Thursday, 30 June 2011


use any electrical equipment or switches with wet hands;
• wrap flexible cables around any equipment when it is still warm;
• clean an appliance such as a kettle while it is still plugged in;
• try to get toast stuck out of a toaster while it is plugged in,
and especially not with a metal knife - there are often live
parts inside! or
• fill a kettle or a steam iron while it is plugged in

stay safe

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Generating renewable electricity from agricultural waste

electricity from agricultural waste we conjure up images of a biogas plant. The truth is, existing biogas plants do recycle agricultural waste but also require edible agricultural products such as corn. Latest technology and research have proved that it is possible to generate electricity with nothing but pure agricultural waste. That would mean recycling animal dung, discarded plant husk, rotten leaves etc. to produce electrical power, and all this without using any edible agricultural product.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden, Germany have developed the first ever biogas plant that works completely from agricultural waste and does not require any edible product. Considering the number of people who still live without electric power all over the world, this technology will bring about a revolution.

The need for a renewable electricity system cannot be over emphasized in today's world. Future success of this system will have far reaching consequences. The new plant takes 50 to 70 percent less time for decomposing raw materials stored in a silage for power generation. That would mean more power generation in less time and increased efficiency. Even corn stalks can be used, the new system utilizes special enzymes to break down the cellulose in corn stalks before storing it in silage, thus making 100 percent use of all waste material with 85 percent success in power generation.
Clean diesel made from PVC pipe, sewer sludge, agricultural waste and plastic
The very thought that good quality diesel can be produced from absolutely anything that has a carbon component is more than exciting. Everything from PVC products, wood, sewer waste, dustbin trash, wood, agricultural waste to coal can be recycled to produce diesel. Imagine ( the impact on the economies of nations if such a thing can be successfully implemented. Researchers at UC Riverside have developed a new technology that'll do just that. In fact they are investing a whopping $15 million to set up a pilot plant.
Rice Husks & Biomass Gasification to power rural India
In Indian rural areas where people still live without power the concept of Husk Power Systems is fast gaining acceptance. Afterall most villages don't have the grid power for building solar plants or wind farms, and these husk power systems offer a fantastic way of recycling agricultural waste for power generation.
At present there are about 50 villages in the state of Bihar, India where this system is functioning. Discarded rice husks form the primary raw material for electric power generation in these plants. About 1.5 kilos of rice husk on gasification produces 1KWh electricity. Most of these mini power plants have the capacity to produce 35 to 100 kwh electricity.
900 Megawatts of Biomass Power by UK's Drax Group
UK's Drax Group in collaboration with Siemens announced ( their intention to build at least three 300 MW biomass power plants in the UK. Raw materials to be used for power generation in these plants will include agricultural waste and energy crops. These three plants will probably supply 15 percent of renewable energy in the United Kingdom.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Electrical stimulus helps paralysed man walk again

Pioneering treatment involving hours of training in tandem with electrical stimulus has allowed a hit-and-run victim who was completely paralysed from the waist down to stand up unaided and take steps on a treadmill.
According to the Lancet medical journal, American Rob Summers, 25, is the first patient to benefit from the treatment, which has taken three decades to develop fully. Mr Summers admitted that the procedure has changed his life.
Scientists say that the treatment bypasses the brain and teaches the spinal cord to control limbs and body functions independently, with Mr Summers - normally confined to a wheelchair - able to voluntarily move his hips, knees, ankles and toes.
Professor Reggie Edgerton from the University of California in Los Angeles, a leading member of the 11-person team of researchers, said: “The neural networks in the lumbosacral spinal cord are capable of initiating full weight bearing and relatively co-ordinated stepping without any input from the brain. This is possible, in part, due to information that is sent back from the legs directly to the spinal cord.

Monday, 27 June 2011

IET celebrates 140th anniversary

Europe's largest professional engineers' body, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), based in Stevenage, is celebrating its 140th anniversary.

