Chemical Engineering

New Stanford battery shuts down at high temperatures and restarts when it cools

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Research News

Stanford researchers have invented a lithium-ion battery that turns on and off depending on the temperature. The new technology could prevent battery fires that have plagued laptops, hoverboards and other electronic devices.

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Lithium-ion battery shuts down before overheating
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Researchers have invented a lithium-ion battery that could prevent battery fires

Stanford researchers have developed the first lithium-ion battery that shuts down before overheating, then restarts immediately when the temperature cools.

Last modified Wed, 3 Feb, 2016 at 8:09

Stanford engineers invent process to accelerate protein evolution

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A new tool enables researchers to test millions of mutated proteins in a matter of hours or days, speeding the search for new medicines, industrial enzymes and biosensors.

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Researchers invent process to accelerate protein evolution
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Stanford engineers can test millions of protein variants in a matter of hours

All living things require proteins, members of a vast family of molecules that nature "makes to order" according to the blueprints in DNA.

Through the natural process of evolution, DNA mutations generate new or more effective proteins. Humans have found so many alternative uses for these molecules – as foods, industrial enzymes, anti-cancer drugs – that scientists are eager to better understand how to engineer protein variants designed for specific uses.

Last modified Thu, 10 Dec, 2015 at 16:25

Stanford engineers among recipients of Precourt Institute and TomKat Center $2.1 million grants

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Research Profile

Grants will fund groundbreaking energy research

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Stanford Engineers receive Precort, TomKat grants
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Grants will fund groundbreaking energy research

The Precourt Institute for Energy and the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy at Stanford have awarded 12 faculty seed grants totaling $2.1 million for groundbreaking research on clean energy.  Launched in 2010, the seed-grant program funds faculty research with the potential for high impact on energy supply and use. 

Last modified Thu, 3 Dec, 2015 at 13:05

Atom-sized craters make a catalyst much more active

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Research News

SLAC, Stanford Engineering discovery could speed important chemical reactions, such as making hydrogen fuel

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Discovery speeds chemical reactions
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SLAC, Stanford discovery could speed important chemical reactions

Bombarding and stretching an important industrial catalyst opens up tiny holes on its surface where atoms can attach and react, greatly increasing its activity as a promoter of chemical reactions, according to a study by researchers at Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

Last modified Thu, 3 Dec, 2015 at 9:16

Stanford engineers create artificial skin that can send pressure sensation to brain cell

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Stanford engineers have created a plastic skin-like material that can detect pressure and deliver a Morse code-like signal directly to a living brain cell. The work takes a big step toward adding a sense of touch to prosthetic limbs.

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Plastic skin adds touch to prosthetic limbs
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Stanford engineers develop plastic skin-like material that can detect pressure

Stanford chemical engineering Professor Zhenan Bao and her team have created a skin-like material that can tell the difference between a soft touch and a firm handshake. The device on the golden “fingertip” is the skin-like sensor developed by Stanford engineers. (Bao Lab)

Stanford engineers have created a plastic "skin" that can detect how hard it is being pressed and generate an electric signal to deliver this sensory input directly to a living brain cell.

Last modified Mon, 9 Nov, 2015 at 16:47

Stanford team re-engineers virus to deliver therapies to cells

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Researchers stripped a virus of its infectious machinery and turned its benign core into a delivery vehicle that can target sick cells while leaving healthy tissue alone.

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Redesigned virus targets sick cells
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Researchers redesigned a virus that can target sick cells while leaving healthy tissue alone

Stanford researchers have ripped the guts out of a virus and totally redesigned its core to repurpose its infectious capabilities into a safe vehicle for delivering vaccines and therapies directly where they are needed.

The study reported today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences breathes new life into the field of targeted delivery, the ongoing effort to fashion treatments that affect diseased areas but leave healthy tissue alone.

Last modified Mon, 28 Sep, 2015 at 9:09

Stanford engineers produce cancer drug from rare plant in lab to benefit human health

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Stanford scientists produced a common cancer drug – previously only available from an endangered plant – in a common laboratory plant. This work could lead to a more stable supply of the drug and allow scientists to manipulate that drug to make it even safer and more effective.

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Imitating Plants in Lab
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Stanford engineers produce cancer drug from rare plant in lab to benefit human health

Many of the drugs we take today to treat pain, fight cancer or thwart disease were originally identified in plants, some of which are endangered or hard to grow. In many cases, those plants are still the primary source of the drug.

Last modified Fri, 11 Sep, 2015 at 7:54

Microscopic Rake Doubles Efficiency of Low-cost Solar Cells

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Research News

Researchers from the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford engineers have developed a manufacturing technique that could help make polymer solar cells an economically attractive alternative to those made with much more expensive silicon-crystal wafers.

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Microscopic Rake Doubles Efficiency of Low-cost Solar Cells
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Solar cells made with the tiny rake double the efficiency of cells made without it.

Researchers from the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford engineers have developed a manufacturing technique that could double the electricity output of inexpensive solar cells by using a microscopic rake when applying light-harvesting polymers.

When commercialized, this advance could help make polymer solar cells an economically attractive alternative to those made with much more expensive silicon-crystal wafers.

Last modified Thu, 3 Sep, 2015 at 9:53

Stanford Engineering students and researchers win grants to commercialize energy inventions

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Building on the success of its first year, the Innovation Transfer Program at the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy is financially supporting 11 new teams composed mostly of Stanford students and recent graduates trying to put university research to work.

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Engineers Win TomKat Grants
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Stanford Engineering students and researchers win grants to commercialize energy inventions.

Miniature ultrasound sensors embedded in windmill blades could help avoid catastrophic failures and reduce wind power costs by replacing field inspections with online monitoring.

Stanford Engineering students Alex Guo and Kevin Zheng have set out to show that their sensor system, developed in the laboratory of electrical engineering Associate Professor Boris Murmann, can be commercialized. Then they plan to develop applications for monitoring pipelines, trains, planes and other critical infrastructure.

Last modified Wed, 29 Jul, 2015 at 11:05