chemical & engineering news


Even though it’s only Wednesday, we’re already thinking about the weekend. The folks over at cenwatchglass must have had the same thing on their minds when they visited the culinary lab of celebrity chef José Andrés.

The researchers there showed off a few food chemistry tricks they’ve designed to add some fun to wetting your whistle. The first one is a little edible gelatin-based boat driven by a few drops of strong alcohol. The second is a “floral pipette,” whose petals are also made of gelatin, which can capture a few drops of liquid that the drinker can sip. They both play with surface tension of liquids to achieve their performance. The former also makes a great swizzle stick if the drinker finds herself sitting in a bar on Pandora in the movie “Avatar.”

Read more about these gadgets here, and click the Read More button to see the C&EN video. If you want to learn more about fluid dynamics and surface tension, go to the website of John Bush, the MIT applied mathematics professor who is one of the cocktail boat’s creators.

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Txch This Week: Say Hello To 715 Newly Discovered Planets And A Polar Bear

by Norman Rozenberg

This week on Txchnologist, we talked to engineers have made powerful muscles from fishing line and sewing thread that could one day make superstrong robots. These inexpensive materials could let robots make subtle facial expressions and lift tons from here to there.

University of Limerick researchers have doubled the battery life of lithium-ion batteries while also speeding up their charge times. The scientists hope to improve battery technologies to make electric-vehicle use more widespread.

With some cute food science innovations, martinis are made even better with tiny alcohol-powered boats that can navigate the high seas of a glass. Chemical and Engineering News visited celebrity chef Jose Andres’ culinary lab to see what other gadgets were adding flare to cocktails.

We also learned about SensFloor, an advanced flooring that monitors movement and can tell when someone is walking or may have fallen. Such a system is being used in a few European nursing homes to make sure senior citizens are safe.

McGill University engineers, meanwhile, have made a counterintuitive discovery: engraving microscopic cracks in glass actually makes it 200 times tougher. Researchers were inspired by the mother-of-pearl coating in mollusk shells. 

Now we’re bringing you the news and trends we’ve been following this week in the world of science, technology and innovation.

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