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Power

Diamonds Are a Fuel Cell's Best Friend 210

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers at UC Davis have used nanocrystals made of diamond-like cubic zirconia to develop cooler fuel cells. Even if hydrogen fuel cells have been touted as clean energy sources, current fuel cells have to run at high temperatures of up to 1,000 C. This new technology will allow fuel cells to run at much lower temperatures, between 50 and 100 C. Obviously, this could lead to a widespread use of fuel cells, which could become a realistic alternative power source for vehicles. The researchers have applied for a patent for their technology, but don't tell when fuel cells based on their work are about to appear."
Supercomputing

Shaking a 275-ton Building 110

Roland Piquepaille writes "If you want to predict how a tall building can resist to an earthquake, some researchers have better tools than others. Engineers from the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) have built a full-size 275-ton building and really shaken it to obtain earthshaking images. The building was equipped with some 600 sensors and filmed as the shake table simulated the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles, California. It gave so much data to the engineers to analyze that they needed a supercomputer to help them. Now they hope their study will yield to better structure performance for future buildings in case of earthquakes."

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