Deicing salts keep winter roads passable but do a lot of harm in the process.
Gregory Rec/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
De-icing salts help us get around in winter, but they corrode cars, crack roads and contaminate rivers and lakes. Scientists are working to develop better options by imitating natural antifreezes.
A block of sand particles held together by living cells.
The University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science
Researchers are turning microbes into microscopic construction crews by altering their DNA to make them produce building materials. The work could lead to more sustainable buildings.
Gardeners use water crystals to drought-proof their plants.
Water crystals help drought-proof plants. But these tiny polymers are leaving gardeners concerned.
Clinical trials using immune cells engineered through synthetic biology have been shown to push some patients into remission from blood cancer.
Right now, you're living in a kind of industrial revolution – where biotechnology, information technology, manufacturing and automation all come together to form synthetic biology.
Used once and done.
Research is yielding strategies for making plastics greener and more sustainable. But without support as they scale up, new versions will struggle to compete with well-established synthetic plastics.
A postcard from the 1950s advertises a variety Tupperware products.
You know you've hit it big when your designs find their way into millions of kitchens – and the Museum of Modern Art.
What if it were a lot easier to install solar power?
Silicon is cheap and a good semiconductor, but it's bulky and rigid. Using organic polymers as semiconductors could yield solar panels with the physical characteristics of plastics.
Molecular machines are ready to join forces and take on real-world work.
Research on molecular machines won last year's Nobel Prize in chemistry. Now scientists have figured out a way to get these tiny molecules to join forces and collaborate on real work on a macro scale.
Freshly squeezed: an apeeling opportunity for renewable chemicals.
Andrés Nieto Porras/Flickr
The orange juice industry throws away a half of the fruit needed to make juice. Could this be used as an alternative to chemicals derived from crude oil?
Inside Boeing’s Dreamliner: tomorrow’s polymers today.
The New York World’s Fair of 1939-40 was one of the greatest expos the world had ever seen. Visitors to Flushing Meadow Park in Queens were invited to see the “world of tomorrow” giving them a first glimpse…
They’re waterproof and tough – not to mention colourful – but plastic notes were developed for their unforgeability.
Welcome to CSIRO Inventions, a series looking at the discoveries and innovations borne from Australia’s national science agency. In this first instalment, we outline the story behind the plastic money…
A sponge like polymer for adsorbing carbon dioxide in power plant flue gas has been developed. Previous substances for carbon…
Carbon fibre: it’s super light and super strong (even more so than dreadlocks).
A unique cutting-edge carbon fibre research facility Carbon Nexus officially opened at Deakin University in Geelong last week. It houses laboratories, a pilot scale carbon fibre line and a smaller single-tow…
Researchers have discovered a new way to stabilise haemoglobin, the oxygen carrier protein in the blood. Researchers wrapped…
Solid plastic made from gas.
Carbon and carbon dioxide are found all around us. All living things contain carbon - it’s one of the essential building blocks of life and is fundamental to many chemical processes. Carbon dioxide (CO2…
A synthetic material both sensitive to touch and able to heal itself quickly has been created for the first time. Engineers…
Researchers have developed a new method of polymer synthesis based on two processes: “segregation” and “templating”. These…
Engineers have demonstrated the ability to quickly transform the texture of a plastic, switching from a rough to a smooth…
An advanced form of electricity-conducting plastic might be set to revolutionise the way cell regrowth is facilitated. Animal…