A precious catalyst (Day 210)

GoldMany people won’t look beyond jewelry and coinage for the most important usage of precious metals, but chemical engineers know that precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium have many more valuable uses.

Solar and other fuel cells, batteries, electronics, drugs, after shaves, bandages and even traditional photography have some reliance on precious metals.

Of particular interest to chemical engineers are their uses as chemical catalysts. But, being precious, chemical reactions that require large volumes of the metals are naturally going to be expensive and unsustainable.

One of the solutions is to use computational modeling below the nanoscale level to design more efficient and affordable catalysts from gold. And a transatlantic alliance of three universities have collaborated to achieve just that.

Continue reading A precious catalyst (Day 210)

Tough Gloves (Day 22)

Gloves and needleThere are lots of industries where protective clothing is a necessity. Although technology makes a contribution and advancements have been made, such Kevlar, by and large, some of the protection and the technology used seems to be stuck in a bygone era.

Chain mail is still used as protection in meat processing factories. Many boots still have metal toe caps. Plastic hard hats have been around for over 60 years. Surgical gloves are made from simple polymers… or are they?

Continue reading Tough Gloves (Day 22)