Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as the technique is more commonly called, transformed the United States oil and gas industry when its usage gained popularity in the early 2000s. Widespread adoption of fracking drove oil production to levels not seen since the 1980s and allowed the U.S. to compete with Saudi […]

It looks like the global agricultural industry has a weed control problem. More specifically, it has run into the same difficulties that hospitals and medical professionals currently face. Much like how the overuse of antibiotics has led to superbugs, farmers’ dependence on herbicides has led to chemical-resistant weeds. These herbicide-resistant […]

If you thought nothing could top the Clean Water Act and the Toxic Substance Control Act in terms of legislation needing an update, think again. The regulations governing the safety of personal care products like cosmetics and shampoo have remained largely unchanged since 1938. Nevermind the fact that this was enacted before I was born; it was largely in place before my parents were born!

Waste is generated each day: there is food waste, water waste and for chemical companies and laboratories, chemical wastes of which expired chemicals form the bulk. Part of the cause is that lab managers will often order large quantities of chemicals and they are kept beyond their expiration date. Unfortunately, despite an attempt to save money on chemicals, laboratories and organizations often end up spending more to dispose of expired chemicals. For those companies that use specialty chemicals in food products, expired chemicals can be potentially lethal.

The materials that make up our bridges and roads, our computers and stoves often seem invariable, forever locked in their current structures. However, science tells us that materials are always changing “both on a molecular and macroscopic scale” in a process known as material degradation. Moreover, insights from quantum mechanics suggest that the atoms and molecules that construct our macroscopic items are inherently unstable, so even when we can’t see material degradation, it is occurring. Eventually, energy inputs within our material systems result in morphological changes that alter the behavior of materials, which then enables us to visualize material degradation such as erosion, cracking or oxidation.

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