The Touch, the Feel of Plastic (Fabric)

Researchers at Stanford University have designed a new polyethylene-based (same material used to make plastic wrap used in the kitchen) fabric that’s meant to lower its wearer’s body temperature by almost four degrees.

How was it made?  How is this helpful?  What is the cause of resistance?


Hottest Pepper in the World

For some, this is not going to end well.  But, in stretching the performance envelopes, somebody has to do the dirty work.

Per Ed Currie, tasting the so-called “Carolina Reaper”, a fire-engine red chili pepper the size of a golf ball, “it knocked me to my knees,” he says. “I was very surprised.”


Update on AP Chem Alumni

Where did they go? Updated August 2016.


  • Layton Decker ’16 – The Citadel
  • Patrick Franzoni ’16 – East Carolina University
  • Jordan Riggs ’17
  • Seth Losure ’16 – United States Military Academy (West Point)
  • Micah Mudlaff ’16
  • Evan Wieck ’16 – United States Naval Academy (Annapolis)
  • Justin Yoon ’17


  • Henry Averett ’15 – Old Dominion University
  • Christopher Czarnecki ’16
  • Zachariah Gjenasaj ’15 – Kingsborough CC
  • Jeremiah Ham ’16 – Drexel Universeity
  • Alex Mikhalkov ’15 – Florida Institute of Technology
  • Ryan Phillips ’16 – University of Tampa
  • Merced Shen ’16
  • Sadat Slade ’15 – University of Virginia
  • Nicholas Summers ’16 – James Madison University
  • Thomas Taylor ’16 – University of Kentucky
  • Robert Tucker ’15 – Hampton University


  • Tanner Andrews ’14 – United States Military Academy (West Point)
  • Braden Barnett ’15 – United States Merchant Marine Academy
  • Tselmeg Ganbold ’14 – University of Minnesota – Morris
  • Walter Kasica ’16 – Carnegie Melon University
  • Joshua Looney ’14 – United States Naval Academy (Annapolis)
  • Logan Mitchell ’14 – University of Virginia
  • Zach Ruffin ’15 – North Carolina State University
  • Daniel Su ’14 – Boston University
  • Haden Walker ’15 – University of Memphis

Leaf-mimicking device harnesses light to purify water

A team has come up with another kind of device that mimics two of a leaf’s processes — photosynthesis and transpiration — to harness solar energy to purify water. The researchers built a tri-layer membrane out of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles, gold nanoparticles and a supporting layer of anodized aluminum oxide. The membrane cleans water in two ways. In a photosynthesis-like process, the TiO2 layer captures light, and that energy spurs the breakdown of toxic pollutants in a water sample. Testing showed it degraded about 60 percent of a model pollutant after two hours in simulated sunlight. The gold layer performs the transpiration role of a leaf — it harnesses solar energy and drives water at the sample surface to evaporate. The resulting vapor rises, leaving contaminants behind. The scientists then condensed the vapor to make purified water.


Mimicking future crops

Scientists reported that crops grown in environments designed to mimic future conditions have serious deficiencies of certain nutrients, compared with current crops.

Alloy of Mg-Zn and SiC nanoparticles

Dr. Lianyi Chen (Missouri S&T) and colleagues publish at paper in Nature reporting on a lightweight but very strong structural metal that could improve energy efficiency in aerospace, automobile, defense, mobile electronics and biomedical applications.  They used used magnesium because it is a light metal with two-thirds the density of aluminum, it’s abundant on Earth and is biocompatible. They processed the material to uniformly dispersed and stabilize silicon carbide nanoparticles in a molten magnesium-zinc alloyto make a super-strong and lightweight metal.


What I Learned about Climate Change: The Science is not Settled

An interesting read (38 minutes) on the critical questions regarding Global Climate change.  Of particular import is the insight into how “science” is done in the context of society and politics on something important (but uncontrolled) like our world.

Chemist Job Description from BLS

For your reference:

BLS link

Vomiting Device Offers First Direct Evidence That Vomit Aerosolizes Norovirus-Like Particles


Lead paper:

Using a vomiting device of their creation, researchers at North Carolina State University and Wake Forest University are reporting the first direct evidence that vomiting can aerosolize virus particles similar to human norovirus.

A Sticky Situation

UCSB researchers study and improve a small molecule to help it adhere in wet environments.

Taking their cue from Mother Nature and the chemical composition of mussel foot proteins, the Alison Butler Lab at UC Santa Barbara decided to improve a small molecule called the siderophore cyclic trichrysobactin (CTC) that they had previously discovered. They modified the molecule and then tested its adhesive strength in aqueous environments. The result: a compound that rivals the staying power of mussel glue.