• Assessing bridge resilience

    Across the United States, more than 600,000 bridges link travelers to millions of roadway miles, forming a critical part of the nation’s infrastructure; because bridges are typically more vulnerable than roadways to damage caused by natural and man-made hazards, they are also of interest to DHS, which funds cutting-edge research in various aspects of structural integrity testing and blast-resistant structural design

  • China’s infrastructure is failing owing to sub-standard materials, corruption, and lax regulation

    Shoddy infrastructure in China has put people in danger time and time again; many of the infrastructure issues in China stem from the government’s focus on quantity over quality, as well as making sure that as many people are employed as possible for a project, rather than using the latest construction technology; sub-standard materials, corruption, and lax regulation only exacerbate the problem

  • Assessment reports mineralization of 2.173 million tons rare Earths elements in Idaho, Montana

    U.S. Rare Earths, Inc. announced the other day the final results of an independent analysis of historic exploration work done on its Idaho and Montana properties

  • Chile relies on new technologies to cope with frequent earthquakes

    Citizens of Chile are used to the ground shaking beneath their feet; in the past two years alone Chile has experienced more than forty earthquakes with magnitudes of six or higher; with so many earthquakes and the potential of thousands dying yearly, Chilean authorities are using new methods to protect their citizens from death and buildings from damage

  • Rare Earth metals: Will we have enough?

    Life in the twenty-first century would not be the same without rare Earth metals; cell phones, iPads, laptops, televisions, hybrid cars, wind turbines, solar cells, and many more products depend on rare Earth metals to function; will there be enough for us to continue our high-tech lifestyle and transition to a renewable energy economy? Do we need to turn to deep seabed or asteroid mining to meet future demand?

  • Specialty metals recycling policy needed: experts

    An international policy is needed for recycling scarce specialty metals that are critical in the production of consumer goods; because they are used in small amounts for very precise technological purposes, such as red phosphors, high-strength magnets, thin-film solar cells, and computer chips, recovery can be so technologically and economically challenging that the attempt is seldom made

  • Microstructural improvements enhance material properties

    DARPA merges structural engineering principles with new fabrication technologies to demonstrate microstructural control of materials at the micron level; the ultimate objective of the agency’s Materials with Controlled Microstructural Architecture (MCMA) program is to be able to develop materials in the future with properties tailored to meet specific mission requirements

  • Quick-curing concrete for infrastructure, mining disaster recovery

    A quick-curing concrete can be sprayed to reinforce structures — buildings, runways, tunnels, bridges, dams – damaged by an act of terror or natural disaster; the spraying can be done almost immediately, before the structure fails catastrophically, providing safety for rescue workers who risk their lives minutes after disasters hit, and for still stranded in or near the damaged structure

  • Ancient design concept leads to new ideas for building durable bridges

    Engineers combine an ancient concrete arch form, dating back to the Roman empire, with a composite shell to create bridge beams which are designed to last 100 years

  • Using nanomaterials to build safer, longer-lasting roadways

    Asphalt is now made from petroleum, so it is very expensive; researchers tested two types of nanoclays, adding 2-4 percent by weight to asphalt; this is a smidgeon — less than half of a percent of the total weight of the asphalt pavement itself, but it made a big difference, and could make for safer, longer-lasting roadways

  • Humble bacteria help create self-healing concrete

    Scientists use a ground-borne bacteria — bacilli megaterium — to create calcite, a crystalline form of natural calcium carbonate; this can then be used to block the concrete’s pores, keeping out water and other damaging substances to prolong the life of the concrete

  • Honda to reuse rare Earth metals from used parts

    Rare Earth elements are essential to advanced technological application and to green technology products; China controls 97 percent of the world’s production of these elements, and has been using its near-monopoly to hobble non-Chinese companies and for political blackmail; in response, two Japanese companies announce a new process allowing them to extract as much as 80 percent or more of rare Earth metals contained in used nickel-metal hydride batteries

  • Some flame retardants make fires more lethal

    Almost 10,000 deaths from fires occur in industrialized countries worldwide each year, including about 3,500 in the United States; scientists find that widely used flame retardants added to carpets, furniture upholstery, plastics, crib mattresses, car, and airline seats and other products to suppress the visible flames in fires are actually increasing the danger of invisible toxic gases that are the No. 1 cause of death in fires

  • New plastics mimic human skin: they “bleed” when scratched, then heal

    Plastics have become so common, replacing steel, aluminum, glass, paper, and other traditional materials because they combine desirable properties such as strength, light weight, and corrosion resistance; a new genre of plastics that mimic the human skin’s ability to heal scratches and cuts offers the promise of endowing military and first response gear – and consumer goods – with self-repairing surfaces

  • U.S. files trade charges against China over rare minerals

    China mines and sells about 97 percent of the world’s rare Earth elements – seventeen metals used in cell phones, advanced batteries, wind turbines, and more; the Chinese, in  violation of WTO rules, have manipulated the export of these minerals in order to weaken the techno logy sectors of other countries, and punish countries over political disputes