When solids flow like liquids they can make sand dunes sing, and they can also result in a potentially deadly avalanche. Cambridge researchers are studying the physics behind both of these phenomena, which could have applications in industries such as pharmaceuticals, oil and gas.
A new prototype of a lithium-sulphur battery – which could have five times the energy density of a typical lithium-ion battery – overcomes one of the key hurdles preventing their commercial development by mimicking the structure of the cells which allow us to absorb nutrients.
A new design for transistors which operate on ‘scavenged’ energy from their environment could form the basis for devices which function for months or years without a battery, and could be used for wearable or implantable electronics.
Researchers have built a record energy-efficient switch, which uses the interplay of electricity and a liquid form of light, in semiconductor microchips. The device could form the foundation of future signal processing and information technologies, making electronics even more efficient.
Study of natural-occurring 100,000 year-old CO2 reservoirs shows no significant corroding of ‘cap rock’, suggesting the greenhouse gas hasn’t leaked back out - one of the main concerns with greenhouse gas reduction proposal of carbon capture and storage.
The cities of today are built with concrete and steel – but some Cambridge researchers think that the cities of the future need to go back to nature if they are to support an ever-expanding population, while keeping carbon emissions under control.
The Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction is building on advances in sensing technology to learn everything possible about a city’s infrastructure – its tunnels, roads, bridges, sewers and power supplies – in order to maintain it and optimise its use for the future.
From wind turbines and solar photovoltaics to grey water recycling and electric vehicles, technology is making it ever easier for us to be green – yet many of us are not. Now, Cambridge researchers are discovering that our personalities and communities have a major impact on our environmental decisions, opening up new ways to ‘nudge’ us into saving energy and carbon.
In the search for low emission plant-based fuels, new research may help avoid having to choose between growing crops for food or fuel.
Today, we commence a month-long focus on the future of cities. To begin, Doug Crawford-Brown, Robert Mair and Koen Steemers describe the challenges our future cities will face and how mitigation depends on the innovations we create and put in place today.