The Science of Distilling

One brave man is distilling his own potent, yet drinkable, biofuel. Of course, there’s quite a bit of electrochemistry involved via this reflux still.

WARNING: Distilling alcohol is illegal in many places. (It can also be pretty dangerous for the novice distiller, so let’s leave this one to Hackett.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smaller, More Powerful Li-Ion Battery

SolidEnergy’s anode consists of a thin piece of lithium on copper that’s less than a fifth the size of a graphite anode.Image: Forbes/Bloomberg/Getty Images

SolidEnergy’s anode consists of a thin piece of lithium on copper that’s less than a fifth the size of a graphite anode.
Image: Forbes/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Researchers around the world are in a scientific race to develop a near-perfect lithium-ion battery, and a startup from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) may have just unlocked the secret.

In 2012, Qichao Hu founded SolidEnergy – a startup that grew out of research and academics from MIT. Qichao started with battery technology that he and ECS member Donald Sadoway developed.

Now, the company is claiming to have built a lithium-ion battery that could change battery technology as we know it.

Continue reading

Posted in Batteries | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Member Spotlight – Yossef Elabd

Dr. Yossef Elabd, professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University, has developed two fuel cell vehicle platforms for both present day enhancements and future innovation.Image: Texas A&M University

Dr. Yossef Elabd, professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University, has developed two fuel cell vehicle platforms for both present day enhancements and future innovation.
Image: Texas A&M University

The Electrochemical Society’s Yossef A. Elabd is using electrochemical science to work toward global sustainability with his new advancements in fuel cell car technology.

Elabd, an active member of ECS’s Battery Division, has developed two fuel cell vehicle platforms for both present day enhancements and future innovation – focusing not only on the science, but also the environment.

“I just want to drive my car with water vapor coming out the back of it,” Elabd said.

With this new technology and initiatives such as the ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship, Elabd’s statement may become an achievable reality for many people in the near future.

The idea of the fuel cell vehicle is every environmentalist’s dream, but the current issues deal with the sustainability of the vehicle. The current fuel cell car uses a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyte for its platinum-based electrodes.

Continue reading

Posted in Member Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bill Nye + Deflategate = Climate Change?

Bill Nye the Science Guy drops some science on the Patriots and takes the opportunity to deliver a message on climate change.

Posted in Distractions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cyborg Cockroaches Detect and Trace Sound (Video)

The technology is designed to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.Image: Eric Whitmire

The technology is designed to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.
Image: Eric Whitmire

Science can be a strange and wondrous world of extraordinary innovation and unbelievable discovery. Now, one of our favorite scientific innovations has made its return: the cyborg cockroach.

As you may remember, ECS Board Member and Senior VP Dan Scherson once co-authored a paper that detailed how a cyborg cockroach can generate and transmit signals wirelessly. (You can check paper out here – it’s open access!)

Now cyborg cockroaches are making their way back into science with a new study that uses the roaches to pick up sounds with small microphones and seek out the source of that sound.

The purpose of this development is to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of an accident.

Continue reading

Posted in Electrochemistry | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beyond Open Access

"The unique and longer-term part of our OA plan is to "Free the Science™": to provide all ECS content at no cost to anyone—no fees for authors, readers, and libraries."

“The unique and longer-term part of our OA plan is to “Free the Science™“: to provide all ECS content at no cost to anyone—no fees for authors, readers, and libraries.”

Published in the latest issue of Interface.

The models of scientific communication and publication—which have served us all so well for so long—are no longer fully meeting the spirit of the ECS mission, may not be financially viable, and are hurting the dissemination of the results of scientific research.

The future of Open Access (OA) can change not only scholarly publishing, but can change the nature of scientific communication itself. OA has the power to more “evenly distribute” the advantages currently given to those who can easily access the outputs of scientific research.

ECS has long been concerned with facilitating that access, and our mission has been to disseminate the content from within our technical domain, as broadly as possible, and with as few barriers as possible. To accomplish this, we have maintained a robust, high-quality, high-impact publishing program for over 100 years.

Several years ago, ECS started taking a serious look at the challenges facing us in fulfilling our mission, specifically with respect to our publishing program. The challenges—faced by others in publishing, to a greater or lesser degree—are many and have become increasingly sever.

