Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Joule


Betavoltaic energy converters (i.e., β-batteries) are attractive power sources because of their potential for high energy densities (>200 MWh/kg) and long duration continuous discharge (>1 year). However, conversion efficiencies have been historically low (<3%). High efficiency devices can be achieved by matching β-radiation transport length scales with the device physics length scales. In this work, the efficiency of c-Si devices using high-energy (>1 MeV) electrons emitted from (90)Sr as a power source is investigated. We propose a design for a >10% efficient betavoltaic device, which generates 1 W of power. A Varian Clinac iX is used to simulate the high-energy electrons emitted from (90)Sr, and a high efficiency c-Si photovoltaic cell is used as the converter. The measured conversion efficiency is 16%. This relatively high value is attributed to proper length scale matching and the generation of secondary electrons in c-Si by the primary β-particles.

Concepts: Electron, Energy, Fundamental physics concepts, Mass, Force, Solar cell, Units of measurement, Joule


Carrying load alters normal walking, imposes additional stress to the musculoskeletal system, and results in an increase in energy consumption and a consequent earlier onset of fatigue. This phenomenon is largely due to increased work requirements in lower extremity joints, in turn requiring higher muscle activation. The aim of this work was to assess the biomechanical and physiological effects of a multi-joint soft exosuit that applies assistive torques to the biological hip and ankle joints during loaded walking.

Concepts: Energy, Force, Anatomy, Human anatomy, Classical mechanics, Joints, Joule


The high cost of powerful, large-stroke, high-stress artificial muscles has combined with performance limitations such as low cycle life, hysteresis, and low efficiency to restrict applications. We demonstrated that inexpensive high-strength polymer fibers used for fishing line and sewing thread can be easily transformed by twist insertion to provide fast, scalable, nonhysteretic, long-life tensile and torsional muscles. Extreme twisting produces coiled muscles that can contract by 49%, lift loads over 100 times heavier than can human muscle of the same length and weight, and generate 5.3 kilowatts of mechanical work per kilogram of muscle weight, similar to that produced by a jet engine. Woven textiles that change porosity in response to temperature and actuating window shutters that could help conserve energy were also demonstrated. Large-stroke tensile actuation was theoretically and experimentally shown to result from torsional actuation.

Concepts: Energy, Muscle, Mass, Force, Joule, Internal combustion engine, Jet engine, Twist


Interventions targeting portion size and energy density of food and beverage products have been identified as a promising approach for obesity prevention. This study modelled the potential cost-effectiveness of: a package size cap on single-serve sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) >375 mL ( package size cap ), and product reformulation to reduce energy content of packaged SSBs ( energy reduction ). The cost-effectiveness of each intervention was modelled for the 2010 Australia population using a multi-state life table Markov model with a lifetime time horizon. Long-term health outcomes were modelled from calculated changes in body mass index to their impact on Health-Adjusted Life Years (HALYs). Intervention costs were estimated from a limited societal perspective. Cost and health outcomes were discounted at 3%. Total intervention costs estimated in AUD 2010 were AUD 210 million. Both interventions resulted in reduced mean body weight ( package size cap : 0.12 kg; energy reduction : 0.23 kg); and HALYs gained ( package size cap : 73,883; energy reduction : 144,621). Cost offsets were estimated at AUD 750.8 million ( package size cap ) and AUD 1.4 billion ( energy reduction ). Cost-effectiveness analyses showed that both interventions were “dominant”, and likely to result in long term cost savings and health benefits. A package size cap and kJ reduction of SSBs are likely to offer excellent “value for money” as obesity prevention measures in Australia.

Concepts: Energy, Obesity, Mass, Body mass index, Body shape, Joule, Body weight, Energy density


Raman amplification arising from the excitation of a density echelon in plasma could lead to amplifiers that significantly exceed current power limits of conventional laser media. Here we show that 1-100 J pump pulses can amplify picojoule seed pulses to nearly joule level. The extremely high gain also leads to significant amplification of backscattered radiation from “noise”, arising from stochastic plasma fluctuations that competes with externally injected seed pulses, which are amplified to similar levels at the highest pump energies. The pump energy is scattered into the seed at an oblique angle with 14 J sr(-1), and net gains of more than eight orders of magnitude. The maximum gain coefficient, of 180 cm(-1), exceeds high-power solid-state amplifying media by orders of magnitude. The observation of a minimum of 640 J sr(-1) directly backscattered from noise, corresponding to ≈10% of the pump energy in the observation solid angle, implies potential overall efficiencies greater than 10%.

