned by Weiwei Lei, Vadym N. Mochalin, Dan Liu, Si Qin, Yury Gogotsi & Ying Chen. Published in Nature, sourced from Wikipedia Could a new exfoliation method offer a practical route to large-scale production of nanosheets? Ever since graphene first made headlines in 2004, the search for alternative 2D materials has turned into a global research...


Can graphene help us avoid sunburn?

Image courtesy of Pixabay Australian researchers combine titanium dioxide and graphene to develop a novel, low-power sun sensor Sunlight is vital to human health. Without regular exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB), our bodies can struggle to make sufficient vitamin D to support the development of strong bones. But too much sunlight can cause sunburn, and if...


Icephobic concrete is a slippery step closer

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, Ian Mackenzie [CC BY 2.0] Can a simple coating stop ice sticking to concrete? Ice is the enemy of infrastructure – roads, railway tracks, and footpaths can all be rendered useless in the depths of winter. Various anti-icing coatings are in common use in the automotive, maritime and aviation industries, but in almost all cases,...


What Urbanites Can Do To Slow Down Climate Change

Feeling overwhelmed by the latest news from the IPCC? Read on to see what you can do in your neighbourhood When it was signed in December 2015, the Paris Climate Agreement was described as a landmark agreement; one that would chart “… a new course in the global climate effort.” Its central goal was to limit global temperature change to “…well below...


Exploring the long-term biocompatibility of implantable nanogenerators

Just how safe are self-powered, implantable medical devices? Image credit: Hellerhoff [CC BY-SA 3.0 , from Wikimedia Commons Piezoelectric materials have been used as transducers or to power small-scale sensors for many years. They can harvest even the smallest deflections from the environment, transforming micro- and nanoscale mechanical energy into useable...