Apropos K

Overview: Apropos K

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Plastics innovation inspired by feet


Geckos, spiders and beetles have shown us how to do it: thanks to special adhesive elements on their feet, they can easily run along ceilings or walls. The science of bionics tries to imitate and control such biological functions, for technological applications and the creation of artificial materials. A research team from Kiel University (CAU) has now succeeded in boosting the adhesive ...
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Soil bugs munch on plastics


Thin mulch films made of polyethylene are used in agriculture in numerous countries, where they cause extensive soil contamination. Researchers at ETH Zurich and Eawag have now identified an alternative: films made of the polymer PBAT biodegrade in soils.
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Swim­ming with­out an en­gine and with muscels made of plastics


Us­ing noth­ing but 3D print­ing, sci­en­tists have de­vel­oped a pad­dling sub­ma­rine that re­quires no en­gine, pro­pel­lant or power sup­ply.
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Producing sensors with an inkjet printer


Microelectrodes can be used for direct measurement of electrical signals in the brain or heart. These applications require soft materials, however. With existing methods, attaching electrodes to such materials poses significant challenges. A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now succeeded in printing electrodes directly onto several soft substrates.
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So that Ronaldo & Co. can do their magic


The official ball for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia has received Empa's "stamp of approval" after numerous rigorous tests. Some goalkeepers had been critical of its flight characteristics, but the reason for this may lie somewhere else – the rather unconventional appearance of the new ball.
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Soils in Swiss nature reserves contain significant quantities of microplastics


It is one of the first research projects into the existence of microplastics in the soil: Scientists at the University of Bern investigated floodplain soils in Swiss nature reserves for microplastics – and made a find. They estimate, that there are around 53 tonnes of microplastics lying in the top five centimetres of the floodplain. Even many of the soils in remote, protected mountainous ...
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Improved stability of plastic light-emitting diodes


Polymer light-emitting diodes (PLEDs) are attractive for use in large–area displays and lighting panels, but their limited stability impedes commercialization. Scientists of the Max Planck Institut for Polymer Research (MPIP) in Mainz have discovered the reasons for instability.
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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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