Chemical Engineering

How do you design a better polymer?

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Engineers are using complex computational models to better understand what’s going on at the molecular level.

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How do you design a better polymer?
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Engineers are using complex computational models to better understand what’s going on at the molecular level.

Synthetic polymers at work | REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Last modified Fri, 20 May, 2016 at 13:44

How seawater salts affect coastal algae — for good and bad

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Active chemical agents in saltwater help break down the byproducts of coastal algae in ways that seem to counteract deadly algal bloom — but may also have other, less desirable effects.

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How seawater salts affect coastal algae — for good and bad
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Active chemical agents in saltwater help break down the byproducts of coastal algae in ways that seem to counteract deadly algal bloom — but may also have other, less desirable effects.

Red-orange algal bloom in the Puget Sound | Photo by Jeri Cusimano/EcologyWA/Creative Commons

   

Scientists have long studied the role that free radicals play in freshwater because of how these charged compounds affect the chemistry of our drinking water. The special nature of these processes in saltwater ecosystems, however, has been poorly understood.

Last modified Wed, 11 May, 2016 at 14:19

Studying a 'Silly Putty' protein could spur efforts to repair damaged human tissues

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New insights into collagen, the stretchy protein that provides a stiff cushion for cells, aids our understanding of regenerative medicine.

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Studying a 'Silly Putty' protein could spur efforts to repair damaged human tissues
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New insights into collagen, the stretchy protein that provides a stiff cushion for cells, aids our understanding of regenerative medicine.


Stanford researchers are studying the way collagen moves between stiff and elastic states in the human body. | Image by Sebastian Kaulitzki/Shutterstock

Last modified Wed, 4 May, 2016 at 10:35

​Zhenan Bao: On a quest to develop artificial skin

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A team of engineers explore how a new kind of wearable electronics could restore sensation to people with prosthetic limbs.

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​Zhenan Bao: On a quest to develop artificial skin
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A team of engineers explore how a new kind of wearable electronics could restore sensation to people with prosthetic limbs.

Can we build better prostheses? | REUTERS/Mary Schwalm

Last modified Fri, 22 Apr, 2016 at 13:57

A super stretchy, self-healing material could lead to artificial muscle

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​Researchers create a polymer that can stretch to 100 times its original length — and even repair itself if punctured.

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Self-healing material could lead to artificial muscle
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​Researchers create polymer that can stretch to 100 times its original length

In this sample of “artificial muscle,” a circle marks the spot where, after the material was deliberately punctured in an experiment, its chemical nature allowed it to heal itself. | Photo courtesy of Bao Research Group

Last modified Mon, 25 Apr, 2016 at 8:38

​John Hennessy: Great leadership can be learned

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Stanford University President John Hennessy offers his take on important leadership qualities, Silicon Valley, and the future of higher education.​

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​John Hennessy: Great leadership can be learned
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Stanford University President John Hennessy offers his take on important leadership qualities, Silicon Valley, and the future of higher education.​

Stanford University President John Hennessy discusses some of the most powerful lessons he’s learned as leader of one of the world’s most complex and dynamic institutions of higher education. In conversation with Tina Seelig, director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, at the DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series, Hennessy also shares insights from his entrepreneurial career in the high-tech industry.

Last modified Wed, 13 Apr, 2016 at 11:44

How could we use the tiniest specs of diamonds?

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Extracting nanodiamonds from crude oil could help produce next-generation tools for imaging and communications.

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How could we use the tiniest specs of diamonds?
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Extracting nanodiamonds from crude oil could help to produce next-generation tools for imaging and communications.

Too small to see with the naked eye, diamondoids are visible only when they clump together in fine, sugar-like crystals like these. | Photo by Christopher Smith, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Last modified Mon, 11 Apr, 2016 at 8:20

Could a new catalyst use sunlight to efficiently extract hydrogen from water?

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Hydrogen powered vehicles offer a clean alternative to running cars with fossil fuels. This chemical engineering discovery brings that closer to reality.

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Could a new catalyst use sunlight to efficiently extract hydrogen from water?
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Hydrogen powered vehicles offer a clean alternative to running cars with fossil fuels. This chemical engineering discovery brings that closer to reality.

Renewables | Reuters/Mike Blake

Last modified Fri, 1 Apr, 2016 at 8:56

What is the relationship between the brain and risky behavior?

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Research Profile

A study of brain circuitry in rats could shed light on how humans make decisions involving risk.

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How do brains regulate risk?
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A study of brain circuitry in rats could shed light on how humans make decisions involving risk.

Not for everyone | REUTERS/Johansen Laurel/U.S. Navy/Handout

Investigators at Stanford University have identified a small group of nerve cells in a specific brain region of rats whose signaling activity, or lack of it, explains the vast bulk of differences in risk-taking preferences among the animals.

Last modified Wed, 23 Mar, 2016 at 11:40

Eye on the prize: More comfortable contact lenses

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A team of engineers say new insights into human tears could lead to more comfortable lenses.

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Eye on the prize: More comfortable contact lenses
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A team of engineers say new insights into human tears could lead to more comfortable lenses.

Building a better contact lens | Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Last modified Tue, 22 Mar, 2016 at 14:01