Short Articles


Troubleshooting Metalworking Fluids

May 29, 2022

Metalworking fluid Credit: Glenn McKechnie, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

Metalworking operations involve many interacting factors, only one of which is the metalworking fluid (MWF). Solving problems on the production floor requires identifying the factor (or factors) most responsible for the problem. Besides the MWF formulation, other contributors to machining performance include maintenance practices, the type of metalworking operation, machining variables (speed, feed, etc.), the workpiece metallurgy and the environment in the production area.

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Nitrate Reduction Provides Insights into Evolving Electrode Structures

May 18, 2022

Nitrate Reduction Provides Insights into Evolving Electrode Structures

JACS Spotlights April 19, 2022 Wastewater treatments that reduce nitrate to form ammonia not only remove nitrate pollutants, but the resulting ammonia can be used in a variety of industrially useful reactions. William Tarpeh and colleagues recently studied the interacting effects of electrochemical nitrate reduction and the evolving structure and …

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New Superatom Is Both Stable and Magnetic

New Superatom Is Both Stable and Magnetic

May 18, 2022

JACS Spotlights March 22, 2022 Superatoms are small symmetric clusters of atoms with electronic states bunched together into closely packed shells. Like their individual-atom counterparts, superatoms with filled shells have the greatest electronic stability. Typical stable octahedral transition metal chalcogenide clusters have a single set of filled electron shells and …

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Nanoparticle Assembly: Expanding the Realm of the Possible

May 18, 2022

Nanoparticle Assembly image

JACS Spotlights Feb. 22, 2022 Nanoparticles assemble themselves into a multitude of compositions and structures, and the range of possible applications appears almost limitless. Robert Macfarlane and co-workers give an overview of the history and current state of nanoparticle assembly research, focusing on assembly approaches and emergent properties of the …

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New Polymers Survive a Loss of Protection

May 18, 2022

Article image

JACS Spotlights, Feb. 9, 2022 Sulfur-containing organic molecules called thiols and thiocatechols are used in a variety of reactions involving the formation of disulfide bonds, coupling to double and triple bonds, and attachments to metal surfaces. In contrast, their polymer counterparts, thiophenol-pendant and dithiocatechol-pendant polymers, tend to oxidize and form …

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Bacteria Become Tiny Catalytic Synthesis Vessels

May 18, 2022

JACS Spotlights Jan. 26, 2022 Artificial metalloenzymes, made from protein scaffolds incorporating synthetic metal complexes, combine the versatility of transition-metal catalysts with the shape selectivity of enzymes. Until now, getting the metal complex into the cell has been difficult, and the reactivity of artificial enzymes in living cells has been …

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Organic Synthesis Method Goes Against the Flow

May 15, 2022

Organic catalyst goes against flow
Image by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

JACS Spotlights, Jan. 5, 2022 Making more stable compounds out of less stable ones is nothing new, but going the other direction often requires multiple synthesis steps, harsh reaction conditions, and separating the desired products from the inevitable byproducts. Alison Wendlandt and co-workers have found a way around this obstacle, …

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I Just Want to See the Raw Data!

May 29, 2022

Raw Data image

Originally posted (by me) on LinkedIn, December 9, 2014. “I just want to see the raw data! No interpretation, no massaging the numbers, just the raw data straight out of the instrument!” I sympathized with my non-scientist friend. She felt frustrated after reading a series of news items that began …

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Tiny Crystal Provides a Big Clue

June 18, 2014

Image of blue crystal formation

Is there an immense ocean, far beneath the surface of the Earth, that replenishes the oceans above? Recent news items describe a deep reservoir containing as much as three-quarters of the Earth’s water supply. Most of these news stories are careful to note that this isn’t some great sloshing underground …

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A Yummy Smell (and a Clue)

October 20, 2014

Chemical structure of Zingerone

Cooking fresh ginger transforms one of its ingredients, gingerol, into a compound called zingerone, which is one of the key contributors to ginger’s distinctive aroma. Zingerone is chemically similar to vanillin (which gives vanilla its odor) and eugenol (clove oil).

