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Humble coal to pave the way for future electronics

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  21 April 2016 12:00 AM GMT

New York, April 20: Using the low-tech material coal, engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have built a simple electrical heating device that can be used for defrosting car windows or airplane wings or as part of a biomedical implant. They have also for the first time characterised in detail the chemical, electrical and optical properties of thin films of four different kinds of coal - anthracite, lignite, and two bituminous types. “When you look at coal as a material and not just as something to burn, the chemistry is extremely rich,” said lead researcher Jeffrey Grossman from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) at MIT. The question he wanted to ask is: “Could we leverage the wealth of chemistry in things like coal to make devices that have useful functiolity?” The answer, he says, is a resounding yes. Part of the challenge was to figure out how to process coal. (IANS)

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