Going with the Flow: Caltech Researchers Find Compaction Bands in Sandstone are Permeable

When geologists survey an area of land for the potential that gas or petroleum deposits could exist there, they must take into account the composition of rocks that lie below the surface. Previous research had suggested that compaction bands might act as barriers to the flow of oil or gas. Now, researchers led by José Andrade have analyzed X-ray images of Aztec sandstone and revealed that compaction bands are actually more permeable than earlier models indicated.

 

 

Caltech Researchers Develop High-Performance Bulk Thermoelectrics

Caltech scientists have concocted a recipe for a thermoelectric material—one that converts heat energy into electricity—that might be able to operate off nothing more than the heat of a car's exhaust. In a paper published in Nature this month, G. Jeffrey Snyder and his colleagues reported on a compound that shows high efficiency in a temperature range of around 260 to 1160 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, the heat escaping out your car's tailpipe could be used to help power its electrical components.

Jorgensen Renovation Kicks into Gear

Those fences you'll soon see sprouting up around Jorgensen Laboratory are among the less classic signs of spring—and yet, they are very much a symbol of growth and rebirth. Now that the interior demolition of the building has been completed, with some 90 percent of the materials removed being reused or recycled, Jorgensen Lab's much-anticipated renovation is about to begin in earnest.

 

Working Toward a Greener Future

Celebrate Earth Day with the Caltech community on April 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. along San Pasqual Walk in front of Chandler and the Red Door.

Solar Decathlon Team Breaks Ground

The joint Solar Decathlon team of Caltech and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) will show off their state-of-the-art, energy-efficient house tomorrow in a groundbreaking ceremony at 2 p.m. at the SCI-Arc campus in Los Angeles. All are welcome and refreshments will be served.

Warm Water Causes Extra-cold Winters in Northeastern North America and Northeastern Asia

Average winter temperatures in northern Europe are at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than similar latitudes on the northeastern coast of the United States and the eastern coast of Canada. The same phenomenon happens over the Pacific, where winters on the northeastern coast of Asia are colder than in the Pacific Northwest. Researchers at Caltech have now found a mechanism that helps explain these chillier winters—and the culprit is warm water off the eastern coasts of these continents.

Greening Caltech's Bottom Line

Caltech's efforts to finance energy efficiency in ways that give back to the campus have been recognized by the Sustainable Endowments Institute in its recently-released report, Greening the Bottom Line: The Trend toward Green Revolving Funds on Campus.

 

Solar Decathlon Back on the Mall

Thanks to a campaign led by a joint team of students from Caltech and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), the 2011 Solar Decathlon is back on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The announcement made last week reverses an earlier decision by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to relocate the event.

Sustaining the Next Generation of Energy Scientists

Training the next generation of scientists is a critical component of the mission of Caltech's Resnick Institute. And although the institute is not yet two years old, it has already begun to fulfill that mission, thanks to the newly developed Resnick Fellowship program. The first two Resnick Fellows began their work in the fall of 2010; last week, the institute put out a call for applications for the next set of two-year awards.

Caltech Geobiologists Uncover Links between Ancient Climate Change and Mass Extinction

About 450 million years ago, Earth suffered the second-largest mass extinction in its history—the Late Ordovician mass extinction, during which more than 75 percent of marine species died. Exactly what caused this tremendous loss in biodiversity remains a mystery, but now a team led by researchers at Caltech has discovered new details supporting the idea that the mass extinction was linked to a cooling climate.

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