Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Science Library, circa Summer 2002

I came across this photo while sorting through a drawer recently, and felt nostalgic at the sight of so many print journal issues! Just look at all those lovely things. The biology section of the current journals area is practically overflowing. This was taken early in the summer of 2002, after our first academic year in the new Science Center, and we were apparently gathering journals for binding (note the stacks of issues lying on top of the low shelving). Within just a few months more than 70 of these print titles were cancelled, in favor of online-only access at the OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center, and we have continued to reduce the print collection since then. How quickly things can change!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Faculty and Student Publication: FitzGerald, et al., Phys Rev B

Stephen FitzGerald and Affiliate Scholar Jesse Rowsell have collaborated with a number of OC students to publish new research findings in Physical Review B. Student collaborators and their anticipated (or actual) dates of graduation are listed at the end of this posting.

S. A. FitzGerald, K. Allen, P. Landerman, J. Hopkins, J. Matters, R. Myers, and J. L. C. Rowsell, "Quantum Dynamics of Adsorbed H2 in the Microporous Framework MOF-5 Analyzed using Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Spectroscopy"

Physical Review B 77, 224301 (2008).

Thanks to Jesse Rowsell for providing this information: "Employing hydrogen as an energy carrier continues to be a lofty goal, with significant technological challenges remaining unmet. Storing the supercritical gas, both safely and efficiently, is a particularly difficult endeavour for vehicular power generation, i.e. using fuel cells. To improve hydrogen storage densities, several classes of sorbent materials have been identified. Only a handful of analytical tools are currently available to assist scientists in understanding the interaction between H2 and these materials, some requiring very expensive instrumentation and limited resources, such as nuclear reactors.

"Our work involves the use of a compact infrared spectrometer equipped with a sample chamber that can be pressurized with hydrogen gas and cooled to temperatures approaching 10 K (-263°C). Under these conditions, hydrogen molecules stick to the surface of the sorbent material and their rotational and vibrational motion--which is quantum mechanical--can be analyzed. Ultimately, the spectral data provide information on the strength of the H2 binding at discrete sites on the material's surface, allowing an assessment of its performance. As we analyze a wider array of sorbents, correlations between their structures and properties should emerge, providing some direction for enhancing their hydrogen storage efficiencies."

Student collaborators:
Jesse Hopkis 2009
Patrick Landreman 2008
John Matters 2008
Kelty Allen 2007
Ross Myers 2007

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The mighty Mustard seed: an alternative to methyl bromide and a green fuel source

Methyl bromide is an effective and highly toxic biocide used widely in strawberry fields of California. It is also one of the last major contributors to the hole in the ozone layer. The EPA has established more stringent guidelines for pesticide use, to protect agriculture workers, and alternatives to methyl bromide are actively being researched. Living On Earth considers one promising alternative in this week's show: ground-up mustard seed being developed by Farm Fuel Incorporated. Listen to the radio show [download mp3 file] or read the transcript.

Farm Fuel Inc. is also involved in developing biodiesel for transit buses. Scott Doggett, a contributor to Green Car Advisor, tells more in his post "This Biodiesel Plan's a Spicy One!"

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Geological Context for the Wenchuan Earthquake

The July issue of GSA Today, published for members of the Geological Society of America (GSA), includes an indepth study of the geological and geophysical factors of the recent deadly earthquake in China.

Given the world-wide interest in this devastating event, the GSA has made the article available for open access.