Using electric fields to manipulate droplets on a surface could enable high-volume, low-cost biology experiments.
MIT researchers have developed hardware that uses electric fields to move droplets of chemical or biological solutions around a surface, mixing them in ways that could be used to test thousands of reactions in parallel.
The researchers...Read More »
From L-R: guide Keeton Kroon; Andy Klesh of JPL; and John Leichty of JPL. Klesh and Leichty ventured out to Alaska’s Matanuska Glacier to test robotic mapping technology in underwater tunnel systems called moulins. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA has changed the perspective of science, building satellites to study Earth’s surface....Read More »
Anyone who has ever turned on a tap knows something about fluid dynamics. Whether a fluid is flowing through household plumbing or industrial oil and gas pipelines, when it runs slowly its flow is smooth, but when it runs quickly its flow is more chaotic. More than 130...Read More »
Here we present an abstract to a paper devoted to the history of eastohydrodynamic theory and his founder – Alexander Mohrenstein-Ertel. This paper discusses in detailes the peculiar biography of the scientist and the early years of the theory development.
On the history of elastohydrodynamics: The dramatic destiny of Alexander...Read More »
The Robotic External Leak Locator on the end of the Dextre robot in February 2017. Credits: NASA
In recent operations on the International Space Station, robotic operators were twice able to test and confirm the ability of the Robotic External Leak Locator (RELL) to “smell” in space.
Using the RELL instruments, operators successfully...Read More »
No future without history! A great article on the history of great discoveries in the field of contact mechanics and friction was recently published by Elena Popova and Valentin L. Popov. Here we present the abstract of the article.
Great discoveries are often perceived by subsequent generations as sudden...Read More »
Solution developed at MIT could stop buildup of hydrate ices that slow or block oil and gas flow.
When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig suffered a catastrophic explosion and blowout on April 21, 2010, leading to the worst oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, the well’s operators thought...Read More »
Counterintuitive “metamaterial” may enable heat-resistant circuit boards.
Almost all solid materials, from rubber and glass to granite and steel, inevitably expand when heated. Only in very rare instances do certain materials buck this thermodynamic trend and shrink with heat. For instance, cold water will contract when heated between 0 and 4...Read More »
By Ken Kingery
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object’s wake, greatly reducing its drag while simultaneously helping it avoid detection.
The idea originated at Duke University in 2011 when researchers outlined the general concept. By matching the acceleration of the surrounding water...Read More »
NASA supports UD technology that protects spacesuits from punctures, projectiles.
Astronauts are a smart, courageous and resilient lot, no doubt about that. But when they go out for a walk in space – in environments none of us could survive on our own – they need a lot of protection.
There are...Read More »
Method uses readily available tools to quickly determine materials’ properties.
Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have developed a new combination of methods that can provide detailed information about the microstructure of polycrystalline metals.
Such materials — composed of a random matrix of multiple small crystals rather than one single large crystal —...Read More »
Interfaces within materials can be patterned as a means of controlling the properties of composites.
Patterned surfaces are all the rage among researchers seeking to induce surfaces to repel water or adhere to other things, or to modify materials’ electrical properties.
Now materials scientists at MIT have added a new wrinkle to...Read More »
The outermost layer of ice behaves like liquid water, even at a temperature of –30°C. Physicists at AMOLF have irrefutably demonstrated this using a modern surface-sensitive measuring technique. At lower temperatures, however, the layer of water becomes increasingly thin. The researchers report their findings on 27 November in...Read More »
Printed nozzle system could make uniform, versatile fibers at much lower cost.
Meshes made from fibers with nanometer-scale diameters have a wide range of potential applications, including tissue engineering, water filtration, solar cells, and even body armor. But their commercialization has been hampered by inefficient manufacturing techniques.
In the latest issue of...Read More »
Analysis shows certain crystal boundaries can enhance, or reduce, hydrogen’s damaging effects.
When a metal tube lines an oil well thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean, that metal had better be solid and reliable. Unfortunately, the environment in such deep wells is often rich in hydrogen, a gas...Read More »
Micrographs of a metal surface after impact by metal particles. Craters are formed due to melting of the surface from the impact. Image courtesy of the researchers.
