Eddy's Good News: How do Butterflies wings get so colourful and more sustainable batteries

Virgin Radio

30 May 2024, 15:29

Every day during his show on Virgin Radio Anthems, Eddy Temple-Morris brings you Good News stories from around the world, to help inject a bit of positivity into your day!

Be sure to listen each day between 2pm and 6pm (Monday - Friday) to hear Eddy's Good News stories (amongst the finest music of course), but if you miss any of them you can catch up on the transcripts of Eddy's most recent stories below:

Thursday 30th May 2024

Credit: Getty

How many times have you commented on what a beautiful colour a butterfly’s wings are? But how do they get so colourful? Why is their colour so much more vibrant than most other colours? 

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have been studying this using powerful state of the art microscopes, and discovered it’s a protein in butterfly’s scales, called Actin, which orchestrates the intricate arrangement of their fabulous wings. 

Actually it’s more like making a dress than conducting an orchestra. 

“Actin is like a dressmaker, laying out and pinning the arrangement of these structures to shape the vibrant colours,” said Dr. Andrew Parnell, lead author of the study. “Once the actin has finished its work it departs the cell like the removal of pins in dressmaking.”

It’s a process that occurs with all butterflies and their understanding of it will lead to application in all sorts of fields from diagnostics to sensing to something as simple as making more sustainable roof paint that’s more reflective and sends much more UV and heat back into space. 

Via: goodnewsnetwork.org

Credit: Getty

The search for a new and more sustainable type of battery goes on and there’s a couple of great front runners I’ve reported on here. Now thanks to researchers at Oregon State University, there’s a new dog in the race. Iron, instead of cobalt and nickel which are used to make the current generation of lithium ion batteries. 

Iron is the cheapest metal available on earth and is in huge supply, therefore a much more sustainable alternative until a non metallic battery is perfected. Silicon batteries is something I’ve reported on here.

 “Our electrode can offer a higher energy density than the state-of-the-art cathode materials in electric vehicles” said one of the scientists on the project. 

Their battery is also safer and we’ve all heard of the explosive potential of current batteries. 

Credit: Oregon State University

The fact that we are running out of cobalt and nickel will only force the price of lithium ion batteries up. Iron meanwhile is one of the most abundant elements in the earth’s crust and the sun would stop shining before we ran out.

Via: goodnewsnetwork.org