Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Robot wing to reveal hummingbird hover tricks

Robot hummingbird wings inside their test stand.

B.J. Balakumar's robotic hummingbird wing isn't as pretty as the real thing. It lacks jewel-like colors and the iridescent glint of hummingbird feathers.

But what the unadorned metal wing does have is the ability to help researchers understand how the tiny fliers manage to dart, hover and dive even in gusty winds.

The work is still in the preliminary stages, Balakumar, a researcher in the Extreme Fluids Lab at Los Alamos National Laboratory, told LiveScience. However, the researchers hope that the findings will eventually be used in robotics. (
Full Story)

Where have the baby black holes gone?

Artist’s concept of a baby black hole. From Discovery News.

Chris Fryer of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico told New Scientist that the most powerful supernovae are usually triggered by lower-mass stars. The larger stars -- the ones that create black holes -- are usually of lower energy than the supernovae that produce neutron stars. (Full Story)

High magnetic fields coax new discoveries from topological insulators

The 100 Tesla magnet at Los Alamos National Laboratory. LANL photo.

But even after removing hundreds of billions of electrons, "we still didn't have an insulator," James Analytis said.

That's when he turned to Ross McDonald and the pulsed magnets at the Pulsed Field Facility, Los Alamos National Laboratory's branch of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

With McDonald's help, Analytis used one of Los Alamos' multi-shot pulsed magnets, so called because they deliver their full field strength in pulses lasting thousandths of a second. (
Full Story)

Z Machine conducts successful materials experiment for NNSA

The Z Machine at Sandia National Laboratory. SNL photo.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that Sandia National Laboratories successfully performed an experiment with Los Alamos National Laboratory on the properties of plutonium materials on the Z machine on Nov. 18. (Full Story)

LANL debuts hybrid 'green' garbage truck

LANL’s green garbage machine picks up a dumpster. LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory has begun using a diesel-hydraulic hybrid truck for daily garbage pickup, improving fuel efficiency by 30 percent and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by even more.

The truck employs a system that stores energy from braking and uses that pressure to help the truck accelerate after each stop - a key feature in the stop-and-go life of a garbage truck. (Full Story)

See the Lab’s new environmentally friendly garbage truck in action on YouTube.

And learn about the Lab’s Holiday Giving Program, also on YouTube

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