Concepts: Energy, Kinetic energy, Gain, Angle, Joule, Conservation of energy, Amplifier, Watt


Wind turbines convert kinetic to electrical energy, which returns to the atmosphere as heat to regenerate some potential and kinetic energy. As the number of wind turbines increases over large geographic regions, power extraction first increases linearly, but then converges to a saturation potential not identified previously from physical principles or turbine properties. These saturation potentials are >250 terawatts (TW) at 100 m globally, approximately 80 TW at 100 m over land plus coastal ocean outside Antarctica, and approximately 380 TW at 10 km in the jet streams. Thus, there is no fundamental barrier to obtaining half (approximately 5.75 TW) or several times the world’s all-purpose power from wind in a 2030 clean-energy economy.

Concepts: Energy, Kinetic energy, Potential energy, Renewable energy, Wind power, Joule, Wind turbine, Windmill


OBJECTIVES:Dishware size is thought to influence eating behaviors, but effects on children’s self-served portion sizes and intakes have not been studied. We aimed to evaluate whether larger dishware increased children’s self-served portion sizes and intake during meals.METHODS:A within-subjects experimental design was used to test the effects of dishware size (ie, plates and bowls) on children’s self-served portion sizes and intakes in a naturalistic setting. Subjects were predominantly African American elementary school-aged children (n = 42) observed on repeated occasions during school lunch. Children served themselves an entree and side dishes using either child- or adult-size dishware, which represented a 100% increase in the surface area of plates and volume of bowls across conditions. Condition order was randomly assigned and counterbalanced across 2 first-grade classrooms. Entrées of amorphous and unit form were evaluated on separate days. Fruit and vegetable side dishes were evaluated at each meal. Fixed portions of milk and bread were provided at each meal.RESULTS:Children served more energy (mean = 90.1 kcal, SE = 29.4 kcal) when using adult-size dishware. Adult-size dishware promoted energy intake indirectly, where every additional calorie served resulted in a 0.43-kcal increase in total energy intakes at lunch (t = 7.72, P = .001).CONCLUSIONS:Children served themselves more with larger plates and bowls and consumed nearly 50% of the calories that they served. This provides new evidence that children’s self-served portion sizes are influenced by size-related facets of their eating environments, which, in turn, may influence children’s energy intake.

Concepts: Energy, Heat, Food energy, Joule, Calorie, British thermal unit, Plate, Dishware


Mechanical energy harvesters are needed for diverse applications, including self-powered wireless sensors, structural and human health monitoring systems, and the extraction of energy from ocean waves. We report carbon nanotube yarn harvesters that electrochemically convert tensile or torsional mechanical energy into electrical energy without requiring an external bias voltage. Stretching coiled yarns generated 250 watts per kilogram of peak electrical power when cycled up to 30 hertz, as well as up to 41.2 joules per kilogram of electrical energy per mechanical cycle, when normalized to harvester yarn weight. These energy harvesters were used in the ocean to harvest wave energy, combined with thermally driven artificial muscles to convert temperature fluctuations to electrical energy, sewn into textiles for use as self-powered respiration sensors, and used to power a light-emitting diode and to charge a storage capacitor.

Concepts: Energy, Torque, Mass, Carbon nanotube, Capacitor, Joule, Volt, Watt


Intense debate exists regarding the optimal energy and protein intake for intensive care unit (ICU) patients. However, most studies use predictive equations, demonstrated to be inaccurate to target energy intake. We sought to examine the outcome of a large cohort of ICU patients in relation to the percent of administered calories divided by resting energy expenditure (% AdCal/REE) obtained by indirect calorimetry (IC) and to protein intake.

Concepts: Cohort study, Energy, Group, Food energy, Joule, Calorie, Calorimetry, British thermal unit


Nonradiative energy transfer from an InGaN quantum well to Ag nanoparticles is unambiguously demonstrated by the time-resolved photoluminescence. The distance dependence of the energy transfer rate is found to be proportional to 1/d(3), in good agreement with the prediction of the dipole interaction calculated from the Joule losses in acceptors. The maximum energy-transfer efficiency of this energy transfer system can be as high as 83%.

Concepts: Energy, Quantum mechanics, Quantum dot, Joule, Quantum well, Particle in a box, Quantum electronics, Quantum well laser