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A Taste of Sweetness in Bioplastics

Tsai et al. | Apr 05, 2019

A Taste of Sweetness in Bioplastics

Sweet potatoes are one of the most common starches in Taiwan, and sweet potato peels hold significant potential to make biodegradable plastics which can alleviate the environmental impact of conventional petroleum-based plastics. In this paper, Tsai et al created starch-based bioplastics derived from sweet potato peels and manipulated the amount of added glycerol to alter the plastic’s strength and flexibility properties. Their results indicated that higher concentrations of glycerol yield more malleable plastics, providing insights into how recycled agricultural waste material might be used to slow down the rate of pollution caused by widespread production of conventional plastics.

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Can Green Tea Alleviate the Effects of Stress Related to Learning and Long-Term Memory in the Great Pond Snail (Lymnaea stagnalis)?

Elias et al. | Jan 30, 2021

Can Green Tea Alleviate the Effects of Stress Related to Learning and Long-Term Memory in the Great Pond Snail (<em>Lymnaea stagnalis</em>)?

Stress and anxiety have become more prevalent issues in recent years with teenagers especially at risk. Recent studies show that experiencing stress while learning can impair brain-cell communication thus negatively impacting learning. Green tea is believed to have the opposite effect, aiding in learning and memory retention. In this study, the authors used Lymnaea stagnalis , a pond snail, to explore the relationship between green tea and a stressor that impairs memory formation to determine the effects of both green tea and stress on the snails’ ability to learn, form, and retain memories. Using a conditioned taste aversion (CTA) assay, where snails are exposed to a sweet substance followed by a bitter taste with the number of biting responses being recorded, the authors found that stress was shown to be harmful to snail learning and memory for short-term, intermediate, and long-term memory.

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Effects of Ocean Acidification on the Photosynthetic Ability of Chaetoceros gracilis in the Monterey Bay

Harvell et al. | Jan 16, 2020

Effects of Ocean Acidification on the Photosynthetic Ability of <i>Chaetoceros gracilis</i> in the Monterey Bay

In this article, Harvell and Nicholson hypothesized that increased ocean acidity would decrease the photosynthetic ability of Chaetoceros gracilis, a diatom prolific in Monterey Bay, because of the usually corrosive effects of carbonic acid on both seashells and cells’ internal structures. They altered pH of algae environments and measured the photosynthetic ability of diatoms over four days by spectrophotometer. Overall, their findings indicate that C. gracilis may become more abundant in Monterey Bay as the pH of the ocean continues to drop, potentially contributing to harmful algal blooms.

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The Impact of Effective Density and Compressive Strength on the Structure of Crumpled Paper Balls

Chu et al. | Nov 19, 2020

The Impact of Effective Density and Compressive Strength on the Structure of Crumpled Paper Balls

Crumpling is the process whereby a sheet of paper undergoes deformation to yield a three-dimensional structure comprising a random network of ridges and facets with variable density. The authors hypothesized that the more times a paper sheet is crumpled, the greater its compressive strength. Their results show a relatively strong linear relationship between the number of times a paper sheet is crumpled and its compressive strength.

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Testing Epoxy Strength: The High Strength Claims of Selleys’s Araldite Epoxy Glues

Nguyen et al. | Jul 14, 2020

Testing Epoxy Strength: The High Strength Claims of Selleys’s Araldite Epoxy Glues

Understanding the techniques used to improve the adhesion strength of the epoxy resin is important especially for consumer applications such as repairing car parts, bonding aluminum sheeting, and repairing furniture or applications within the aviation or civil industry. Selleys Araldite epoxy makes specific strength claims emphasizing that the load or weight that can be supported by the adhesive is 72 kg/cm2. Nguyen and Clarke aimed to test the strength claims of Selley’s Araldite Epoxy by gluing two steel adhesion surfaces: a steel tube and bracket. Results showed that there is a lack of consideration by Selleys for adhesion loss mechanisms and environmental factors when accounting for consumer use of the product leading to disputable claims.

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The Effect of Wind Mitigation Devices on Gabled Roofs

Kaufman et al. | Feb 20, 2021

The Effect of Wind Mitigation Devices on Gabled Roofs

The purpose of this study was to test devices installed on a gabled roof to see which reduced the actual uplift forces best. Three gabled birdhouse roofs were each modified with different mitigation devices: a rounded edge, a barrier shape, or an airfoil. The barrier edge had no significant effect on the time for the roof to blow off. The addition of airfoil devices on roofs, specifically in areas that are prone to hurricanes such as Florida, could keep roofs in place during hurricanes, thus reducing insurance bills, overall damage costs, and the loss of lives.

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