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    Molecular jiggling may explain why some solids shrink when heated

    When things heat up, most solids expand as higher temperatures cause atoms to vibrate more dramatically, necessitating more space. But some solid crystals, like scandium fluoride, shrink when heated — a phenomenon called negative thermal expansion. Now, by measuring distances between atoms in scandium fluoride crystals, scientists think that they have figured out how that […] More

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    Plant-based fire retardants may offer a less toxic way to tame flames

    Flame retardants are going green. Using compounds from plants, researchers are concocting a new generation of flame retardants, which one day could replace the fire-quenching chemicals added by manufacturers to furniture, electronics and other consumer products. Many traditional synthetic flame retardants have come under fire for being linked to health problems like thyroid disruption and […] More

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    Carbon plays a starring role in the new book ‘Symphony in C’

    A geophysicist looks at the science, history and culture of the versatile element ALL ABOUT CARBON  Diamond, graphite and calcite (crystals shown) are just three of the hundreds of carbon-bearing minerals found on Earth. Rob Lavinsky and iRocks.com/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) Share this: This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Subscribers, enter […] More