The IET started life as the Society of Telegraph Engineers on 17 May 1871 at a meeting held in London attended by eight people. Today, the IET has over 150,000 members in 127 countries around the world, and provides a professional home for life for its members, supporting them throughout their careers.

The IET employs 430 staff at its headquarters at Michael Faraday House, which opened in 1991. To mark the anniversary, IET Chief Executive, Nigel Fine has today (17 May) cut a special cake - 140 years to the day that the organisation came into existence.
Cake cutting ceremonies took place in the IET's offices in London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Beijing, Hong Kong and Bangalore. A series of events are planned over the coming months to mark the IET's 140th anniversary.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Energy-Saving Light Bulbs – A bright idea.

They last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs, and use around 80% less energy. An energy-saving light bulb produces the same amount of light at 13-18w as the more traditional 60w bulb. This reduces energy costs and saves you up to £60 over the lifetime of the energy-saving light bulb.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Bathroom safety

Water carries electricity efficiently. When the two mix, the result can
kill. Because of this, from an electrical safety point of view, the
bathroom is possibly the most dangerous room in the home. The
consequences of an electric shock are far more severe in a bathroom
or shower room as wet skin reduces the body's resistance. There are
special requirements for electrical installations in bathrooms.
• Sockets are not allowed in bathrooms or shower rooms (apart
from shaver-supply units).
• Shaver-supply units must be a safe distance from the bath or
shower to avoid splashes.
• Never bring mains-powered portable appliances such as hairdryers,
heaters or radios into a bathroom. You could be severely injured or
die. You can get a fixed hairdryer with hot air delivered through a
flexible plastic pipe installed in bathrooms.
• Enclosed ceiling lights are preferable to pendant (ones that hang
down) light fittings. All other light fittings must be out of reach, or
enclosed to keep water out.

Friday, 24 June 2011

fiber-based electronic and photonic devices

Researchers at MIT have succeeded in making a fine thread that functions as a diode, a device at the heart of modern electronics. This feat — made possible by a new approach to a type of fiber manufacturing known as fiber drawing — could open up possibilities for fabricating a wide variety of electronic and photonic devices within composite fibers, using a variety of materials.
Fiber-drawing techniques are used to produce the optical fibers behind much of today's broadband communications, but these techniques have been limited to materials that can partially melt and stretch like taffy at the temperatures being used for drawing the fibers. The new work demonstrates a way of synthesizing new materials during the fiber-making process, including materials whose melting points are far higher than the temperatures used to process the fibers. The simple proof-of-concept demonstration carried out by the MIT researchers could open the door to a wide array of sophisticated devices based on composite fibers, they say.
The findings, part of a doctoral research project in materials science by Nicholas Orf, have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
All previous work on fiber-drawing ended up with the same materials that were there to begin with, just in a different shape, Orf says, adding: "In this method, new materials are formed during the drawing process."
Fiber drawing involves preparing a "preform" of materials, such as a large glass rod resembling an oversized model of the fiber to be produced. This preform is heated until it reaches a taffy-like consistency and then pulled into a thin fiber. The materials comprising the preform remain unchanged as its dimensions are drastically reduced.
In the current research, the preform contained selenium, sulfur, zinc and tin, arranged within a coating of polymer material. The drawing process, carried out at a temperature of just 260 degrees Celsius (500 degrees Fahrenheit), combined these materials to form fibers containing zinc selenide, even though that compound has a melting point of 1,530 degrees Celsius (2,786 degrees Fahrenheit).
The resulting fiber was a simple but functional semiconductor device called a diode — a sort of one-way valve for electrical current, allowing electrons to flow through it in only one direction. The diode, never before made by such a method, is a basic building block for electrical circuits.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Damaged sockets, switches, or anything electrical – beware.

