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Top Story

High-temperature devices made from films that bend as they ‘breathe’

Carrying out maintenance tasks inside a nuclear plant puts severe strains on equipment, due to extreme temperatures that are hard for components to endure without degrading. Now, researchers have come up with a radically new way to make actuators that could be used in such extremely hot environments. The system relies on oxide materials similar to those used in many of today’s rechargeable batteries, in that ions move in and out of the material during charging and discharging cycles. Whether the ions are lithium ions, in the case of lithium ion batteries or oxygen ions, in the case of the oxide materials, their reversible motion causes the material to expand and contract.

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