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Vitamin D-licious Mushrooms
Seeds of the Future
Keeping Bugs Away from Food
Amphibians
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Salamanders
Toads
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A Butterfly's New Green Glow
New Monkey Business
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Seeing red means danger ahead
Fear Matters
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Chemistry and Materials
Atomic Drive
When frog gender flips
A Spider's Silky Strength
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Computers with Attitude
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The Book of Life
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Downsized Dinosaurs
Hunting by Sucking, Long Ago
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Results of GSAT are in schools this week
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Earth
A Great Quake Coming?
Earth's Poles in Peril
Flower family knows its roots
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Groundwater and the Water Cycle
Sea Otters, Kelp, and Killer Whales
Catching Some Rays
Finding the Past
A Plankhouse Past
Prehistoric Trips to the Dentist
If Only Bones Could Speak
Fish
Mako Sharks
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Whale Sharks
Food and Nutrition
Making good, brown fat
Eat Out, Eat Smart
Turning to Sweets, Fats to Calm the Brain
GSAT English Rules
Pronouns
Whoever vs. Whomever
Capitalization Rules
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GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
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Results of GSAT are in schools this week
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How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
It's a Math World for Animals
How to Slice a Cake Fairly
Human Body
A Sour Taste in Your Mouth
Nature's Medicines
Cell Phone Tattlers
Invertebrates
Black Widow spiders
Tarantula
Ants
Mammals
Blue Whales
Pekingese
Rhinoceros
Parents
How children learn
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Physics
Gaining a Swift Lift
The Particle Zoo
Dreams of Floating in Space
Plants
Assembling the Tree of Life
Seeds of the Future
The algae invasion
Reptiles
Lizards
Sea Turtles
Cobras
Space and Astronomy
Ringing Saturn
A Puffy Planetary Puzzle
Dark Galaxy
Technology and Engineering
Roll-Up Computer Monitors to Go
Machine Copy
Algae Motors
The Parts of Speech
What is a Verb?
What is a Noun
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Transportation
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Flying the Hyper Skies
Ready, unplug, drive
Weather
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Warmest Year on Record
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
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Pencil Thin

Imagine a shaving of pencil lead, the kind that might fall on your desk after you use a hand-held sharpener. Now try to imagine a pencil flake that's only one atom thickóless than 1-millionth the thickness of the shaving! Scientists have created just such a thin flake, and they're already thinking about how they can use this incredibly wispy material. Pencil lead isn't really made out of lead. Instead, it's mostly a material called graphite, which consists of many layers of carbon stacked on top of each other. By rubbing pieces of graphite against a hard surface, scientists in England and Russia have broken apart these layers and isolated super-thin sheets of carbon. They call this nanomaterial "few-layer graphene." A second group of researchers created graphene in a different way. They started with a flat, fingernail-size fleck of a hard compound containing silicon and carbon. They then heated the fleck. Silicon evaporated from the top layers of the fleck's surface. This heating left only carbon in these upper layers, and the carbon atoms rearranged themselves to form graphene. Some scientists had predicted that, if such sheets were ever made, they would naturally curl upólike a poster that won't flatten after being rolled up in a tube for a long time. Instead, it turns out the graphene can lie flat. Scientists have been creating and experimenting with nanomaterials made out of carbon for nearly 20 years now. They've created buckyballs, in which carbon atoms are arranged in a pattern like that on a soccer ball. And they've created carbon nanotubes, which are shaped like drinking straws. Graphene is the newcomer. You can think of these new graphene sheets as starting materials that can be bent and molded into structures like those of the buckyball and carbon nanotube. Researchers have already put graphene to work. They've fashioned it into a wire and found that the material can conduct electricity. In fact, scientists expect graphene to produce less heat than normal materials do when they conduct electricity. This property may prove useful for making ultrasmall electronic gadgets that don't burn themselves up. Like ants, carbon nanomaterials are amazingly strong for their tiny size. And because graphene is naturally flat, researchers propose that the sheets would be a great material to use as a tough protective coating on devices. The material could also go into sensitive sensors that would vibrate at different rates in response to different chemicals. So the next time you're using a pencil to scribble notes in class, think of the incredible possibilities of the material you're leaving behind on your sheet of paper.óK. Ramsayer

Pencil Thin
Pencil Thin








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