These can create electric shocks, burns or worse, fire. Always check burn marks, sounds of buzzing or crackling, fuses blowing, circuit breakers tripping or excessive heat. Have a registered electrician fix it before it breaks – or worse.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Socket Blanking Plugs

We don’t promote the use of socket blanking plugs as we don’t consider normal household sockets a serious risk to children.
These sockets have built in safety shutters to prevent access to the live parts inside. However, we understand that using these plugs may give parents and carers additional peace of mind. It’s your choice.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

What voltages are dangerous?

A wide range of voltages can be dangerous for different reasons. A very low voltage (such as that produced by a single torch battery) can produce a spark powerful enough to ignite an explosive atmosphere. Batteries (such as those in motor vehicles) can also overheat or explode if they are shorted.

If a person comes into contact with a voltage above about 50 volts, they can receive a range of injuries including those directly resulting from the electrical shock (stopped breathing, heart, etc), and indirect effects resulting from loss of control (such as falling from a height or coming into contact with moving machinery). The chance of being injured by an electric shock increases where it is damp or where there is a lot of metalwork.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Kitchen safety

We all know that water and electricity make a lethal combination. So
it's important that fixed electrical equipment is installed correctly, and
that you use appliances in your kitchen with care.
• To avoid water coming into contact with electricity, make sure that
your sockets or switches are fitted at a safe distance (at least
30 centimetres horizontally) from the sink.
• If appliances such as fridges, dishwashers and washing machines
are fitted under worktops, getting to sockets may be difficult.
Ideally, these appliances should be controlled by a switched
fuse-connection unit mounted above the worktop where you can
reach it easily.
• If a socket in the kitchen, or anywhere else in the house is likely
to be used to supply portable equipment outdoors, it should have
an RCD fitted.
Take special care when using electrical appliances in the kitchen - the
mixture of water, hot surfaces, flexes and electricity can be very
dangerous. Check that flexible leads and appliances such as kettles
and toasters are in good condition.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Electrium MCBs - RECALL

if you had electrcial work carried out between apr 2009 and feb 2010 which involvaed having a new consummer unit (fuse) box or and extra circuit, ask your electrician if you are affected by this recall.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Why is RCD protection important?

RCD protection can save lives by protecting you and your family from fatal electric shock, and can provide some protection against fire.
Every year in the UK around 70 people die and 1.2 million are injured as a result of electrical accidents at home.  A Government report also indicated that, each year, about 4,000 fires caused by electricity in homes might have been prevented if RCD protection had been fitted in the consumer unit.  Despite this, more than half of UK homes – that’s 13 million - don’t yet have any, or an adequate level of, such additional protection.
RCD protection is particularly important whilst using mains-powered electrical equipment outdoors, where there is an increased risk of electric shock.
(To provide additional protection against electric shock, an RCD must have a rated tripping current of no more than 30 mA. The rating will be marked on the RCD.)

Friday, 17 June 2011

How does an RCD (earth trip) work?

An RCD constantly monitors the electric current flowing through one or more circuits it is used to protect. If it detects electricity flowing down an unintended path, such as through a person who has touched a live part, the RCD will switch the circuit off very quickly, significantly reducing the risk of death or serious injury.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

What does an RCD (earth trip) do?

An RCD is a sensitive safety device that switches off electricity automatically if there is a fault.
An RCD is designed to protect against the risks of electrocution and fire caused by earth faults.  For example, if you cut through the cable when mowing the lawn and accidently touched the exposed live wires or a faulty appliance overheats causing electric current to flow to earth.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

How much do you rely on adaptors and...

extensions around your home?
An average room in a house has four sockets. Although this is enough
for most purposes, using computers, games consoles and other
appliances has led to the number of sockets being needed in an
average room to increase to eight. Extension leads and adaptors often
provide a quick and easy solution but, in reality, these leads and
adaptors are often misused, and can present a very real danger. In
extreme cases they can overheat, which can lead to a fire.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

will this government be the greenest in UK history

Just over a year ago, David Cameron pledged that his government would be the greenest in UK history. This week, his embattled energy and climate secretary Chris Huhne put flesh on the bones of Cameron’s rhetoric by agreeing to tough and legally binding new carbon reduction targets.

