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

Concept: Paper


Recent research using 3D printing to create active structures has added an exciting new dimension to 3D printing technology. After being printed, these active, often composite, materials can change their shape over time; this has been termed as 4D printing. In this paper, we demonstrate the design and manufacture of active composites that can take multiple shapes, depending on the environmental temperature. This is achieved by 3D printing layered composite structures with multiple families of shape memory polymer (SMP) fibers - digital SMPs - with different glass transition temperatures (Tg) to control the transformation of the structure. After a simple single-step thermomechanical programming process, the fiber families can be sequentially activated to bend when the temperature is increased. By tuning the volume fraction of the fibers, bending deformation can be controlled. We develop a theoretical model to predict the deformation behavior for better understanding the phenomena and aiding the design. We also design and print several flat 2D structures that can be programmed to fold and open themselves when subjected to heat. With the advantages of an easy fabrication process and the controllable multi-shape memory effect, the printed SMP composites have a great potential in 4D printing applications.

Concepts: Temperature, Thermodynamics, Printing, Paper, Shape memory alloy, Polymers, Printmaking, Shape memory polymer


Digital information is accumulating at an astounding rate, straining our ability to store and archive it. DNA is among the most dense and stable information media known. The development of new technologies in both DNA synthesis and sequencing make DNA an increasingly feasible digital storage medium. We developed a strategy to encode arbitrary digital information in DNA, wrote a 5.27-megabit book using DNA microchips, and read the book by using next-generation DNA sequencing.

Concepts: Communication, Paper, Electronic media, Computer data storage, Library


Conventional three-dimensional (3D) printing techniques cannot produce structures of the size at which individual cells interact.

Concepts: Cell biology, Printing, Paper, Lithography, Printmaking, Old master print


In this paper, we report highly conductive, highly flexible, light weight and low cost printed graphene for wireless wearable communications applications. As a proof of concept, printed graphene enabled transmission lines and antennas on paper substrates were designed, fabricated and characterized. To explore its potentials in wearable communications applications, mechanically flexible transmission lines and antennas under various bended cases were experimentally studied. The measurement results demonstrate that the printed graphene can be used for RF signal transmitting, radiating and receiving, which represents some of the essential functionalities of RF signal processing in wireless wearable communications systems. Furthermore, the printed graphene can be processed at low temperature so that it is compatible with heat-sensitive flexible materials like papers and textiles. This work brings a step closer to the prospect to implement graphene enabled low cost and environmentally friendly wireless wearable communications systems in the near future.

Concepts: Signal processing, Paper, The Essential, Radio, Radio frequency, Proof of concept, Environmentally friendly, Transmission


Bioprinting is an emerging technique used to fabricate viable, 3D tissue constructs through the precise deposition of cells and hydrogels in a layer-by-layer fashion. Despite the ability to mimic the native properties of tissue, printed 3D constructs that are composed of naturally-derived biomaterials still lack structural integrity and adequate mechanical properties for use in vivo, thus limiting their development for use in load-bearing tissue engineering applications, such as cartilage. Fabrication of viable constructs using a novel multi-head deposition system provides the ability to combine synthetic polymers, which have higher mechanical strength than natural materials, with the favorable environment for cell growth provided by traditional naturally-derived hydrogels. However, the complexity and high cost associated with constructing the required robotic system hamper the widespread application of this approach. Moreover, the scaffolds fabricated by these robotic systems often lack flexibility, which further restrict their applications. To address these limitations, advanced fabrication techniques are necessary to generate complex constructs with controlled architectures and adequate mechanical properties. In this study, we describe the construction of a hybrid inkjet printing/electrospinning system that can be used to fabricate viable tissues for cartilage tissue engineering applications. Electrospinning of polycaprolactone fibers was alternated with inkjet printing of rabbit elastic chondrocytes suspended in a fibrin-collagen hydrogel in order to fabricate a five-layer tissue construct of 1 mm thickness. The chondrocytes survived within the printed hybrid construct with more than 80% viability one week after printing. In addition, the cells proliferated and maintained their basic biological properties within the printed layered constructs. Furthermore, the fabricated constructs formed cartilage-like tissues both in vitro and in vivo as evidenced by the deposition of type II collagen and glycosaminoglycans. Moreover, the printed hybrid scaffolds demonstrated enhanced mechanical properties compared to printed alginate or fibrin-collagen gels alone. This study demonstrates the feasibility of constructing a hybrid inkjet printing system using off-the-shelf components to produce cartilage constructs with improved biological and mechanical properties.

Concepts: Extracellular matrix, In vivo, In vitro, Printing, Inkjet printer, Paper, Ink, Printing press


Natural composites exhibit exceptional mechanical performance that often arises from complex fiber arrangements within continuous matrices. Inspired by these natural systems, we developed a rotational 3D printing method that enables spatially controlled orientation of short fibers in polymer matrices solely by varying the nozzle rotation speed relative to the printing speed. Using this method, we fabricated carbon fiber-epoxy composites composed of volume elements (voxels) with programmably defined fiber arrangements, including adjacent regions with orthogonally and helically oriented fibers that lead to nonuniform strain and failure as well as those with purely helical fiber orientations akin to natural composites that exhibit enhanced damage tolerance. Our approach broadens the design, microstructural complexity, and performance space for fiber-reinforced composites through site-specific optimization of their fiber orientation, strain, failure, and damage tolerance.