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Note to Wombats: Don’t Eat the Heliotrope

April 17, 2014

Image of wombat

The wombats didn’t start getting sick until after Australian ranchers moved their livestock off the plot of land that the livestock and wombats had shared, after the foul-tasting weeds took over, pushing aside the tasty native grasses. The older wombats knew that something had changed, but the younger generation ate …

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These iron curtains are very, very sheer.

April 8, 2014

image of atom-thick sheet of iron

Recently, a group of researchers in Dresden, Germany found a way to make one-atom-thick sheets of iron. It wasn’t what they had set out to do, but they were alert enough to see this as the intriguing discovery it was rather than an annoying byproduct to be cleaned up. Thin …

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How did the Fukushima nuclear accident affect wildlife?

March 31, 2014

Radiation_hotspot_in_Kashiwa_small

On March 11, 2011, a tsunami, a giant wave set off by an earthquake, struck the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan. The tsunami caused a catastrophic failure of the power station and a release of radioactive material that has been rated second in magnitude only to the Chornobyl disaster. …

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The Art of the Possible

March 24, 2014

Image of Sodalith

I’ve been intending to start a lay-person’s version of my weekly postings on the American Chemical Society website. Several of my Twitter followers have mentioned that they are impressed, but confused, by these tech-heavy synopses, written for an audience of professional chemists. I thought I might wait for a week

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A World of Slow Drips

January 30, 2014

Image of open country

Annual Event Briefing: “The Year Ahead in Environment and Energy” Part 4 of 4
Dennis Dimick, executive editor of the environment at National Geographic, spoke of a nexus where food, water, and energy issues meet. Much of the petroleum extraction being done today, including water-intensive fracking operations, is being done in arid regions. Many arid regions in the U.S. are under stress because of decreases in the mountain snowpack that replenishes rivers and lakes every year….

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Keystone Capers and Ocean Issues

January 29, 2014

Image of man in police custody

Annual Event Briefing: “The Year Ahead in Environment and Energy” Part 3 of 4
Opposition to Canada’s Keystone Pipeline, a story that generated significant heat inside the Beltway last year, may be producing some unintended effects. “Canada is committed to developing its oil sands, Keystone or not,” said Larry Pearl, Bloomberg BNA’s director of environmental news. If the Keystone construction project is prevented or delayed, the industry could resort to railroads and ships to bring crude oil to market….

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Coal: Politics and power Supplies

January 27, 2014

Annual Event Briefing: “The Year Ahead in Environment and Energy” Part 2 of 4
This year’s U.S. midterm elections will increasingly influence the debate on the use, regulation, and export of coal, said Suzanne Goldenberg, the U.S. environmental correspondent for The Guardian. Coral Davenport, who covers climate and energy for The New York Times, concurred. The Republican Party accuses the Obama administration of waging a “war on coal”, Davenport said. “I think that’s accurate….

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Energy and the Environment: Global Issues, Local Actions

January 26, 2014

Annual Event Briefing: “The Year Ahead in Environment and Energy” Part 1 of 4
A newly assertive federal executive branch, push-back from the legislature and judicial system, unintended effects of social activism, unanticipated effects of leaking storage tanks and Arctic thaws, who’s using coal, reasons to “go green” that don’t involve tree-hugging — 2014 will have no shortage of news stories on energy and the environment, according to a panel of seven journalistic prognosticators.

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Where Do We Go From Here?

Image of NASA parrot drone and young boy

May 17, 2013

Series on Unmanned Vehicles: Part 3 of 3
At present, unmanned aerial vehicles — “drones” in popular parlance — are used for military surveillance and strikes, civilian environmental and wildlife monitoring, and scientific research purposes. Private citizens use remotely operated toy airplanes and helicopters …

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What Is a Drone?

May 13, 2013

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Series on Unmanned Vehicles: Part 2 of 3
Recent news stories have familiarized us with military drones bearing names like Predator and Reaper. Popular television shows feature tiny spy drones, conjuring images of CIA black ops. You could be forgiven for assuming that drones are a new and pernicious …

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Don’t Drone Me, Bro

May 9, 2013

Image of man with sign "Don't Drone Me Bro"

Series on Unmanned Vehicles: Part 1 of 3
A quick news search on the word “drone” pulls up associated words including “strike”, “attack”, “secrecy”, and “protest”. Polls and surveys indicate that the word “drone” triggers an anxious response, based on military-heavy news coverage and fears of the various things that drones have …

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