“When spraying metal coatings, melting hurts rather than helps”, MIT research reveals.
When bonding two pieces of metal, either the metals must melt a bit...Read More »
Behaving like particles in a viscous fluid can help bunches of electrons squeeze through a tight space.
When many people try to squeeze through a passageway at the same time, it creates a bottleneck that slows everyone down. It turns out the reverse is true for electrons, which can move through...Read More »
Adding golf ball-like dimples to surfaces could reduce drag and improve efficiency of vehicles.
There is a story about how the modern golf ball, with its dimpled surface, came to be: In the mid-1800s, it is said, new golf balls were smooth, but became dimpled over time as impacts left permanent...Read More »
They’re yellow. They’re radioactive. And they’re very slippery. Yes, they’re bananas, and we have just found out why they’re so slippery.
So yellow … yes we all know that. But radioactive? Well yes, bananas are slightly radioactive because of small amounts of the naturally occurring isotope potassium-40. But the rate of...Read More »
Study explains how droplets can “levitate” on liquid surfaces.
A drop or two of cold cream in hot coffee can go a long way toward improving one’s morning. But what if the two liquids didn’t mix?
MIT scientists have now explained why under certain conditions a droplet of liquid should not coalesce...Read More »
Brandon Krick explores the interdisciplinary science of surface interaction
Brandon Krick says he’s had the good fortune to research space and dinosaurs—“all the things you want to explore as a kid,” he says. But his real passion is the science of tribology, “which few people have ever heard of,”...Read More »
MIT researchers have found a surprising new twist to the mechanics involved when droplets come in contact with surfaces. Pictured here is a microscopic top view of a droplet. Image: Varanasi Group/MIT
MIT study reveals a new way to enhance or reduce the adhesion of freezing droplets.
When freezing droplets...Read More »
From the brain’s responses to cheese aversion to the fluid dynamics of cats, WIRED picks its favourite Ig Nobel Prize winners for 2017
The winners of the 2017 Ig Nobel Prize, the science awards given to “achievements that first make people laugh then make them think” have been announced, based around...Read More »
Lighter, faster, more efficient. Whenever you advance a technology, that’s the goal. As NASA looks to transform the commercial aircraft of the future, efficient engines are at the heart of it all.
To achieve the goal of better engines on future aircraft, researchers at NASA Glenn are investigating promising advances in...Read More »
Normally, bare metal sliding against bare metal is not a good thing. Friction will destroy pistons in an engine, for example, without lubrication.
Sometimes, however, functions require metal on metal contact, such as in headphone jacks or electrical systems in wind turbines. Still, friction causes wear and wear destroys performance, and it’s...Read More »
Ever swallowed a button-battery? And wondered how to get it out? Have no fear, the origami robot is here!
That’s right, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has come up with a pill-sized origami robot, which will help motor the unwanted plastic and other non-dissoluble objects safely out of the...Read More »
The celebrated robot ISAAC now has a hermetically sealed workshop where it’s free to follow its prime directive: discovering bold new ways of making composite materials for the air and space vehicles of tomorrow.
The $750,000 air-tight, temperature- and moisture-controlled enclosure — an unusually capable clean room — was completed in...Read More »
No one can travel inside the earth to study what happens there. So scientists must do their best to replicate real-world conditions inside the lab.
Cement materials, including cement paste, mortar, and concrete, are the most widely manufactured materials in the world. Their carbon footprint is similarly hefty: The processes involved in making cement contribute almost 6 percent of global carbon emissions.
The demand for these materials is unlikely to decline any...Read More »
UCSB researchers get a nanoscale glimpse of crevice and pitting corrosion as it happens
What affects almost everything made of metal, from cars to boats to underground pipes and even the fillings in your teeth? Corrosion — a slow process of decay. At a global cost of trillions of dollars annually,...Read More »
When handling a multi-billion-dollar space telescope, you want to be pretty careful not to jostle it — unless it’s your job to shake it with 100,000 pounds of force, that is.
