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The external presence of running water influences the root growth of pea plants (Phaselous vulgaris)

Shu et al. | Nov 10, 2020

The external presence of running water influences the root growth of pea plants (Phaselous vulgaris)

Each year, invasive tree roots cause large amounts of damage to underground pipes. While this is usually due to leaks and cracks, tree roots can also invade pipes that are structurally sound. We are interested in investigating whether plant roots have an affinity towards flowing water, measured through mass, even when the running water is not in direct contact with soil. We tested this by creating a choice chamber with water running under one end and no stimulus on the other end. Overall, the masses of the roots growing towards flowing water were greater than the masses of the roots growing towards the end with no stimulus, showing that plant roots did have an affinity towards flowing water.

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Motion tracking and analysis of spray water droplets studied by high-speed photography using an iPhone X

Geng et al. | Sep 11, 2021

Motion tracking and analysis of spray water droplets  studied by high-speed photography using an iPhone X

Smartphones are not only becoming an inseparable part of our daily lives, but also a low-cost, powerful optical imaging tool for more and more scientific research applications. In this work, smartphones were used as a low-cost, high-speed, photographic alternative to expensive equipment, such as those typically found in scientific research labs, to accurately perform motion tracking and analysis of fast-moving objects. By analyzing consecutive images, the speed and flight trajectory of water droplets in the air were obtained, thereby enabling us to estimate the area of the water droplets landing on the ground.

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The Effects of Barley Straw (Hordeum vulgare) Extract and Barley Straw Pellets on Algal Growth and Water Quality

McHargue et al. | Oct 06, 2020

The Effects of Barley Straw (Hordeum vulgare) Extract and Barley Straw Pellets on Algal Growth and Water Quality

Algal overgrowth often threatens to clog irrigation pipes and drinking water lines when left unchecked, as well as releasing possible toxins that threaten plant and human health. It is thus important to find natural, non-harmful agents that can decrease algal growth without threatening the health of plants and humans. In this paper, the authors test the efficacy of barely extract in either liquid or pellet form in decreasing algal growth. While their results were inconclusive, the experimental set-up allows them to investigate a wider range of agents as anti-algal treatments that could potentially be adopted on a wider scale.

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How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

Everitt et al. | Feb 15, 2021

How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

As the world struggled to grapple with the emerging COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many countries instated policies to help minimize the spread of the virus among residents. This inadvertently led to a decrease in travel, and in some cases, industrial output, two major sources of pollutants in today's world. Here, the authors investigate whether California's shelter-in-place policy was associated with a measurable decrease in water and air pollution in that state between June and July of 2020, compared to the preceeding five years. Their findings suggest that, by some metrics, air quality improved within certain areas while water quality was relatively unchanged. Overall, these findings suggest that changing human behavior can, indeed, help reduce the level of air pollutants that compromise air quality.

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Modelling effects of alkylamines on sea salt aerosols using the Extended Aerosols and Inorganics Model

Chang et al. | Apr 29, 2022

Modelling effects of alkylamines on sea salt aerosols using the Extended Aerosols and Inorganics Model

With monitoring of climate change and the evolving properties of the atmosphere more critical than ever, the authors of this study take sea salt aerosols into consideration. These sea salt aerosols, sourced from the bubbles found at the surface of the sea, serve as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and are effective for the formation of clouds, light scattering in the atmosphere, and cooling of the climate. With amines being involved in the process of CCN formation, the authors explore the effects of alkylamines on the properties of sea salt aerosols and their potential relevance to climate change.

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Factors Influencing Muon Flux and Lifetime: An Experimental Analysis Using Cosmic Ray Detectors

Samson et al. | May 18, 2020

Factors Influencing Muon Flux and Lifetime: An Experimental Analysis Using Cosmic Ray Detectors

Muons, one of the fundamental elementary particles, originate from the collision of cosmic rays with atmospheric particles and are also generated in particle accelerator collisions. In this study, Samson et al analyze the factors that influence muon flux and lifetime using Cosmic Ray Muon Detectors (CRMDs). Overall, the study suggests that water can be used to decrease muon flux and that scintillator orientation is a potential determinant of the volume of data collected in muon decay studies.

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A Juxtaposition of Airborne Microplastics and Fiber Contamination in Various Environments

Truong-Phan et al. | Dec 04, 2020

A Juxtaposition of Airborne Microplastics and Fiber Contamination in Various Environments

Microplastics can have detrimental effects on various wildlife, as well as pollute aquatic and atmospheric environments. This study focused on air samples collected from five locations to investigate microplastic concentrations in atmospheric fallout from indoor and outdoor settings, through a process utilizing a hand-held vacuum pump and a rotameter. The authors found that the difference between the average number of microplastic fragments and fibers collected from all locations was not large enough to be statistically significant. The results collected in this study will contribute to knowledge of the prevalence of airborne microplastics.

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Modeling Energy Produced by Solar Panels

Meister et al. | Jan 13, 2018

Modeling Energy Produced by Solar Panels

In this study, the authors test the effect that the tilt angle of a solar panel has on the amount of energy it generates. This investigation highlights a simple way that people can harvest renewable energy more efficiently and effectively.

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