Particles from tree waste could prevent fogged lenses, windshields

atom: The basic unit of a chemical element. Atoms are made up of a dense nucleus that contains positively charged protons and uncharged neutrons. The nucleus is orbited by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. 

chemical: A substance formed from two or more atoms that unite (bond) in a fixed proportion and structure. For example, water is a chemical made when two hydrogen atoms bond to one oxygen atom. Its chemical formula is H2O. Chemical also can be an adjective to describe properties of materials that are the result of various reactions between different compounds. 

chemical engineer: A researcher who uses chemistry to solve problems related to the production of food, fuel, medicines and many other products. 

engineering: The field of research that uses math and science to solve practical problems. Someone who works in this field is known as an engineer

fuel: Any material that will release energy during a controlled chemical or nuclear reaction. Fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and petroleum) are a common type that liberate their energy through chemical reactions that take place when heated (usually to the point of burning). 

hydrophilic: Strongly attracted to (or readily dissolving in) water. 

lens: (in optics) A curved piece of transparent material (such as glass) that bends incoming light in such a way as to focus it at a particular point in space. Or something, such as gravity, that can mimic some of the light bending attributes of a physical lens.  

lignin: A natural substance that helps strengthen the cell walls of plants. Although lignin is made from a large number of sugar molecules, which should provide energy, livestock can’t digest this material because of the way its sugars are chemically bonded together. 

molecule: An electrically neutral group of atoms that represents the smallest possible amount of a chemical compound. Molecules can be made of single types of atoms or of different types. For example, the oxygen in the air is made of two oxygen atoms (O2), but water is made of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom (H2O). 

nanometer: A billionth of a meter. It’s such a small unit that researchers use it as a yardstick for measuring wavelengths of light or distances within molecules. For perspective, an average human hair is about 60,000 nanometers wide. 

nanoparticle: A small particle with dimensions measured in billionths of a meter. 

organic: (in chemistry) An adjective that indicates something is carbon-containing; also a term that relates to the basic chemicals that make up living organisms.  

particle: A minute amount of something. 

photosynthesis: (verb: photosynthesize) The process by which green plants and some other organisms use sunlight to produce foods from carbon dioxide and water. 

plastic: Any of a series of materials that are easily deformable; or synthetic materials that have been made from polymers (long strings of some building-block molecule) that tend to be lightweight, inexpensive and resistant to degradation. 

polymer: A substance made from long chains of repeating groups of atoms. Manufactured polymers include nylon, polyvinyl chloride (better known as PVC) and many types of plastics. Natural polymers include rubber, silk and cellulose (found in plants and used to make paper, for example). 

pulp: The fibrous inner part of a vegetable or fruit (such as an orange). 

renewable: An adjective for resources that can be endlessly replaced (such as water, green plants, sunlight and wind). This is in contrast to non-renewable resources, for which there is a finite supply — one that can essentially be used up. These include petroleum (and other fossil fuels) or relatively rare elements and minerals. 

solvent: A material (usually a liquid) used to dissolve some other material into a solution. 

sustainable: (n. sustainability) An adjective to describe the use of resources in a such a way that they will continue to be available long into the future. 

waste: Any materials that are left over from biological or other systems that have no value, so they can be disposed of as trash or recycled for some new use. 

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