In order to ensure the James Webb Space Telescope can survive its rocket launch — before it gets to its destination...Read More »
In-car air study of commuting cars finds dangers to human health
By Ken Kingery
DURHAM, N.C. — The first in-car measurements of exposure to pollutants that cause oxidative stress during rush hour commutes has turned up potentially alarming results. The levels of some forms of harmful particulate matter inside car cabins...Read More »
Before NASA uses its new inflatable technology for slowing spacecraft that are entering the atmospheres of other planets, it will first need to be packed into the tight confines of a rocket.
Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, recently put the technology to the test by packing...Read More »
As thousands of visitors each day walk across a new...Read More »
New research indicates how static electricity puts the charge in material, offering answer to centuries-old question
For centuries, scientists have tried to understand triboelectric charging, commonly known as static electricity.
Triboelectric charging causes toner from a photocopier or laser printer to stick to paper,...Read More »
A recent study published in Nature has demonstrated unusual heat generation and fluid movement in the Alpine Fault of New Zealand that has implications for understanding earthquakes in the region. Large plate-boundary faults, such as the Alpine Fault, are important areas of stress build-up and release, which can...Read More »
Thanks to MURI grants, UCSB mechanical engineers are working on refining and improving machines that move through air and water.
For most of us, fluid dynamics and mechanics aren’t particularly significant — that is, until we’re white-knuckling it on a bumpy plane ride or trying to stay buoyant in unusually bubbly...Read More »
By simulating quakes in a lab, engineers study the way that friction changes along a fault during a seismic event
By simulating earthquakes in a lab, engineers at Caltech have documented the evolution of friction during an earthquake—measuring what could once only be inferred, and shedding light...Read More »
MIT’s Hyperloop team levitates through its first test-run competition.
Yiou He is ready to get to full speed. On a recent weekend in California, she felt the thrill of victory: She and MIT classmates became the first to successfully shoot a levitating Hyperloop pod down a 1-mile vacuum tube during a...Read More »
The next rovers to explore another planet might bring along a scout.
The Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (PUFFER) in development at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, was inspired by origami. Its lightweight design is capable of flattening itself, tucking in its wheels and crawling into places rovers can’t...Read More »
New technique offers precise, durable control over tiny mirrors or stages.
Microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, are tiny machines fabricated using equipment and processes developed for the production of electronic chips and devices. They’ve found a wide variety of applications in today’s consumer electronics, but their moving parts can wear out over...Read More »
A growing number of commercial partners use the International Space Station National Lab. With that growth, we will see more discoveries in fundamental and applied research that could improve life on the ground.
Bonded layers of rubber and hydrogel yield tough, slippery, and impermeable coatings.
Catheters, intravenous lines, and other types of surgical tubing are a medical necessity for managing a wide range of diseases. But a patient’s experience with such devices is rarely a comfortable one.
Now MIT engineers have designed a gel-like...Read More »
Illustration: Christine Daniloff/MIT and Alexei Bylinkskii
A new technique tunes friction between two surfaces, to the point where friction can vanish. MIT researchers developed a frictional interface at the atomic level. The blue corrugated surface represents an optical lattice; the red balls represent ions; the springs between them represent Coulomb forces...Read More »
Mastering the intricacies of controlling matter at the nanoscale level is part of a revolutionary quest to apply nanotechnology to benefit industrial processes. A key element of that technology is the use of carbon nanotubes.
Carbon nanotubes are small hollow tubes with diameters of 0.7 to 50 nanometers and lengths generally...Read More »
Weaving processes created millennia ago are part of the most cutting-edge technology on NASA’s Orion spaceship that may one day shield humans from heat as they ride all the way to Mars and back.
That same technology is finding a home on Earth as well, enabling thicker, denser composite materials...Read More »
A major concern for many maintenance engineers is off-highway equipment running low on lubricant. However, they often make a critical error when trying to solve the problem: they over-lubricate. This can be just as damaging as using too little lubricant, as it increases friction, raises temperatures inside the bearing, and...Read More »
What is friction?
