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Can Kevin Costner’s Machines Really Help the Gulf Cleanup?

The oil-separating centrifuges will work, but they would have worked better months ago

5 min read
Photo: Derick E. Hingle/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Photo: Derick E. Hingle/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Update 29 July 2010: Listen to a podcast about the centrifuges with Eric Hoek, an engineering consultant for Ocean Therapy Solutions.

14 July 2010—After 85 days, the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is now partially contained, and relief wells to stem the flow are inching closer to completion. Once the leak is fixed, the focus will shift to removing the oil that’s already in the water. The actor Kevin Costner has appeared on TV and in front of the U.S. Congress to tout his oil cleanup machines, but can they actually make a dent in the still-spreading environmental disaster?

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Twistronic Yarns Harvest Energy From Movement

Novel fabrics could power wearables and potentially harvest energy from oceans

3 min read
Three SEM images show from top, 3 twisted slightly plied yarns, a plied harvester and a twist configuration, colorized to highlight the sections.

Twistrons, made from spun carbon nanotubes (CNTs), convert mechanical movement into electricity. UT Dallas researchers made a new kind of twistron by intertwining three individual strands of spun carbon nanotube fibers to make a single yarn. Their method was similar to the way conventional yarns used in textiles are constructed.

The University of Texas at Dallas

Novel yarns made with carbon nanotubes can generate electricity from mechanical energy better than any other material to date, a new study finds.

The high-tech yarns, known as twistrons, can be sewn into clothes to produce electricity from human motion or deployed in the ocean to harvest energy from waves, researchers say.

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Forecasting the Ice Loss of Greenland’s Glaciers With Viscoelastic Modeling

Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany are developing new models to simulate how glaciers behave

8 min read
Aerial view of Nioghalvfjerdsbræ showing the extensive patterns of the crevasses

This sponsored article is brought to you by COMSOL.

To someone standing near a glacier, it may seem as stable and permanent as anything on Earth can be. However, Earth’s great ice sheets are always moving and evolving. In recent decades, this ceaseless motion has accelerated. In fact, ice in polar regions is proving to be not just mobile, but alarmingly mortal.

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