Burglars Beware: New Material Steams, Foams Upon Break-In

Can’t touch this
The material steaming and foaming after being broken into.
Jonas G. Halter et al / Journal of Materials Chemistry A

When bombardier beetles are attacked, they mix chemicals in their body to create a rapid and violent reaction, squirting out a concoction that’s corrosive and hot, near the boiling point of water. Inspired by this defense mechanism, Swiss engineers have created a polymer-based material that gives off steam and foam if it is tampered with. The material consists of sheets of polymer between which two different chemicals are sandwiched, including hydrogen peroxide. They are separated by a rigid wall that breaks upon forced entry, after which the materials react in a most unpleasant manner. 

Imagine if ATMs were made of this stuff–thieves could unwittingly destroy their loot before even removing it, as Chemistry World reported. The system could also be tweaked to include dye or a "DNA-based marker" so that thieves could be easily identified and caught, as they say, red-handed. Since the system requires no electricity, it could be cheaper way of defending ATMs, as the researchers wrote in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A. It could also be used to prevent animals from eating certain crops or trees, they added. 

Bio-inspired design is nothing new for one of the researchers, Wendelin Stark from the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich. He and his colleagues have previously proposed making self-cooling sweaty buildings and self-defending seeds that can poison pests when bitten into. 

[Chemistry World]


from Popular Science http://ift.tt/1rtQmU3

Woman Has Her Skull Replaced With A 3-D-Printed Plastic One

screenshot of a surgeon holding a 3-D printed clear plastic skull piece

The 3-D Printed Skull

A woman with a rare bone disorder has had much of the top of her skull replaced with a 3-D printed plastic piece, Wired U.K. reports. Three months later, she’s symptom-free and back to work.

The woman’s condition made her skull increase in thickness, giving her severe headaches and affecting her eyesight. The surgery, performed at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, gave the woman a replacement that closely matched the original shape of her skull. "It is almost impossible to see that she’s ever had surgery," her lead surgeon, Bon Verweij, said in a statement from the university.

Verweij’s team has used 3-D printing to replace some portions of skulls before, but never to this extent, Wired U.K. reports.

You might see more such stories in the near future. While researchers are still working on 3-D printing soft tissues that are safe for transplants, 3-D-printed bony parts have already shown up in specific surgeries. As in the Utrecht case, doctors often emphasize how personalized such replacements can be.

Three years ago, a British man who had much of his pelvis removed got a replacement 3-D printed in titanium, the Ottawa Citizen reports. Printed titanium implants are made by spitting out titanium powder that’s then fused by a laser beam. The man’s doctor thought a printed replacement would fit better than a standard, handmade one. The man now walks with a cane, the Citizen reports.

In June 2011, a patient in Belgium received a 3-D printed titanium jawbone replacement. This was the first total lower jawbone replacement made to match a specific patient, the BBC reports.

And just last year, Livescience reported a Connecticut-based company received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to market a plastic replacement for 75 percent of the skull.

[Wired U.K.]


from Popular Science http://ift.tt/1jL9kA6

Make Your Own Sriracha Salt

We all love Sriracha. We’ve even shown you how you can make your own at home. For an extra kick of that delicious rooster sauce flavor when you don’t really want to add the actual sauce to a dish, why not make your own Sriracha salt?

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