Saturday, February 25, 2017

Toxic Vanity & Fatal Beauty


Eleanor Ryder has two gorgeous photos posted on the National Geographic's website.

The first one, shown above but in much higher resolution on the NatGeo site, is titled Fatal Beauty. Here's what she has to say about it...
A magnification of plastic particles in lip-gloss. The irony of the image is in its intrinsic contradiction; that a product coveted for its ability to beautify is also capable of illimitable harm. The transient nature of a beauty product, once released unbounded in to the marine environment, has the ability to cause infinite damage and contamination. As we lick the gloss from our lips and ingest it, particles enter the sewerage systems to infest our oceans at every level.
The other photo is titled Toxic Vanity and shows similar particles in eyeliner.

Ryder's website has further photos from her Forever Project,
The Forever Project is a portfolio of images focusing on marine debris and micro-plastics. 
Being in my final year of university I wanted to study something I was passionate about and marine welfare is set deep within my heart. 
The images of nano plastics in the Forever Project are a study of the uneasy dichotomy which I feel exists between beauty and marine pollution. These images of micro and nano plastics in cosmetics explores the transient nature of beauty products and their ability to impact upon and do illimitable harm to the marine environment.
I'm thinking we might want to use a little less plastic or make sure it'll actually degrade in something approaching a human lifetime.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

What Captain America Can Teach Us About Science



It was my understanding that Cap's shield was made entirely of vibranium, but I guess it's a vibranium/steel alloy.

I appreciate that Dr Mathaudhu doesn't go into the fictional element vibranium's history and existence. Instead he just mentions that a 'mystery element' falls into the experiment and solidifies into what would later become Cap's shield.

Mathaudhu then goes into the connection that he "seeks to design materials that can live in these extremes" - just like Cap's shield. He mentions the switch from a steel to an aluminum alloy in the F150 frame.

He also explains that if a material scientist creates an awesome material but can't reproduce it - like the creator of Cap's shield did - then that wouldn't be a very successful material scientist.

The shield, by the way, is not quite unbreakable in the Marvel universes, but it's certainly a scientific marvel.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Adding A Funny Form Of Carbon To Silly Putty Creates A Heart Monitor


Silly putty is apparently miraculous.

It doesn't walk down stairs - along or in pairs. It doesn't roll over your neighbor's dog.

But it does appear to be usable as a pressure sensor when graphene is added to it. The graphene turns the silly putty into a conductive mass, the precise conductivity of which is highly sensitive to changes in pressure - to the point where it can be used to monitor the blood pressure and pulse in the carotid artery.

Source - NPR and Science

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Indestructible Coating?!



If it impresses Dr Derek, then it impresses me.

I've shown you Line-X before, but I wasn't able to show you the science between the two components of Line-X before. In this video, we get to see modeling of the polymerization at 2:00 using plastic, molecular models (by the way, does anybody know the specific plastic model set that they show up close at 3:34? I really dig that set and wouldn't mind getting my hands on a set to see if they're worth buying.)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Build and Modify the World Around You with FORMcard | WIRED



I need to buy myself some Formcards (available here in the US - don't search Amazon because their selection is crap and ridiculously pricey).

I really dig the colors, and I'm looking forward to using them to demonstrate the idea of glass transitions in polymers (something we've seen before on the blog).


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Snapping a Steel Rod 1000x slower - The Slow Mo Guys



The...

slow...

mo...

guys...

do some neat stuff, and they at least explain some of the science of what's happening along the way...usually...

Just so you know, the actual break happens around 2:30.

We don't actually get much of a science explanation this time, though.

But we do get the braking of a like one (or maybe two-)-inch-diameter rebar rod.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

This gel stops bleeding in seconds



Oh, by the way, the video above shows blood.

You know, in case you were queasy about blood or anything...

There are going to be a couple of other blood-centric videos after the jump in a few lines.

The idea that a seventeen-year-old student took algae and developed a blood-stopping polymer makes me think I should probably be doing labs a little more involved with my chemistry students. Sheesh...

Honestly, though, the video up above shows the gel as vetigel, but it's now available as traumagel.