Huhne committed the government to abide by the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation that the UK should cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% on 1990 levels by 2025, an important landmark in meeting the UK’s ambitious 80% by 2050 reduction target.

But targets are one thing, turning them into reality is a different matter. For many sustainability experts, the government’s record on green issues hasn’t lived up to its rhetoric.
Sustainability & Architecture principal Bill Gething argues that its main focus seems to have been on reducing red tape and legislation.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Understanding Electricity Prices

The Top Seven Things You Need to Know

  • Utilities companies buy most of electricity wholesale from outside suppliers. A rise in your bill is normally due to a rise in the price of ‘whole sale’ electricity.
  • The ‘wholesale’ price of electricity changes every second but long term factors, such as the rising price of oil, are normally responsible for the extra costs that get passed to consumers.
  • In the UK 99% of the energy market has been cornered by just six companies and experts expect they will all continue raise prices in the foreseeable future.
  • The ‘big six’ companies tend to copy each other’s pricing, if you notice one company rising prices it can be a good sign to get on a fixed tariff with guaranteed prices.
  • Always be prepared to switch supplier. This will force energy companies to be more competitive.
  • You can tackle price hikes and save on energy bills by choosing an online tariff or paying via direct debit.
  • Switch quickly if the signs point to a coming price rise is advisable, as the best offers are often withdrawn beforehand.

RCDs Explained

you may call them an Earth trip, but an RCD, or residual current device, is a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live, such as a bare wire. It can also provide some protection against electrical fires. RCDs offer a level of personal protection that ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers cannot provide.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Plug fuses

The common UK plug – Is generally fitted with a 3A or 13A fuse. For appliances up to 700w you need to use a 3A fuse. And for appliances over 700w you need to use a 13A fuse.Here are some common examples:

3A Fuse – Table lamp, standard lamp, television, video, computer, mixer, blender, fridge, freezer, power drill, jig saw, soldering iron

13A Fuse – Washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, kettle, toaster, iron
Manufacturers have now standardised plug fuse ratings to be either 3A or 13A.  However, 5 Amp fuses are still used in some older equipment and are available to buy.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Electric and hybrid cars greener even in whole lifecycle

Electric and hybrid cars create more carbon emissions during their production than combustion cars-but are still greener overall, according to a new report from the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (Low CVP).

The report highlights the importance of accounting for whole life carbon emissions to assess the true green credentials of low carbon cars. The report, prepared by Ricardo in collaboration with the partnership’s expert membership which includes major manufacturers and oil companies.

The study found that some of the CO2 savings made during the use of low carbon vehicles is offset by increased emissions created during their production, and to a lesser extent disposal. However, overall electric and hybrid vehicles still have lower carbon footprints than normal cars.

For example, a typical medium sized family car will create around 24 tonnes of CO2 during its life cycle, while an electric vehicle (EV) will produce around 18 tonnes over its life. For a battery EV, 46 per cent of its total carbon footprint is generated at the factory, before it has travelled a single mile.

Greg Archer, LowCVP Managing Director, said: "This work dispels the myth that low carbon vehicles simply displace emissions from the exhaust to other sources. However, it does highlight the need to look at reducing carbon emissions from vehicles throughout their lifecycle.”

For a standard mid-sized gasoline ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle the embedded carbon in production will be around 5.6tCO2e, around three quarters of which is the steel in the vehicle glider. This highlights the importance of deploying low weight, low carbon alternatives to current steels in the ultra-low carbon vehicles of the future. A similar electric vehicle will have embedded production emissions of 8.8tCO2e, 43 per cent of which arise from the battery. Decarbonising both electricity supply, through renewables; and the production of batteries will therefore be essential for electric vehicles to deliver ultra-low carbon lifetime emissions.

