New polymer films conduct heat instead of trapping it

Polymers are usually the go-to material for thermal insulation. Think of a silicone oven mitt, or a Styrofoam coffee cup, both manufactured from polymer materials that are excellent at trapping heat.

Converting heat into electricity with pencil and paper

Thermoelectric materials can use thermal differences to generate electricity. Now there is an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way of producing them with the simplest tools: a pencil, photocopy paper, and conductive ...

New electrical energy storage material shows its power

A powerful new material developed by Northwestern University chemist William Dichtel and his research team could one day speed up the charging process of electric cars and help increase their driving range.

What magnetic fields can tell us about life on other planets

Every school kid knows that Earth has a magnetic field – it's what makes compasses align north-south and lets us navigate the oceans. It also protects the atmosphere, and thus life, from the sun's powerful wind.

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