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Concept: Kinetic energy


It is generally accepted that crew rowing requires perfect synchronization between the movements of the rowers. However, a long-standing and somewhat counterintuitive idea is that out-of-phase crew rowing might have benefits over in-phase (i.e., synchronous) rowing. In synchronous rowing, 5 to 6% of the power produced by the rower(s) is lost to velocity fluctuations of the shell within each rowing cycle. Theoretically, a possible way for crews to increase average boat velocity is to reduce these fluctuations by rowing in antiphase coordination, a strategy in which rowers perfectly alternate their movements. On the other hand, the framework of coordination dynamics explicates that antiphase coordination is less stable than in-phase coordination, which may impede performance gains. Therefore, we compared antiphase to in-phase crew rowing performance in an ergometer experiment. Nine pairs of rowers performed a two-minute maximum effort in-phase and antiphase trial at 36 strokes min(-1) on two coupled free-floating ergometers that allowed for power losses to velocity fluctuations. Rower and ergometer kinetics and kinematics were measured during the trials. All nine pairs easily acquired antiphase rowing during the warm-up, while one pair’s coordination briefly switched to in-phase during the maximum effort trial. Although antiphase interpersonal coordination was indeed less accurate and more variable, power production was not negatively affected. Importantly, in antiphase rowing the decreased power loss to velocity fluctuations resulted in more useful power being transferred to the ergometer flywheels. These results imply that antiphase rowing may indeed improve performance, even without any experience with antiphase technique. Furthermore, it demonstrates that although perfectly synchronous coordination may be the most stable, it is not necessarily equated with the most efficient or optimal performance.

Concepts: Kinetic energy, Kinematics, Power, Rowing, Indoor rower, College rowing, History of rowing


Wearable electronics fabricated on lightweight and flexible substrate are believed to have great potential for portable devices, but their applications are limited by the life span of their batteries. We propose a hybridized self-charging power textile system with the aim of simultaneously collecting outdoor sunshine and random body motion energies and then storing them in an energy storage unit. Both of the harvested energies can be easily converted into electricity by using fiber-shaped dye-sensitized solar cells (for solar energy) and fiber-shaped triboelectric nanogenerators (for random body motion energy) and then further stored as chemical energy in fiber-shaped supercapacitors. Because of the all-fiber-shaped structure of the entire system, our proposed hybridized self-charging textile system can be easily woven into electronic textiles to fabricate smart clothes to sustainably operate mobile or wearable electronics.

Concepts: Energy, Light, Sun, Kinetic energy, Solar cell, Energy conversion, Capacitor, Textile


Earth is continuously colliding with fragments of asteroids and comets of various sizes. The largest encounter in historical times occurred over the Tunguska river in Siberia in 1908, producing an airburst of energy equivalent to 5-15 megatons of trinitrotoluene (1 kiloton of trinitrotoluene represents an energy of 4.185 × 10(12) joules). Until recently, the next most energetic airburst events occurred over Indonesia in 2009 and near the Marshall Islands in 1994, both with energies of several tens of kilotons. Here we report an analysis of selected video records of the Chelyabinsk superbolide of 15 February 2013, with energy equivalent to 500 kilotons of trinitrotoluene, and details of its atmospheric passage. We found that its orbit was similar to the orbit of the two-kilometre-diameter asteroid 86039 (1999 NC43), to a degree of statistical significance sufficient to suggest that the two were once part of the same object. The bulk strength-the ability to resist breakage-of the Chelyabinsk asteroid, of about one megapascal, was similar to that of smaller meteoroids and corresponds to a heavily fractured single stone. The asteroid broke into small pieces between the altitudes of 45 and 30 kilometres, preventing more-serious damage on the ground. The total mass of surviving fragments larger than 100 grams was lower than expected.

Concepts: Energy, Mass, Kinetic energy, Impact event, Asteroid, Comet, Units of energy, TNT equivalent


Wind turbines remove kinetic energy from the atmospheric flow, which reduces wind speeds and limits generation rates of large wind farms. These interactions can be approximated using a vertical kinetic energy (VKE) flux method, which predicts that the maximum power generation potential is 26% of the instantaneous downward transport of kinetic energy using the preturbine climatology. We compare the energy flux method to the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) regional atmospheric model equipped with a wind turbine parameterization over a 10(5) km(2) region in the central United States. The WRF simulations yield a maximum generation of 1.1 We⋅m(-2), whereas the VKE method predicts the time series while underestimating the maximum generation rate by about 50%. Because VKE derives the generation limit from the preturbine climatology, potential changes in the vertical kinetic energy flux from the free atmosphere are not considered. Such changes are important at night when WRF estimates are about twice the VKE value because wind turbines interact with the decoupled nocturnal low-level jet in this region. Daytime estimates agree better to 20% because the wind turbines induce comparatively small changes to the downward kinetic energy flux. This combination of downward transport limits and wind speed reductions explains why large-scale wind power generation in windy regions is limited to about 1 We⋅m(-2), with VKE capturing this combination in a comparatively simple way.