The report also highlights that some regulations designed to improve recyclability, safety or reduce air pollution can increase carbon emissions in production or use.

Fuseboxes explained

Your Fusebox – the fusebox also known as consumer unit should be easy to find. You should make sure you know where it is in case you ever need to turn the electricity off in an emergency. It usually contains three things, and they are used to control and distribute electricity around your home. They are: The main switch; Fuses and/or circuit breakers; and Residual Current Devices.

Main Switch – this allows you to turn off the electricity supply to your home. You might have more than one mains switch, for example if your home has electric storage heaters. In this case you may have a separate fusebox.

Residual Current Devices (RCD) these are switches that trip a circuit under dangerous conditions, and instantly disconnect the electricity.

If your home has one or more RCD, test them regularly. Just follow the instruction label, which you should find near to the RCD. It should read as follows:
“This installation, or part of it, is protected by a device which automatically switches off the supply if an earth fault develops. Test every three months by pressing the button marked ‘T’ or ‘Test’.”
Testing the button every three months is important. The device should switch off the electricity. You should then switch it back on to restore the electricity. Do not hold the test button for a long period if the RCD does not trip. If it doesn’t switch off the electricity when you press the button, contact a registered electrician.

Circuit Breakers – these are automatic protection devices in the fusebox that switch off a circuit if they detect a fault. They are similar in size to fuses, but give more precise protection. When they ‘trip’, you can simply reset the switch. But make sure you correct the fault first.

Fuses – rewirable fuses have a piece of special fuse wire running between two screws. When a fault or overload current flows through the fuse wire, it will become hot and melt. The melted fuse breaks the circuit, disconnecting the faulty circuit and keeping you safe.
If your fusebox has a wooden back, cast iron switches, or a mixture of fuses it is likely that it dates back to before the 1960s and will need to be replaced.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Ben Franklin’s genuis or bonkers????

U know the story about Ben Franklin’s kite. Regardless of its truth or falsehood, it’s fascinating to imagine this guy having the courage and stupidity to fly a kite in a thunderstorm, and that he used a child’s toy to draw "electrical fire" from the sky. It has the shape of a classic myth: the story of Prometheus, who used a long stalk of fennel to steal fire from the god of sky and thunder.

genius or bonkers, true or false, you decide

this is what counduit and a fern howard light looks

like after a fire

Having found the perfect spot to hang your...

picture, you begin to fix it to the wall
Never drill holes or fix nails in walls or
partitions without knowing what is hidden
behind them. Walls and partitions hide
electrical cables and gas and water pipes.
Drilling through a live cable is extremely dangerous, and could cause
electric shocks, burns or even fire. A cable-and-metal detector will
help find any cables and metal pipes.
In modern electrical installations, cables are normally run in a straight
line, either horizontally or vertically, to an accessory such as a switch
or socket. Cables may also run within I5 centimetres (cm) from the
top of the wall or partition or within I5 cm of an angle formed by two
walls or partitions.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Cern, Alpha and antimatter storage: why antimatter should matter to us