There is more than one definition of friction. And this has confused our understanding of how it is involved in friction blister formation.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has two definitions of friction:
- the act of rubbing one thing against another
- the force that resists relative motion between two bodies in...Read More »
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise – and not only on the...Read More »
A new multimillion pound collaborative research project led by BP and the University of Manchester could help to dramatically reduce the impact that surface degradation processes such as corrosion and wear have on industry worldwide.
Corrosion and wear processes have very significant societal, economic and safety implications for industry. From tools...Read More »
Just like any mechanical device, a wind energy system needs timely, appropriate lubrication in order to function reliably and predictably. Wind turbines routinely withstand extremely demanding conditions: vibration, high mechanical loads, contamination and moisture are all potential threats to operational efficiency, especially in critical rotating components such as bearings and gears.
Turbine...Read More »
This article explains the vital role Friction has to play in Rock Climbing. Thanks to Richard Jones and Glen Harding for their input.
Friction is the magic ingredient in bouldering and rock climbing. It’s what makes the best moves and sequences subtle and surprising. Friction is a variable, some days it’s...Read More »
While Leonardo da Vinci commented on the effects of friction in the 1400s, it wasn’t until the mid-1960s that tribology was coined by Dr. H. Peter Jost and accepted as the term for the study and application of the principles of friction, lubrication, and wear.
In the early 1960s, there was...Read More »
The world offers a wild number of tools to the modern tinkerer. Yet the perfect tool never seems to be within arm’s reach, or available at all.
The angle of the handle is off, the fitting imprecise, or the size awkward. How convenient it would be if we could fashion our own...Read More »
A team of architects and chemists from the University of Cambridge has designed super-stretchy and strong fibers which are almost entirely composed of water, and could be used to make textiles, sensors and other materials. The fibers, which resemble miniature bungee cords as they can absorb large amounts of energy,...Read More »
NOT LONG BEFORE MY LAST SKI TRIP, I was having a lot of lower back problems stemming from a bad fall years ago. Without getting into too much blood and gore, I have a pinched nerve and the associated arthritis from long-term inflammation. So the fix, at least enough to...Read More »
There’s something about the moan and wail of a good gut-bucket slide guitar riff that can grab you by the innards and not let go. Any tribologist worth his salt is likely to have another reaction: “A bit high on the tribometer, that.”
Blues, bluegrass, and Hawaiian slide guitar fans know...Read More »
A routine check of the aluminum wheels on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has found two small breaks on the rover’s left middle wheel-the latest sign of wear and tear as the rover continues its journey, now approaching the 10-mile (16 kilometer) mark.
The mission’s first and second breaks in raised treads,...Read More »
Advanced engineering is at the dawn of a new and exciting era. Changing customer behaviors and demands are driving new business models: the manufacturing process must be faster, greener, and more responsive.
Conventional production of highly-engineered components is generally wasteful and energy intensive – in the aerospace sector, for example, typically...Read More »
Want to go ice fishing on Jupiter’s moon Europa? There’s no promising you’ll catch anything, but a new set of robotic prototypes could help.
Since 2015, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has been developing new technologies for use on future missions to ocean worlds. That includes a subsurface probe...Read More »
Luleå University of Technology has received funding for national infrastructure from the Swedish Research Council to build a national resource for rock stress measurements. The equipment is unique in the world and allows three-dimensional rock stress determination down to 3 kilometer deep boreholes.
It will primarily be used in projects that...Read More »
UCSB engineer shows how minimizing fluid friction can make oceangoing vessels more fuel-efficient and reduce harmful emissions
Imagine walking from one side of a swimming pool to the other. Each step takes great effort — that’s what makes water aerobics such effective physical exercise.
