Carbon Nanotubes Too Expensive? Try Chicken Feathers

Google Science Fair finalists create biofuels and a substitute for carbon nanotubes out of chicken feathers

1 min read
Carbon Nanotubes Too Expensive? Try Chicken Feathers
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Researchers at large laboratories have been investigating carbon nanotubes for storing hydrogen in, say, hydrogen-powered vehicles. Investigators at the University of Delaware proposed that carbonized chicken feathers could work as an inexpensive replacement; other researchers have produced biodiesel out of chicken feathers.

Anela Arifi and Ilda Ismaili, teens from Bosnia and Herzegovina who have far more access to chicken feathers than to expensive nanotubes, decided to combine these two discoveries. They built a reactor that produces both biodiesel and carbonized chicken feathers. Their system, chosen out of thousands of submissions, got them to the finals of the Google Science Fair, held last week in Mountain View, Calif. See how their reactor works in the video below, and hear them talk about the potential of carbonized chicken feathers in the video above.

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The Ultimate Transistor Timeline

The transistor’s amazing evolution from point contacts to quantum tunnels

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A chart showing the timeline of when a transistor was invented and when it was commercialized.
LightGreen

Even as the initial sales receipts for the first transistors to hit the market were being tallied up in 1948, the next generation of transistors had already been invented (see “The First Transistor and How it Worked.”) Since then, engineers have reinvented the transistor over and over again, raiding condensed-matter physics for anything that might offer even the possibility of turning a small signal into a larger one.

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