Sixteen minutes is not a particularly long time. It's enough time for a cup of tea, or to run two miles, if you're in good shape. But if you have a few atoms of antimatter, it may be enough time to learn about the birth of the universe.
On Sunday, scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern) generated excited headlines worldwide when it was announced that they had created and stored antimatter – the elusive "mirror image" of everything we see around us – in a stable state for the first time. They have managed to keep atoms of antihydrogen – the antimatter equivalent of hydrogen, the simplest element – trapped for 1,000 seconds, or 16 minutes and 40 seconds. Their previous record stood at just 172 milliseconds, or rather less than a fifth of a second. It's an exciting breakthrough, but one that may have been hard to grasp for those of us without a physics degree.
To understand it, we first need to know what matter and antimatter really are. The universe is made of subatomic particles – electrons, protons and neutrons being the best known. In 1928, the English physicist Paul Dirac, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, created a detailed mathematical model of the subatomic world – but he realised that, for his equations to work, he required a particle with the same mass as an electron, but with the opposite, "positive" charge. In 1932, an American, Carl Anderson, observed such a particle, which became known as a positron. Later, it became clear to physicists that every particle of matter had an associated antiparticle. In 1955, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley identified an antineutron and antiproton.
But studying this antimatter was not easy. When an antiparticle of any kind meets its matter counterpart, the pair annihilate each other in a small but fierce burst of energy. An atom of antihydrogen, consisting of a positron and an antiproton, would instantly vanish upon contact with any matter. The only way to store antimatter, then, is to keep it in a magnetic field.
Until very recently, that meant that only subatomic antiparticles could be stored and studied because only charged antiparticles, antiprotons and positrons, can be manipulated by a magnetic field. Whole atoms do not have an electric charge and so magnets were of limited use.

PIRs Explained

What is a periodic inspection? An inspection and series of tests to make sure your electrical installation continue to conform to the national safety standard. A periodic inspection will
  • Reveal if any of your electrical circuits or equipment are overloaded.
  • Find any potential electric shock risks or fire hazards.
  • Identify any defective electrical work.
  • Highlight any lack of earthing or bonding.
Tests are also carried out on wiring and fixed electrical equipment to check that it is safe. A schedule of circuits will also be provided, which is invaluable for a property.
Why is a periodic inspection needed? Electrics deteriorate with use and age - and electricity can be deadly. So it’s vital that people aren’t put at risk.
How often is a periodic inspection required?  Your electrics should be tested every:
  • 10 years for a home.
  • 5 years for a business.
  • 3 years for caravans.
  • 1 year for swimming pools.
Other instances when a periodic inspection should be carried out are
  • When a property is being prepared to be let.
  • Before selling a property or when buying a previously occupied property.
Who should do it and what happens? A suitably qualified electrician, who will check the electrics against the national safety standard, should carry out all periodic inspections. The inspection should meet BS 7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations (IEE Wiring Regulations). That’s the technical name for the 850 regulations that are checked in this test.
The inspection takes into account all the relevant circumstances and includes the following
  • The adequacy of earthing and bonding.
  • The suitability of the switch and control gear. For example an old fusebox with a wooden back, cast-iron switches, or a mixture of both will need replacing.
  • The serviceability of switches, sockets and light fittings. All of these may need replacing: older round-pin sockets, round light switches, cables with fabric coating hanging from ceiling roses to light fittings, black switches and sockets mounted in skirting boards.
  • The type of wiring system and its condition. For example cables coated in black rubber were phased out in the 1960s, likewise cables coated in lead or fabric are even older and may well need replacing (modern cables use safer pvc insulation).
  • That residual current devices are used for sockets that may be used with outdoor electrical equipment.
  • The presence of adequate identification and notices.
  • The extent of any wear and tear, damage or other deterioration.
  • The changes in use of the premises which have led to, or may lead to, problematic wiring.
The electrician will provide a periodic inspection report (PIR) as part of the periodic inspection.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Is that a Volts-wagen? Beetle fastest electric-powered drag racer 0-60mph in 1.6 seconds

Two brothers are celebrating after setting a world speed record in an electric car - made from a Beetle and a milk float.
Sam and Olly Young, who are sponsored by their local pub in Hungerford, Berkshire, set out to prove you can have zero emissions and the thrill of super-fast travel too.
They built a 'green' mean machine out of a milk float and a 1965 Volkswagen Beetle, which they have named Black Current.

