US reinstates Superfund taxes to clean up 1300 contaminated sites

The US government is reviving two long-expired excise taxes on 42 chemicals, and substances made from them. The expected $14.4 billion (£12 billion) in revenue will help fund decontamination of more than 1300 polluted sites in the US. The ‘Superfund’ taxes, which come into effect on 1 July, are poised to revitalise cleanup efforts that […]

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Perfectly planar stable silicon clusters with six contacts predicted

The first planar hexacoordinate silicon clusters found computationally as true global minimum forms have been reported by researchers in China, Germany and Mexico.1 The SiSb3M3+ (M = Ca, Sr, Ba) clusters, which are predicted to be both thermodynamically and kinetically stable, also remain planar when they are protected with N-heterocyclic carbene and benzene ligands that […]

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Highly stable aerogel could protect firefighters and spacecraft from extreme heat

A new ceramic aerogel comprising nanocrystals embedded in an amorphous matrix shows far better thermal insulation than similar materials, as well as better mechanical and thermal stability under extreme conditions. These properties could allow the material to find use in heat-resistant clothing for firefighters where other aerogels have struggled to cope with the demanding conditions […]

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Graphene-like structure created from a fullerene

A single-layer carbon allotrope has been prepared from a fullerene, the first time that a two-dimensional material has been constructed from nanostructures rather than atoms. 2D materials like graphene possess unique electronic and optical properties which arise from their repeating conjugated-carbon structure. This bonding pattern can be altered to tune physical characteristics such as the […]

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Water works as a monomer in polymer synthesis

Researchers in Austria, Norway and Slovenia have devised a strategy for synthesising polyethersulfone polymers using water as a monomer. The polymers can be used as polyelectrolytes in lithium-ion batteries in a step towards more sustainable devices. ‘Water, in general, plays different roles in synthetic [polymer] chemistry,’ says Christian Slugovc at the Graz University of Technology, […]

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European commission proposal seeks to cut EU pesticide use in half by 2030

The European commission has proposed ambitious targets to limit pesticide use. It seeks to halve the use of synthetic pesticides in the EU by 2030, handing member states responsibility for introducing strategies and reduction targets. Pesticides would be banned in sensitive areas, such as parks, playgrounds, sports grounds and ecologically sensitive sites. The rules aim […]

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Acoustic analysis is music to mechanochemical ears

A team of scientists based in France has discovered that the sounds made by ball-milling reactions can determine important chemical information. Ball-milling is a mechanochemistry process which grinds together solid reactants using moving metallic balls in a specially designed reactor. ‘Mechanochemistry is the future’, comments Lars Borchardt, whose research, at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany, […]

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Renaissance science – XXXVIII

There is a strong tendency to regard the so-called scientific revolution in the seventeenth century as a revolution of the mathematical science i.e., astronomy and physics, but as I have pointed out over the years many areas of knowledge went through a major development in the period beginning, in my opinion around 1400 and reaching, […]

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Tiny orbitals paint intuitive picture of large molecules’ reactivity

Orbitalets – a type of localised molecular orbitals – depict chemical reactivity in large molecules in a more intuitive way than other orbital descriptions. Like other frontier molecular orbitals, orbitalets express the quantum mechanical nature of electrons in molecules. They help chemists understand compounds’ reactivity and regioselectivity. But in large molecules with many delocalised electrons, […]

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At least 13 dead in massive chlorine release in Jordan

At least 13 people have been killed, and over 250 more hospitalised after a tanker full of liquefied chlorine gas dropped from a crane during loading at the port of Aqaba in Jordan. The incident occurred in the afternoon of 27 June. Footage released by state television shows the tanker falling from a crane during […]

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