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Gizmorama - February 6, 2017

Good Morning,

Metal seems to be on the lips of the scientific community as of late. A new alloy has been developed with electromagnetic abilities that could aid with outer space exploration.

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,

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*-- New metal alloy to aid planetary science research --*

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Researchers have developed a new metal alloy with unique electromagnetic properties -- properties they hope can help them recreate the magnetic forces generated by the cores of stars and planets.

The alloy, called eGaIn, consists of various particles suspended in a combination of indium and gallium. When the liquid metal flows, it becomes highly conductive and generates strong magnetic fields.

Researchers were able to suspend particles in the liquid metal by submerging the alloy in acid. The acid prevents oxidation, which draws particles to the surface of the liquid metal.

"We managed to suspend almost anything we wanted -- steel, zinc, nickel, iron -- basically anything with a conductivity higher than that of the eGaIn," Florian Carle, a material scientist and postdoctoral researcher at Yale University, said in a news release.

Earth's powerful magnetic field is generated by the flow of liquid metal in its core. Researchers believe the new alloy could be used to replicate Earth's core and study the forces generated by its flow.

The study of electromagnetic forces generated by flowing liquid metal is called magnetohydrodynamics. Researchers are particularly keen on understanding why Earth's magnetic poles switch every few thousand years.

Previous attempts to replicate Earth's magnetic field in the lab have proven problematic.

"People have tried these big flow chambers as large as three meters across, filled with liquid sodium and spinning around like a miniature Earth," said Eric Brown, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Yale.

Scientists believe the eGaIn alloy will allow for smaller and more easily controllable experiments.

"So they might see results that you couldn't get with liquid sodium, or even observe completely different MHD phenomena," said Carle.

*-- Doctors use lung ultrasound to diagnose hidden disorders --*

DES PLAINES, Ill. - Researchers have discovered that ultrasound is a better diagnostic test for early diagnosis of pulmonary embolism and other disorders than current tests.

The study, by Dr. Peiman Nazerian, shows that transthoracic lung ultrasound can detect alternative diagnoses including pneumonia and pleural effusion in lungs more accurately than the commonly used Wells score, as well as detecting early signs of pulmonary embolism.

The Wells score is the most commonly used test to predict the clinical probability of a person developing a pulmonary embolism, or blood clot that travels to their lungs.

"One of the largest criticisms of the widely used Wells score for estimating likelihood of potentially fatal blood clots in the lung [PE] is the vagary that surrounds the definition of its term, 'alternative diagnosis more likely than PE,'" Jeffrey Kline, vice chair of research in the Department of Emergency Medicine and professor in the Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology at Indiana University School of Medicine and study author, said in a press release.

"Most clinicians who believe an alternative diagnosis is more likely than PE cannot name the diagnosis. Nazerian et al, show that lung ultrasound can quickly and non-invasively allow physicians to literally see the identity of 'something else wrong' other than blood clots in the lung. This advantage can help them be more confident in deciding not to order expensive testing that causes large doses of radiation exposure to patients."

The study was published in Academic Emergency Medicine.


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