A team including Pitt CRC collaborator John Keith has developed a liquid polymer — a large molecule created by joining many smaller molecules — that solidifies when mixed with water at room temperature, in effect raising the water’s freezing point from 32 degrees Fahrenheit to roughly 100 degrees Fahrenheit,
This phenomenon seems to defy the second law of thermodynamics, explains Keith, assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering and Richard King Mellon Faculty Fellow in Energy at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering..
“When you mix two pure components together, the entropy (or the degree of disorder), always increases. That disorder almost always causes mixtures to have a lower freezing point than either of the components individually, not higher.”
This time lapse video shows the polymer (known as polyoxacyclobutanewater) mixing with water during a 24-hour period in room temperature conditions. (Courtesy of Sachin Velankar, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering and a collaborator on the project.)
Pitt researchers aim to reduce annual diesel fuel consumption of Port Authority buses by 800,000 gallons with thermoelectric devices inside exhaust pipes that will recover waste heat to produce electricity to power the buses' electrical systems, reducing carbon-based fuel consumption by reusing a by-product of carbon-based fuel. Co-PIs on the project are Matthew Barry, assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS), and Shervin Sammak, research assistant professor in MEMS and a Pitt CRC consultant. At left, Sammak points out the exhaust pipes located on the top of the bus. Below, Sammak and Barry discuss mass transit, bus exhaust and waste heat with Andrew Lukaszewicz, PAT interim director of rail service delivery.
Computational flow cytometry offers new possibilities to researchers at Pitt with the acquisition of the Cytek Aurora model, which identifies thousands of cells with disease indicators per second, twice the capacity of existing technology. Pitt CRC customized data pipelines that automate the analysis.
At left, Lisa Borghesi, PhD, scientific director of the Unified Flow Core, points out the powerful lasers within the cytometer. Below, graduate student Theresa Whiter fits a sample of mutated cells into the cytometer. The Unified Flow Core is presenting lectures and workshops on computational flow cytometry through mid-December. For schedule and registration, go to: https://hsls.libguides.com/flow.
Students step into science by identifying and naming thousands of bacteriophages - viruses that attack bacteria - as part of the SEA-PHAGES program headed up by Pitt biologist Graham Hatfull. CRC powers the sequencing and analysis of a sliver of the billions-plus-strong, ever-changing population of bacteriophages. “Bacteria and phages are locked in a 3-billion year war,” Hatfull says simply. “Dynamic populations have been evolving for a long time, and they keep evolving.”
Left, Pitt students Aishwarya Mukundan and Daniel Zipfel hunt for phages in Pitt's SEA-PHAGE lab. Below: phages armed for battle. Image by Travis Mavrich in the Hatfull lab.