The resistance you feel is caused by fluid...Read More »
A small device can make great use to all the world’s railways. It is the aim when a new portable tester, which, when you fix it directly on the rails, can measure the wear and friction with great resemblance to reality at all types of railway tracks, and thereby reduces...Read More »
UC Riverside-led research tests the limits of gecko adhesion.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Many geckos inhabit trees, often living high in the canopy. Relying on their incredible adhesive strength to help them break their fall, they jump from trees, and land on either leaves or relatively smooth tree trunks. How they withstand...Read More »
UC Riverside-led study offers evidence that small morphological changes can lead to large changes in function
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – How do key innovations in the animal kingdom arise? To explore this question, gecko expert Timothy Higham, an associate professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside, led a team of evolutionary...Read More »
Full scale tests are often used to test the frictional behaviour of materials, to compare their wear characteristics, friction curve and...Read More »
Machining is a core element of the manufacturing process, whether it’s drilling, milling, turning or planing. Not only the workpiece sheds material, however: these processes also lead to gradual wear on the tool. The decision on when to have a tool replaced or reground depends on its service life. This...Read More »
Whether we prefer water sports or relaxing with a good book, the humble sandcastle is often a seaside must. But what’s the secret to building a majestic sandcastle that will withstand the tide of time? Luckily, there’s a scientific formula for that.
An automated device for monitoring railway tracks will make it possible to improve the safety of rail transport. Alexander Pletnev, a PhD student of the TPU Institute of Physics and Technology, is developing the device.
Photo: A pilot of monitoring device
As the young scientist says, during the...Read More »
Second Edition of AIT's Summer School: Surface engineering, lubrication models, nanotribology, novel materials
The Italian Association of Tribology AIT organizes the second edition of the AIT’s Summer School.
The summer school venue will be “Fruscione Palace” in the old town of Salerno and will be held from Mon August 28th to Fri September 1st, 2017.
The Summer School is addressed to doctoral students, post-doc...Read More »
Road traffic makes up one-fifth of the EU’s total CO2 emissions. Image credit: Pixabay/ Gellinger
Linking up empty trucks and competing businesses through trusted networks could mean less road traffic and pollution.
Eight years ago, Ted Adelson’s research group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) unveiled a new sensor technology, called GelSight, that uses physical contact with an object to provide a remarkably detailed 3-D map of its surface.
Now, by mounting GelSight sensors on the grippers of robotic arms,...Read More »
‘The correct lubricant’ covers basic practical information about lubricants in automotive and industrial areas. It is written for users of lubricants, giving only what is essential to know and useful for them. It could also be used by professionals in the field who must explain various aspects of...Read More »
Nature provides three sources of energy for free: sunlight, air and gravity. Solar and wind power are increasingly exploited, gravity less so. Hydraulic power plants harvest energy from flowing rivers. Tidal energy can be gathered along some inlets and coasts. But few places are suitable for dams or...Read More »
Three blind men encountered an elephant, the old story goes. One of them felt the elephant’s tail and declared that an elephant is like a rope. Another examined the animal’s leg and said that it was more like a tree trunk. The third ran his hands along the...Read More »
In a new study published in Science, researchers at Argonne used an X-ray scattering technique called Bragg coherent diffraction imaging to reconstruct in 3-D the size and shape of grain defects. These defects create imperfections in the lattice of atoms inside a grain that can give rise to interesting material...Read More »
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems have developed a soft gripping system that uses differential air pressure and a gecko-inspired adhesive for exceptional bonding to three-dimensional objects. The findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.
A soft gripping system...Read More »
WASHINGTON (May 17, 2017)—A new study examining how ice forms from pure water found that the geometry of the surface that water is on can have an effect on whether or not it freezes, suggesting that surface geometry plays an important role in ice formation. Greater understanding of...Read More »
It is a common trope in disaster movies: an earthquake strikes, causing the ground to rip open and swallow people and cars whole. The gaping earth might make for cinematic drama, but earthquake scientists have long held that it does not happen.
