Student AwardEach year, the ECS Corrosion Divisions offers the Morris Cohen Graduate Student Award to recognize academic achievements in corrosion science and/or engineering.

Mohsen Esmaily is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at Chalmers University of Technology’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in Sweden. He earned a BS degree in materials science in 2009 and an MS degree in advanced engineering materials from the University of Manchester in 2011. He received his PhD degree in materials science and engineering from Chalmers University of Technology in 2016. Esmaily has been working on the corrosion of light alloys including magnesium, aluminum alloys and some selected composites, with a particular interest in corrosion control of cast magnesium alloys through controlling of the solidification process.

Esmaily’s achievements in the field of atmospheric corrosion have been recognized and rewarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and the Wallenberg Foundation. In 2017, Mohsen co-authored a comprehensive review that summarized decades of Mg corrosion research. He is an active member of The Electrochemical Society, The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, and Materials Research Society.

OceanScientists have found that a common enzyme can speed up—by 500 times—the rate-limiting part of the chemical reaction that helps the Earth lock away, or sequester, carbon dioxide in the ocean.

“While the new paper is about a basic chemical mechanism, the implication is that we might better mimic the natural process that stores carbon dioxide in the ocean,” says lead author Adam Subhas, a California Institute of Technology (Caltech) graduate student.

Simple problem, complex answer

The researchers used isotopic labeling and two methods for measuring isotope ratios in solutions and solids to study calcite—a form of calcium carbonate—dissolving in seawater and measure how fast it occurs at a molecular level.

It all started with a very simple, very basic problem: measuring how long it takes for calcite to dissolve in seawater.

“Although a seemingly straightforward problem, the kinetics of the reaction is poorly understood,” says Berelson, professor of earth sciences at the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.


Brett LuchtBrett Lucht is a professor of chemistry at the University of Rhode Island, where his research focuses on organic materials chemistry. Lucht’s research includes the development of novel electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries and other efforts to improve the performance of electrolytes for electric vehicles. Lucht has recently been named associate editor for the Journal of The Electrochemical Society.

The Electrochemical Society: What do you hope to accomplish in your new role as associate editor?

Brett Lucht: I hope to improve the prestige of the journal. While the Journal of The Electrochemical Society is the oldest journal of electrochemical science, competition from other journals has become fierce.  The Electrochemical Society is the largest scientific organization focused on electrochemistry and ECS meetings are very well attended. Thus publishing electrochemical research in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society should be the most prestigious place to publish.

ECS: Why should authors publish in ECS journals?

BL: The Journal of The Electrochemical Society has been in continuous production since 1902—115 years. While many new journals come and go, they are frequently focused on narrow topics which fluctuate in importance.  Publications in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society will last the test of time.  In my area of research, lithium-ion batteries, many new journals are publishing research in this area. However, many of the fundamental research articles providing the foundation for this field were published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society.


By: Elton Santos, Queen’s University Belfast

CarbonScientists have found a way to make carbon both very hard and very stretchy by heating it under high pressure. This “compressed glassy carbon”, developed by researchers in China and the US, is also lightweight and could potentially be made in very large quantities. This means it might be a good fit for several sorts of applications, from bulletproof vests to new kinds of electronic devices.

Carbon is a special element because of the way its atoms can form different types of bonds with each other and so form different structures. For example, carbon atoms joined entirely by “sp³” bonds produce diamond, and those joined entirely by “sp²” bonds produce graphite, which can also be separated into single layers of atoms known as graphene. Another form of carbon, known as glassy carbon, is also made from sp² and has properties of both graphite and ceramics.

But the new compressed glassy carbon has a mix of sp³ and sp² bonds, which is what gives it its unusual properties. To make atomic bonds you need some additional energy. When the researchers squeezed several sheets of graphene together at high temperatures, they found certain carbon atoms were exactly in the right position to form sp³ bonds between the layers.

By studying the new material in detail, they found that just over one in five of all its bonds were sp³. This means that most of the atoms are still arranged in a graphene-like structure, but the new bonds make it look more like a large, interconnected network and give it greater strength. Over the small scale of individual graphene sheets, the atoms are arranged in an orderly, hexagonal pattern. But on a larger scale, the sheets are arranged in a disorderly fashion. This is probably what gives it the combined properties of hardness and flexibility.


Carbon dioxideThe global development of industry, technology, and the transportation sector has resulted in massive consumption of fossil fuels. As these fuels are burned, emissions are released—namely carbon dioxide. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, combustion of petroleum-based products resulted in 6,587 million metric tons of carbon dioxide released into the environment in 2015. But what if we could capture the greenhouse gas and not only convert it, but potentially make a huge profit?