Concepts: Group, Orientation, Classical mechanics, Paper, Rotation, Rigid body, Klein bottle, Fiberglass


In this paper we explore the direct transfer via lamination of chemical vapor deposition graphene onto different flexible substrates. The transfer method investigated here is fast, simple, and does not require an intermediate transfer membrane, such as polymethylmethacrylate, which needs to be removed afterward. Various substrates of general interest in research and industry were studied in this work, including polytetrafluoroethylene filter membranes, PVC, cellulose nitrate/cellulose acetate filter membranes, polycarbonate, paraffin, polyethylene terephthalate, paper, and cloth. By comparing the properties of these substrates, two critical factors to ensure a successful transfer on bare substrates were identified: the substrate’s hydrophobicity and good contact between the substrate and graphene. For substrates that do not satisfy those requirements, polymethylmethacrylate can be used as a surface modifier or glue to ensure successful transfer. Our results can be applied to facilitate current processes and open up directions for applications of chemical vapor deposition graphene on flexible substrates. A broad range of applications can be envisioned, including fabrication of graphene devices for opto/organic electronics, graphene membranes for gas/liquid separation, and ubiquitous electronics with graphene.

Concepts: Acetic acid, Chemical vapor deposition, Paper, Plastics, Thermoplastic, Polyethylene terephthalate, Membrane, Thermoplastics


The effects of two widely used insecticides - organophosphate pirimiphos-methyl and pyrethroid deltamethrin - were investigated under laboratory conditions following OECD guidelines using the epigeic earthworm Eisenia andrei as the test organism. The overall aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of these pesticides on molecular biomarkers of earthworm E. andrei using the in vitro, filter paper contact and artificial soil test. In this study for the first time the equivalent concentrations of investigated pesticide applied in different tests were calculated. Although the response of measured molecular biomarkers in different toxicity tests had certain similarities, some distinct differences were also evident. Both pesticides inhibited AChE and CES activities in all three applied toxicity tests; however only in the filter paper test the hormetic effect was recorded. The artificial soil test showed that duration of the exposure significantly changed the effects of the investigated pesticides on CAT and GST activities. Namely, after the initial increase, the prolongation of exposure caused the reduction of the CAT and GST activities. Both pesticides significantly inhibited the efflux pump activity. In the artificial soil test, the significant changes in measured biomarkers after application of doses lower than doses recommended for use in the agriculture indicate that the investigated pesticides could have a harmful effect on earthworms in the context of the realistic environment.

Concepts: Difference, Acetylcholine, Pesticide, Paper, Insecticide, Lumbricidae, DDT, Filter paper


A xylanase gene (xynG1-1) from Paenibacillus campinasensis G1-1 was expressed in Bacillus megaterium MS941 and a high level of extracellular xylansae activity (304.26IU/mL) was achieved after induction with 0.5% xylose. The purified recombinant xylanase (XynG1-1R) revealed optimal activity at 60°C and pH 7.0 and retained 79% and 81% activity after incubation without substrate at 60°C, pH 5.0 and pH 8.0 for 3h, respectively. Application of XynG1-1R (15IU/g pulp) to cotton stalk pulp bleaching increased brightness by 3.65% over that of the control without the xylanase and reduced the need for chlorine compounds by 50% without loss of brightness and pulp fiber qualities. When XynG1-1R (80IU/g paper sludge) was used in combination with mixed cellulolytic enzymes, the saccharification efficiency of recycled paper sludge was increased by 10%. These results indicated that XynG1-1R is a promising candidate for various industrial applications such as biobleaching and bioenergy conversion.

Concepts: Enzyme, Sodium hydroxide, Bacillus, Chlorine, Cellulose, Paper, Bacillus megaterium, Bleaching of wood pulp


The evidential significance of car seat fibres has been investigated. Thirty six samples of car seat fabric were examined and the fibres catalogued according to their morphology and characteristics. The majority of car seat fibres were black or grey thick polyester fibres that were either dyed or pigmented. The MSP spectra produced were unlike those usually obtained from black or grey polyester fibres used in clothing. Tapings taken from car seats were examined for car seat fibres, various types were found showing that these fibres are expected to shed from the fabric albeit in low numbers, unless the vehicle is older. No fibres that matched the samples of the car seat fabric were found on the tapings of the car seats. One hundred garments were examined for car seat fibres, 10% of garments had populations of such fibres present and 41% had at least one car seat fibre present. None of these fibres matched the samples of the car seat fabric or those from the car seat tapings.

Concepts: Paper, Polyester, Textile, Aramid, Car seat, Clothing, Felt