Except, it can, according to new experimental research from...Read More »
In a rolling bearing, the load transmission is often accompanied by high contact stresses which may eventually lead to wear and/or fatigue. In order to ensure separation of moving parts leading to a long life, bearings are usually grease or oil lubricated. The separation of the moving parts in a...Read More »
Lip seals compete with mechanical face seals in sealing oil or grease in rotary shaft applications. Under certain running conditions both kinds of seals can be used however, the latter ones are generally used for applications where a significant pressure difference needs to be preserved. Rotary lip seals are preferred...Read More »
September 1 of 2016 at Cape Canaveral SpaceX lost is Falcon 9 rocket on a launch pad due to dramatic explosion. During a routine preflight fueling test, the rocket and the $200 million Israeli Earth communication satellite Amos-6 were lost. No one was injured.
A...Read More »
The holidays are here! And here at tribonet, we would like to wish all our readers the very best for the new year. Many blessings, love and happiness to the entire tribonet community!
It was a great year for tribonet, thanks to the readers and the authors! With the ending of...Read More »
A rolling bearing preferably runs under EHL conditions. The film thickness between the rolling elements and the rings is determined by the lubricant properties, operating conditions and bearing design. During the initial phase of operation, macroscopic flow (churning) of the grease takes place. It is usually during this churning phase...Read More »
Earlier this month, tribologists and physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory published news of their (self-described) “self-healing diamond-like carbon coating [that] could revolutionize lubrication” in the journal Nature. The researchers claim...Read More »
“God made the bulk; surfaces were invented by the devil”, a Nobel prize winning physicist Wolfgang Ernst Pauli said. In tribology, as in many other sciences, surface features (asperities, roughness) play an important role. In many cases, the surface roughness dramatically alters the friction, contact area,...Read More »
Tiny particles are all over around us and sometimes they may create problems. This is especially of concern with metal particles formed due to wear in man-made engineering devices. Particles formed in car disk brakes may harm lung cells, metal particulate limits the service life of artificial hip...Read More »
Nordtrib 2016: conference summary and outlook on the field of tribology 50 years after the Jost report
Nordtrib 2016 came to a close last Friday and I returned home inspired and energized for the next stint in my PhD research. This post is an overview of the conference and summarises the outlook on the field for the years to come based on the round table discussions and...Read More »
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, the famous Italian engineer, architect, painter, musician, mathematician can also be considered as The First Tribologist! Although the term itself was invented approximately 450 years after Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), he was the first one to perform the systematic study on friction,...Read More »
The increasing awareness on environmental pollution caused by many chemicals, including lubricants, promotes the use of environmentally friendly products. There is a clear trend towards a more responsible use of lubricants and several legislations already limit the use of certain oils in some applications. Bio-lubricants are present in construction, mining...Read More »
All conventional lubricants borne of classic hydrodynamic theory are designed to provide lubricity. Inherent in the desire to provide lubricity to mechanical systems is the desire to protect the interacting metal surfaces from wear. Much effort in tribology...Read More »
The first challenge when measuring a surface topography via optical techniques is getting the sample to the lab. Although optical surface roughness measurement does not damage the component per se (NDT), the fact of fitting it into a microscope generally requires the destruction of the original component. The surface replication...Read More »
Wear is a gradual removal of the material of the bodies during their interaction. The process appears in many mechanical systems, ranging from large scales, as in wind mills, to nanoscales, as in the AFM tip – substrate contact. The macroscale wear is a relatively well developed field of tribology,...Read More »
Friction has been a challenge for the mankind throughout the whole history since it resists the motion. It resists the transportation of goods. And transportation shares 20% of the global energy consumption and approximately 18% of the greenhouse gas emissions. Out of this share, road transportation builds up to 72%...Read More »
Forbidden City is a historical symbol of China, located in the center of Beijing and was constructed between 1406 and 1420 . It served as an imperial palace for almost 500 years and consists of 980 buildings on 180 acres area. Large number of massive buildings required mining and transportation...Read More »
From the first friction quantitative experiments by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) and most notably from our everyday life experience, it is known that there is an inevitable force opposing to the initiation of motion of one body on the surface of another. This force has to be exceeded, in order...Read More »
Imagine a new type of tyres whose structure has been designed to have greater adhesion on the road. Quite a timely discussion during the long winter nights. French physicists have now developed a model to study the importance of adhesion in establishing contact between two patterned, yet elastic, surfaces. Nature...Read More »
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