Reducing food industry carbon emissions with advanced hybrid desiccant-wheel heat pump system

Aiming to reduce industrial carbon pollution and moving the country toward a net-zero emissions economy by 2050, a team of researchers from Texas A&M, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory received Department of Energy (DOE) support to pursue the development and implementation of a high-performance hybrid desiccant-wheel heat pump system. … Read more

Reducing energy consumption in wood-drying through innovations in desiccant-coated kirigami heat exchangers and heat pump

Drying is an essential part of the product manufacturing industry, which accounts for up to 25% of the national energy consumption of developed countries. With the support of the U.S. Department of Energy, researchers from Texas A&M University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia and Michigan Technological University are teaming together to employ innovations in … Read more

Manipulating Materials, Shapes and Chemistry To Create Climate Change-Fighting Inventions

Shu Yang looks at her research through the lens of biomimicry: life forms and natural shapes have inspired her unique engineering solutions that span agriculture, building cooling and heating and reversible adhesives. For Yang, each of her innovations starts with changes on a fundamental level that can then grow into scalable and impactful products. Her … Read more

Graphene oxide composite fibers muscle in

Soft materials promise more dexterous, sensitive robotics but soft actuators are limited in strength and power density. Now researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have fabricated meter-long composite fibers combining graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets with flexible, conductive polymers that can achieve mechanical strength, toughness, and actuation that surpasses biological muscles [Gao et al., Materials Today … Read more

Engineered Magic: Wooden Seed Carriers Mimic the Behavior of Self-Burying Seed

How seeds implant themselves in soil can seem magical. During rain or high humidity, the corkscrew-like stalk of Erodium unwinds and twists the seed into the soil, where it can take root and is safe from hungry birds and harsh environmental conditions. Inspired by Erodium’s magic, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University collaborated with Syracuse University, … Read more

Kirigami Structures Pull Water from the Air

Climate change is forcing us to reshape our relationship with water. Collecting atmospheric water could help us adapt to both severe dry spells and inundating amounts of precipitation by providing a source of freshwater or dehumidifying humid places. The Yang lab and collaborators have created a kirigami device utilizing the geometry of simple materials to … Read more

Kirigami Breast Reconstruction

For many breast cancer patients, the road to recovery may present hidden complications related to breast reconstruction following a mastectomy. The insertion of implants can lead to implant malposition, a condition that affects a significant number of patients even years after surgery. Now, the Yang lab and collaborators have used the principles of a papercutting … Read more

Snapping metacaps propel soft robot design

When a metacap “snaps”, it pops open and closed, pushing air back and forth. This snapping allows a soft robot to propel and grip without any electronics. The new ribbed metacaps permit unprecedented levels of control and speed, enabling robots delicate enough to gently grasp a ripe strawberry and powerful enough to swim through choppy, … Read more

Cut or No Cut: Algorithm for 2D-to-3D Engineering Integrates Art, Nature and Science

The team’s work takes inspiration from kirigami, an East Asian papercutting art, to create a mathematically sound method of cutting and stacking flat materials into durable curved objects. The advance addresses a longstanding blind spot at the intersection of mechanical engineering and materials science: Hardwearing materials with high mechanical integrity lose strength when manipulated into … Read more