When a commercial scientific publisher is taking a 35% net profit out of the system, compared with under 2% by ECS, something is not only wrong, but it is clear that some publishers will do anything and everything they can to keep maintaining that level of profit. For many, journal publishing has indeed become a business.

Read the rest.

Posted in Open Access | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deep-Fried Graphene for Energy Storage

The 5-µm-diameter graphene balls in these scanning electron microscope images contain graphene nanosheets radiating outward from the center.Credit: Chem. Mater.

The 5-µm-diameter graphene balls in these scanning electron microscope images contain graphene nanosheets radiating outward from the center.
Credit: Chem. Mater.

Materials scientists have developed a new technique that could provide a simpler and more effective way to produce electrode materials for batteries and supercapacitors, which could potentially lead to devices with improved energy and power densities.

The researchers have unlocked this new battery technology by exposing tiny bits of graphene to a process that is very similar to deep-frying.

Prior to this development, scientists had difficulty using graphene in electrodes due to the difficulty encountered when processing the material. However, the researchers out of Yonsei University have learned how to harness the material’s electrical and mechanical properties while retaining its high surface are by using an alternative technique.

Continue reading

Posted in Batteries | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Real Science of an Alkali Metal Explosion

The team demonstrated that the alloy becomes incredibly unstable as a result of the excess positive charge.

The team demonstrated that the alloy becomes incredibly unstable as a result of the excess positive charge.

You may remember the classic alkali metal explosion demonstration in one of your early chemistry classes. Many educators use this experiment to show the volatile power of chemistry. The thought was that the unstable reaction was caused by the ignition of hydrogen gas, but scientists in the Czech Republic have found new information behind this classic demonstration by using high-speed video.

The researchers began investigating the science behind this experiment by dropping a sodium-potassium alloy droplet into water. From there, they recorded the explosion with a high-speed camera that is capable of capturing 10,000 frames per second.

Of course, there’s a video.

Continue reading

Posted in Electrochemistry | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Modeling Corrosion, Atom by Atom

corrosion_atom_by_atomAn article by Christopher D. Taylor in the latest issue of Interface.

In the late 20th century, computer programs emerged that could solve the fundamental quantum mechanical equations that control the interactions of atoms that give rise to bonding. These tools, first applied to molecules and bulk solid materials, then began to be applied to surfaces and, in the early 21st century, to electrochemical environments. Commercial and open-source programs are now readily available and can be used on both desktop and high-performance computing platforms to solve for the electronic structure of a given configuration of atomic centers (nuclei) and, in so doing, provide the basis for determining a whole host of properties, including electronic and vibrational spectra, electrical moments such as the system dipole, and, most importantly, the energy and forces on the atoms. Other derived properties include the extent to which each atom is charged and bond-orders, although to compute these latter properties one of a variety of methods for dividing up and quantifying the electron density associated with each atom must be selected.

The physics behind these codes is complex, and, challengingly, has no rigorous analytical solution that can be obtained within a finite allotment of time. Thus, the computer programs themselves take advantage of approximations that allow for a feasible solution but, at the same time, constrain the accuracy of the result. Nonetheless, solutions can usually be reliably obtained for model systems representing materials, interfaces, or molecules that do not exceed thousands, and, more realistically, hundreds of atoms. Given that system sizes of hundreds or thousands of atoms amount to no more than the smallest nanoparticle of a substance, the question arises: What can atomistic simulations teach us about corrosion?

Read the rest.

Posted in Electrochemistry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet the Glasgow Organizers

Glasgow_blog_imageThe ECS Conference on Electrochemical Energy Conversion & Storage with SOFC-XIV convening in Glasgow, Scotland at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre from July 26-31, 2015 is the first of a series of planned biennial conferences in Europe by ECS on electrochemical energy conversion/storage materials, concepts, and systems.

We are creating a forum where scientists and engineers can come together and discuss fundamental advances and engineering innovations.

Abstracts are due February 20, 2015
Find out more about submitting your abstract today!

The lead organizers of this conference are among the top researchers in their respective fields. We wanted to take a moment to introduce them to you:

Continue reading

Posted in Announcements, Meetings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment