• Scarce minerals, metals threaten manufacturing

    The growing scarcity of certain minerals and metals is leading to explosive prices and delivery delays; since the relationships among these resources are strong, both the causes of and the solutions to scarcity are complex; for a manufacturing organization with a global supply chain, this can spell trouble

  • Making better, cleaner cement

    Humans the world over use more water, by volume, than any other material; in second place, at more than seventeen billion tons consumed each year, comes concrete made with Portland cement; making cement, however, releases massive amounts of carbon dioxide; structural studies at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source could point to reduced carbon emissions and stronger cements

  • Chinese rare earth embargo would be “disastrous,” says mining executive

    Mike Parnell, the CEO of U.S. Rare Earths, Inc., recently took the time to chat with Homeland Security NewsWire’s executive editor Eugene K. Chow; in the interview Parnell discusses the potential consequences of a full Chinese rare earth metal embargo, efforts to develop alternatives to rare earth metals, and the progress made in making the drilling process more environmentally friendly

  • Europe faces rare Earth metal shortages

    The EU’s ambitious low-carbon energy production goal depends on five technologies: nuclear, solar, wind, bio-energy, and carbon capture; these technologies, in turn, depend on rare Earth metals; the EU estimates that a large-scale deployment of only one of these technologies — solar energy — will require half the current world supply of tellurium and 25 percent of the supply of indium

  • Mother-of-pearl inspires design of stronger materials

    In nature, the strength of mother-of-pearl is a key to survival for some shellfish; researchers have offered an explanation for the unusual resilience – and they believes the findings could serve as a blueprint for engineering tough new materials in the laboratory

  • New tech could turn clothes into touch sensors

    Everything from clothes and headphone wires to coffee tables could soon become interactive touch devices thanks to the development of new sensor technology; researchers at the University of Munich and the Hasso Plattner Institute are working to integrate technology originally designed to detect damaged underwater cables into touch sensors that can be installed in virtually anything

  • Printing a building -- additive manufacturing research moves into construction

    Additive manufacturing — commonly known as 3-D printing — has been used for a surprisingly large range of products and projects, while the devices themselves have continually declined in cost and size; now the technology turns its attention to concrete and building

  • Large rare earth deposit discovered near California mine

    Molycorp Minerals recently announced that it had discovered significant deposits of heavy rare earth minerals near its mine in Mountain Pass, California and production could begin in as little as two years

  • Electronic cotton: smart cloths made from conductive cotton fiber

    The latest breakthrough in cotton fiber research may soon make possible hospital gowns that monitor medical patients and jerseys that test athletic performance

  • Formation of Senate and House rare Earth minerals caucuses urged

    The Association for Rare Earth yesterday urged the creation of Senate and House caucuses to focus on the challenges of securing supplies of rare Earth elements for U.S. high technology, clean energy, and defense communities

  • Waste glass cleans up water

    A simple method converts waste glass into a material which can be used to remove pollutants from contaminated water; the method uses colored glass which is being stockpiled in the United Kingdom as there is less recycling demand for green and brown bottles than there is for clear bottles

  • Rising political, economic tensions over critical minerals

    The clean energy economy of the future hinges on many things, chief among them the availability of the scores of rare Earth minerals and other elements used to make everything from photovoltaic panels and cellphone displays to the permanent magnets in cutting edge new wind generators; trouble is, China currently controls about 97 percent of the mining and production of the minerals, and it is using that control to give Chinese companies an advantage and for political pressure on other countries

  • Self-repairing composites repair cracks in coating of buildings, bridges

    Researchers have developed vascularized structural composites, creating materials that are lightweight and strong with potential for self-healing, self-cooling, metamaterials, and more; these artificial microvascular systems can self-repair of materials damage, such as cracks in a coating applied to a building or bridge

  • E-textiles now come with memory-storing fiber

    E-textiles could help soldiers, first responders — but also the sick and infirm; the integration of electronics into textiles is a growing field of research that may soon enable smart fabrics and wearable electronics

  • Man-made silk mimics spider silk

    Spider silk has attracted human interest for thousands of years due to its toughness and ductility; as with most biomaterials, spider silk has evolved over millions of years resulting in a combination of properties that far exceeds any man-made material; until now