Concepts: Energy, Kinetic energy, Wind, Wind power, Wind farm, Floating wind turbine, Wind turbine, Windmill


In recent years, there have been prominent calls for a new social contract that accords a more central role to citizens in health research. Typically, this has been understood as citizens and patients having a greater voice and role within the standard research enterprise. Beyond this, however, it is important that the renegotiated contract specifically addresses the oversight of a new, path-breaking approach to health research: participant-led research. In light of the momentum behind participant-led research and its potential to advance health knowledge by challenging and complementing traditional research, it is vital for all stakeholders to work together in securing the conditions that will enable it to flourish.

Concepts: Energy, Sociology, Kinetic energy, Force, Knowledge, Lighting, Research and development


Thermal energy storage offers enormous potential for a wide range of energy technologies. Phase-change materials offer state-of-the-art thermal storage due to high latent heat. However, spontaneous heat loss from thermally charged phase-change materials to cooler surroundings occurs due to the absence of a significant energy barrier for the liquid-solid transition. This prevents control over the thermal storage, and developing effective methods to address this problem has remained an elusive goal. Herein, we report a combination of photo-switching dopants and organic phase-change materials as a way to introduce an activation energy barrier for phase-change materials solidification and to conserve thermal energy in the materials, allowing them to be triggered optically to release their stored latent heat. This approach enables the retention of thermal energy (about 200 J g(-1)) in the materials for at least 10 h at temperatures lower than the original crystallization point, unlocking opportunities for portable thermal energy storage systems.

Concepts: Energy, Temperature, Thermodynamics, Heat, Kinetic energy, Heat transfer, Energy storage, Thermodynamic system


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


Climate change is predicted to expand the ice-free season in western Hudson Bay and when it grows to 180 days, 28-48% of adult male polar bears are projected to starve unless nutritional deficits can be offset by foods consumed on land. We updated a dynamic energy budget model developed by Molnar et al. to allow influx of additional energy from novel terrestrial foods (lesser snow geese, eggs, caribou) that polar bears currently consume as part of a mixed diet while on land. We calculated the units of each prey, alone and in combination, needed to alleviate these lethal energy deficits under conditions of resting or limited movement (2 km d-1) prior to starvation. We further considered the total energy available from each sex and age class of each animal prey over the period they would overlap land-bound polar bears and calculated the maximum number of starving adult males that could be sustained on each food during the ice-free season. Our results suggest that the net energy from land-based food, after subtracting costs of limited movement to obtain it, could eliminate all projected nutritional deficits of starving adult male polar bears and likely other demographic groups as well. The hunting tactics employed, success rates as well as behavior and abundance of each prey will determine the realized energetic values for individual polar bears. Although climate change may cause a phenological mismatch between polar bears and their historical ice-based prey, it may simultaneously yield a new match with certain land-based foods. If polar bears can transition their foraging behavior to effectively exploit these resources, predictions for starvation-related mortality may be overestimated for western Hudson Bay. We also discuss potential complications with stable-carbon isotope studies to evaluate utilization of land-based foods by polar bears including metabolic effects of capture-related stress and consuming a mixed diet.

Concepts: Metabolism, Energy, Kinetic energy, Malnutrition, Carbohydrate, Potential energy, Famine, Polar bear


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


Natural human exhalation flows such as coughing, sneezing and breathing can be considered as ‘jet-like’ airflows in the sense that they are produced from a single source in a single exhalation effort, with a relatively symmetrical, conical geometry. Although coughing and sneezing have garnered much attention as potential, explosive sources of infectious aerosols, these are relatively rare events during daily life, whereas breathing is necessary for life and is performed continuously. Real-time shadowgraph imaging was used to visualise and capture high-speed images of healthy volunteers sneezing and breathing (through the nose - nasally, and through the mouth - orally). Six volunteers, who were able to respond to the pepper sneeze stimulus, were recruited for the sneezing experiments (2 women: 27.5±6.36 years; 4 men: 29.25±10.53 years). The maximum visible distance over which the sneeze plumes (or puffs) travelled was 0.6 m, the maximum sneeze velocity derived from these measured distances was 4.5 m/s. The maximum 2-dimensional (2-D) area of dissemination of these sneezes was 0.2 m(2). The corresponding derived parameter, the maximum 2-D area expansion rate of these sneezes was 2 m(2)/s. For nasal breathing, the maximum propagation distance and derived velocity were 0.6 m and 1.4 m/s, respectively. The maximum 2-D area of dissemination and derived expansion rate were 0.11 m(2) and 0.16 m(2)/s, respectively. Similarly, for mouth breathing, the maximum propagation distance and derived velocity were 0.8 m and 1.3 m/s, respectively. The maximum 2-D area of dissemination and derived expansion rate were 0.18 m(2) and 0.17 m(2)/s, respectively. Surprisingly, a comparison of the maximum exit velocities of sneezing reported here with those obtained from coughing (published previously) demonstrated that they are relatively similar, and not extremely high. This is in contrast with some earlier estimates of sneeze velocities, and some reasons for this difference are discussed.

Concepts: Mouth, Kinetic energy, Reflexes, Scalar, Symptoms and signs: Circulatory and respiratory systems, Mouth breathing, Sneeze, Photic sneeze reflex