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Home > News > Cosmic ice crystals reveal nanotech bonus

February 16th, 2011

Cosmic ice crystals reveal nanotech bonus

Abstract:
A discovery of 'ice lava' crystals with unusual expansion properties from volcanoes on Saturn and Neptune's moons has given scientists new insight into how nanotechnology may develop, and could inspire new meta-materials.

According to the researchers, the finding could lead to the development of new materials that can retain their structure in fluctuating temperatures, as the crystals made from methanol monohydrate posses the rare ability to shrink when heated and expand when compressed.

"What we're interested in here is the arrangement of structural units in methanol monohydrate which cause [the crystals] to exhibit the weird elastic properties we observed," said Dominic Fortes, a planetary geologist at University College London.

Source:
cosmosmagazine.com

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