Read more:

Resolving water's electrical properties (a bit heavy)

While most people may not think of water as having electrical properties, when the behavior and movement of the electrons in this ubiquitous liquid comes into play in designing alternatives to today's fossil fuels, water is often part of the conversation. The electrical forces that exist in water, a simple V-shaped molecule made from two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom, are vital to understanding and controlling how molecules, ions, and other chemical components move and behave. For example, understanding water is necessary to convert agricultural waste into bio-fuels. Further, water's behavior impacts work on storing energy from solar cells, wind turbines, and other renewable sources, allowing more flexibility in designing energy strategies.
In chemistry, the simple approach that assigns a positive charge to a hydrogen atom and a negative charge to an oxygen atom can be very powerful. This simple model can work when it comes to understanding the forces that move molecules around in water. In other cases, it doesn't work.
When taking measurements with certain instruments, the simple model matches experimental results quite well. But, when using other techniques, the model differs wildly from what's measured. Theoretical chemists at PNNL and LLNL were the first to figure out what was happening.
They found that to measure electrical properties occurring at the molecular scale, where the length scales are measured in billionths of a meter, the models need to consider that the protons are in the nucleus and the electrons are everywhere else.
"It comes down to understanding where in the molecule you are making the measurements," said Dr. Shawn Kathmann, a chemical physicist at PNNL who worked on the study.
Complex descriptions of matter, referred to as ab initio electronic structure calculations, that focus on identifying electrons location and electron holography experiments showed that the conflict was caused by where you were measuring the surface potential in the molecules. If you determined the surface potential right next to the protons, you got one answer. If you determined the potential in the void between molecules, you get a different answer. And, finally, if you took measurements close to the electrons, you got still another answer.
"When you treat the electrons and protons appropriately, you get more accurate results," said Kathmann.
This research is part of ongoing work at PNNL to fundamentally understand the forces inside water and other molecules. The goal is to push past the existing knowledge frontiers regarding ions and interfaces. The team is working on developing models that more accurately and appropriately represent electrons. They are also striving to isolate the effects of electrons in driving matter at interfaces as well as the electrical stresses inside aqueous electrolytes.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Dishwashers – The fuller the better.

Only use your dishwasher when you have a full load as a half load uses the same amount of energy. If possible, stop the dishwasher’s cycle when it gets to the drying stage, open the dishwasher up, and let the load dry naturally.

Monday, 6 June 2011

When should I use a residual current device?

It is advisable to use a residual current device (RCD) whenever possible but particularly in wet or damp locations such as outdoors. An RCD rated at no more than 30mA limits the energy in a particular type of electric shock and can save your life. However, an RCD cannot protect you from every type of electric shock, so you should still make sure that circuits are securely isolated before you work on them.

It is best to use an RCD that is incorporated into the switchboard of your installation. This means that all circuits fed from that RCD are protected by the RCD. An RCD that is incorporated into an ordinary mains socket, or plugged into it, will protect anything that is attached to that socket, but it is possible that equipment may be plugged into another, unprotected, socket.

RCDs should be regularly tested by pressing the ‘test’ button, and by making sure that the RCD trips. Faulty or inoperative RCDs should be removed from use.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Trailing the cable under the carpet or rug to

...keep it out of the way
Flexible cables trailed under carpets, rugs or
across walkways are not only a major danger in
terms of tripping, but a possible fire risk.
Repeated stretching and treading on the cable may damage the cable

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Underfloor heating: frequently asked questions

Some of the most frequently asked general questions about underfloor heating
If you’re considering underfloor heating then you’re bound to have some questions. Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked.

Do I need to put underfloor heating in every room?

No, but you might want to! Newbuilds and self-builds are the easiest homes to install a complete underfloor heating system in, but it is possible to convert existing homes completely. Otherwise, you can put underfloor heating in whichever rooms you like. Bathrooms and kitchens are among the most popular choices.

What will happen to my radiators once my underfloor heating is installed?

They can be got rid of. Both private companies and local authorities provide recycling facilities for radiators. On average, you will increase your wall space by an estimated 10 per cent.

Will I need a new boiler for underfloor heating?

The low amount of heat needed by underfloor heating makes it ideal for use with a modern condensing boiler. However, in most cases, you will not need to change your boiler.

