Apropos K

Overview: Apropos K

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Polymers that mimic chameleon skin


Biological tissues have complex mechanical properties – soft-yet-strong, tough-yet-flexible – that are difficult to reproduce using synthetic materials. An international team has managed to produce a biocompatible synthetic material that replicates tissue mechanics and alters color when it changes shape, like chameleon skin. They promise new materials for biomedical devices.
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Plastic in organic waste: a challenge for the ecological recycling economy


Private households that put plastic materials in their organic waste bins are contributing to environmental pollution. The reason is that communal facilities often use these wastes to produce biogas and process the final residue into organic fertilizer. Tiny plastic particles frequently remain in these fertilizers, thus making their way into soil and water. This was suggested by a study at ...
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110 years ago: windscreen wiper patent for Prince Henry of Prussia


If it did not exist already, it would need to be invented – the windscreen wiper. When cars still had to manage without windscreen wipers, frustrated drivers all over the world racked their brains trying to come up with a way to make it easier to see the road ahead in rainy weather and when the windscreen was dirty. So plenty of different people can claim to have invented the windscreen wiper. ...
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“Holding your world together”: a brief history of the rubber band


173 years ago, on 17. March 1845, the London industrialist Stephen Perry was granted the patent for the production of elastic bands from vulcanised natural rubber. Since then, he has been considered the inventor of the rubber band, although he benefitted from the work done previously by one of his compatriots. The English-speaking world still continues to dominate the headlines where rubber ...
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Hidden talents: Converting heat into electricity with pencil, plastic and paper


Thermoelectric materials can use thermal differences to generate electricity. Now there is an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way of producing them with the simplest of components: a normal pencil, photocopy paper, and conductive paint are sufficient to convert a temperature difference into electricity via the thermoelectric effect.
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Significant figures in the history of plastics: Dr. Fritz Klatte


Significant figures in the history of plastics: Dr Fritz Klatte, one of the pioneers of plastics chemistry, died on 11. February 1934. The patents he obtained in 1912 and 1913 formed the basis for the first thermoplastic polymers, particularly polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
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Tracking odors and emissions from Polymers


On March 20 and 21, 2018 producers, users, experts from government agencies and independent experts meet for the “20th Conference on Odour and Emissions of Plastic Materials“ at the University of Kassel Institute for Material Technology.
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Nature-inspired soft millirobot


Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems invented a magnetically controlled soft robot only four millimeters in size, that can walk, crawl or roll through uneven terrain, carry cargo, climb onto the water surface, and even swim in it. The inspiration comes from soft-bodied beetle larvae and caterpillars, and even jellyfishes posed as biological models.
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Transparent Coatings for Everyday Applications


Water- and dirt-repellent sportswear and outdoor clothing, or anti-fog windshields – there are many everyday products that can profit from highly hydrophobic coatings. For such coatings, researchers led by Dr. Bastian E. Rapp at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have created Fluoropor, a material that is both transparent and abrasion-resistant and that consists of a fluorinated polymer ...
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Learning from mother nature


Under the influence of shear forces, nanoparticles from the secretion of velvet worms form polymer fibres that can be recycled in water
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