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The strength test

Wind turbines rise into the sky on enormous feet. To ensure these giants can reliably generate electricity for many years to come, the iron processing industry must manufacture their massive components in a stable, resource-saving and yet cost-effective way. However, material inclusions such as dross are often unavoidable while casting. Fraunhofer researchers are currently working to detect and analyze such material defects.

Wind turbines should be environmentally friendly, highly efficient, cost-effective, and able to function reliably for at least 20 years. However, as turbines become increasingly powerful, the demands on the components used are growing, and so is the risk of material fatigue. Material defects such as inclusions from slag, known as dross, are considered undesirable because they greatly reduce the load-bearing capacity of cast iron components with spheroidal graphite. This special kind of cast iron is also used to make a wind turbine’s mainframe and rotor hubs. Manufacturing such components is difficult due to the build-up of dross that often occurs despite tricks in casting techniques.

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Scientists make biodegradable microbeads from cellulose

Scientists and engineers from the University of Bath have developed biodegradable cellulose microbeads from a sustainable source that could potentially replace harmful plastic ones that contribute to ocean pollution.

Microbeads are little spheres of plastic less than 0.5 mm in size that are added to personal care and cleaning products including cosmetics, sunscreens and fillers to give them a smooth texture. However they are too small to be removed by sewage filtration systems and so end up in rivers and oceans, where they are ingested by birds, fish and other marine life.

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Fractal planting patterns yield optimal harvests, without central control

Bali's famous rice terraces, when seen from above, look like colorful mosaics because some farmers plant synchronously, while others plant at different times. The resulting fractal patterns are rare for man-made systems and lead to optimal harvests without global planning. 

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Lost ecosystem found buried in mud of southern California coastal waters

Paleontologists investigating the sea bed off the coast of southern California have discovered a lost ecosystem that for thousands of years had nurtured communities of scallops and shelled marine organisms called brachiopods.

These brachiopods and scallops had thrived along a section of coast stretching approximately 250 miles from San Diego to Santa Barbara for at least 4,000 years. But they had died off by the early 20th century, replaced by the mud-dwellling burrowing clams that inhabit this seabed today. Paleontologists Adam Tomašových of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and Susan Kidwell of the University of Chicago examine the lost ecosystem in a study published online June 7 in the Royal Society Proceedings B.

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NASA Data Suggest Future May Be Rainier Than Expected

A new study suggests that most global climate models may underestimate the amount of rain that will fall in Earth's tropical regions as our planet continues to warm. That's because these models underestimate decreases in high clouds over the tropics seen in recent NASA observations, according to research led by scientist Hui Su of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Wait a minute: how can fewer clouds lead to more rainfall? Globally, rainfall isn't related just to the clouds that are available to make rain but also to Earth's "energy budget" -- incoming energy from the sun compared to outgoing heat energy. High-altitude tropical clouds trap heat in the atmosphere. If there are fewer of these clouds in the future, the tropical atmosphere will cool. Judging from observed changes in clouds over recent decades, it appears that the atmosphere would create fewer high clouds in response to surface warming. It would also increase tropical rainfall, which would warm the air to balance the cooling from the high cloud shrinkage.

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The largest virtual Universe ever simulated

Researchers from the University of Zurich have simulated the formation of our entire Universe with a large supercomputer. A gigantic catalogue of about 25 billion virtual galaxies has been generated from 2 trillion digital particles. This catalogue is being used to calibrate the experiments on board the Euclid satellite, that will be launched in 2020 with the objective of investigating the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

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Researchers Compute Their Way Toward Cleaner Coal Plants

When you think of turbulence, you might think of a bumpy plane ride. Turbulence, however, is far more ubiquitous to our lives than just air travel. Ocean waves, smoke from fire, even noise coming from jet engines or wind turbines are all related to turbulence.

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New Findings Aim to Improve Global Medical Device Standard on Auditory Alarms

The global medical device standard IEC 60601-1-8, first published in 2006, specifies safety and performance requirements for auditory alarms in medical electrical equipment and systems used in hospitals and other health-care facilities around the world. Despite widespread use of these alarm sets, research has shown that clinicians have difficulty learning and distinguishing between them even after repeated exposure, which can lead to time-critical delays or errors in patient care.

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Great Lakes research centre provides state-of-the-art facility in LaSalle

Students at the University of Windsor can now measure the stress levels of a pickerel swimming against a strong current, the turbidity of hazy tributaries feeding into the Great Lakes, and the behaviour of the invasive sea lamprey without wading into remote and distant waters.

The Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre in LaSalle is the only research facility of its kind in the Great Lakes Basin and provides students with state-of-the-art technology to study the restoration of damaged ecosystems, invasive species biology and water quality.

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Scientists Discover New Species of Fijian Iguana

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Taronga Conservation Society Australia, The National Trust of Fiji and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti have discovered a new species of banded iguana.

The new species of lizard, Brachylophus gau, is one of only four living species of South Pacific iguana, and is restricted to the island of Gau, Republic of Fiji. The scientists describe this new addition in an article released with the journal Zootaxa.

 

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