How much disruption is caused installing underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating installation can be quite disruptive as you need to lift all existing floor coverings and put in insulation and the electric heating element or pipes (depending on what type of underfloor heating you choose) before replacing the floor covering. For this reason, many people choose to have their underfloor heating professionally installed.

Will there be more disruption if there is a fault?

There will be some – but not as much. Faults are rare with modern underfloor heating systems. When they do develop they are usually localised and so only a small area needs to be dealt with.

Can the temperature of underfloor heating be controlled?

Underfloor heating systems use thermostats, just like conventional central heating systems. Most systems allow for different rooms to be heated to different levels as required.

How long will my underfloor heating take to warm up?

No two underfloor heating systems will warm a floor in the same length of time and it depends on the starting temperature of the room – but a room can get to a comfortable temperature in under twenty minutes in ideal conditions.

D A Woolgar are DEVI under floor heating specialists

Friday, 3 June 2011

Memristors' current carves protected channels

A circuit component touted as the "missing link" of electronics is starting to give up the secrets of how it works.

Memristors resist the passage of electric current, "remembering" how much current passed previously.
Researchers reporting in the journal Nanotechnology have now studied their nanoscale makeup using X-rays.

They show for the first time where the current switching process happens in the devices, and how heat affects it.

First predicted theoretically in the early 1970s, the first prototype memristor was realised by researchers at Hewlett-Packard in 2008.

They are considered to be the fourth fundamental component of electronics, joining the well-established resistor, capacitor, and inductor.

Because their resistance at any time is a function of the amount of current that has passed before, they are particularly attractive as potential memory devices.

What is more, this history-dependent resistance is reminiscent of the function of the brain cells called neurons, whose propensity to pass electrical signals depends crucially on the signals that have recently passed.

The earliest implementations of the idea have been materially quite simple - a piece of titanium dioxide between two electrodes, for example.

What is going on at the microscopic and nanoscopic level, in terms of the movement of electric charges and the structure of the material, has remained something of a mystery.

Now, researchers at Hewlett-Packard including the memristor's discoverer Stan Williams, have analysed the devices using X-rays and tracked how heat builds up in them as current passes through.

The team discovered that the current in the devices flowed in a 100-nanometre channel within the device. The passage of current caused heat deposition, such that the titanium dioxide surrounding the conducting channel actually changed its structure to a non-conducting state.

A number of different theories had been posited to explain the switching behaviour, and the team was able to use the results of their X-ray experiments to determine which was correct.

The detailed knowledge of the nanometre-scale structure of memristors and precisely where heat is deposited will help to inform future engineering efforts, said Dr Williams.

 Knowing how heat is distributed within the devices will aid in optimising their manufacture
He recounted the story of Thomas Edison, who said that it took him over 1,000 attempts before arriving at a working light bulb.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

UK company implicated in toxic e-waste trail from London to West Africa

The Environmental Investigation Agency and BBC Panorama use GPS to prove British electronic waste is being exported to poor African nations where it threatens the environment and human health

One of the UK's leading waste and recycling companies has been linked to the growing underground trade in e-waste after campaigners uncovered evidence that broken television sets deposited at the firms facilities were exported to Africa in contravention of regulations designed to stem the flow of electronic waste to developing countries. 
Merseyside-based Environment Waste Controls (EWC), whose clients are reported to include ASDA, Tesco, Barclays, the NHS and Network Rail, has admitted that electronic equipment from its amenity sites in South London ended up in West Africa after being exported by a third party company and says it has taken steps to prevent this happening in the future.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Everyone gets a ‘belt’ from electricity every now and then, don’t they?

No, not if they are careful and follow the simple rules to securely isolate electrical equipment, and check it is dead before they start work. If you have received an electric shock but were not injured, then you are lucky. Next time a slight change in events may lead to a very different result. No one is immune to an injury from electricity.