That’s exactly what ECS member Stuart Licht is looking to do.

In a new study, Licht and his team demonstrate using carbon dioxide and solar thermal energy to produce high yields of millimeter-lengths carbon nanotube (CNT) wool at a cost of $660 per ton. According to marketplace values, these CNTs, which have applications ranging from textiles to cement, could then be sold for up to $400,000 per ton.

“We have introduced a new class of materials called ‘Carbon Nanotube Wool,’ which are the first CNTs that can be directly woven into a cloth, as they are of macroscopic length and are cheap to produce,” Licht, a chemistry professor at George Washington University, tells “The sole reactant to produce the CNT wools is the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.”


In May 2017 during the 231st ECS Meeting, we sat down with 2016-2017 ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship winner, Elizabeth Biddinger, to discuss green chemistry, sustainable engineering, and the future of transportation. The conversation was led by Amanda Staller, ECS’s web content specialist.

Biddinger is an assistant professor at the City College of New York, part of the City University of New York system. There, she leads a research group that covers research areas ranging from electrocatalysis to ionic liquids. Her work in switchable electrolytes earned her a spot among the 2016-2017 fellowship winners.

Listen to the podcast and download this episode and others for free on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Podbean, or our RSS Feed. You can also find us on Stitcher and Acast.


Solar PanelResearchers have created a concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) system with embedded microtracking that is capable of producing 50 percent more energy per day than the standard silicon solar cells.

“Solar cells used to be expensive, but now they’re getting really cheap,” says Chris Giebink, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Penn State.

“As a result, the solar cell is no longer the dominant cost of the energy it produces. The majority of the cost increasingly lies in everything else—the inverter, installation labor, permitting fees, etc.—all the stuff we used to neglect,” he says.

This changing economic landscape has put a premium on high efficiency. In contrast to silicon solar panels, which currently dominate the market at 15 to 20 percent efficiency, concentrating photovoltaics focus sunlight onto smaller, but much more efficient solar cells like those used on satellites, to enable overall efficiencies of 35 to 40 percent.


BatteryLithium-ion batteries power a vast majority of the world’s portable electronics, from smartphones to laptops. A standard lithium-ion batteries utilizes a liquid as the electrolyte between two electrodes. However, the liquid electrolyte has the potential to lead to safety hazards. Researchers from MIT believe that by using a solid electrolyte, lithium-ion batteries could be safer and able to store more energy. However, most research in the area of all-solid-state lithium-ion batteries has faced significant barriers.

According to the team from MIT, a reason why research into solid electrolytes has been so challenging is due to incorrect interpretation of how these batteries fail.

This from MIT:

The problem, according to this study, is that researchers have been focusing on the wrong properties in their search for a solid electrolyte material. The prevailing idea was that the material’s firmness or squishiness (a property called shear modulus) determined whether dendrites could penetrate into the electrolyte. But the new analysis showed that it’s the smoothness of the surface that matters most. Microscopic nicks and scratches on the electrolyte’s surface can provide a toehold for the metallic deposits to begin to force their way in, the researchers found.


Micromotors Powered by Bacteria

Researchers are using genetically engineered E. coli to power micromotors, with the swimming bacteria causing the motors to rotate in a similar fashion to a river rotating a watermill.

“Our design combines a high rotational speed with an enormous reduction in fluctuation when compared to previous attempts based on wild-type bacteria and flat structures,” says Roberto Di Leonardo, co-author of the new research. “We can produce large arrays of independently controlled rotors that use light as the ultimate energy source. These devices could serve one day as cheap and disposable actuators in microrobots for collecting and sorting individual cells inside miniaturized biomedical laboratories.”


I4OC logoECS is proud to announce its partnership with the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC). By joining forces with I4OC, ECS has opened up citation data, further expanding accessibility to scientific knowledge by releasing into the public domain reference data published in ECS journals.

This partnership aligns directly with ECS’s Free the Science initiative, which seeks to make our peer-reviewed research free to all readers while remaining free for authors to publish.

“We applaud the efforts of I4OC. In addition to our significant amount of open access full-text content, we are excited to be able to provide yet another mechanism for researchers to freely access a very important part of ECS content,” says Mary Yess, chief content officer for ECS. “Opening up our citations will not only allow scientists and engineers easy access; but because the citations are in common, machine-readable formats, this will also allow them to data mine those citations. All of these open access opportunities are a critical to progress in our fields and others.”

Since its establishment in April, I4OC has worked to partner with publishers to provide accessible citation data. Citations are a central component to scholarly information, providing credibility to statements and bolstering overall discovery and dissemination by highlighting research.


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