Power of Separation

Fuel cells are the wave of the future, not only for powering cars but also for powering medical implants—if they can be kept from short-circuiting in the pulsed flow of the bloodstream. Now a team of researchers led by Associate Professor of Engineering Tayhas Palmore has overcome that obstacle. A microfluidic fuel cell consists of two electrodes immersed in fuel-containing fluids; ions traveling between the electrodes produce power. Traditionally, an ion-conducting membrane and selective catalysts at the electrodes keep the fluids separate, which prevents the cell from short-circuiting. Palmore''s team did away with the membrane and the catalysts, instead choosing fluids that don’t mix under certain conditions and using the fluids'' own chemical properties to keep them separate.


Degrees of Value

A General Education Development (GED) credential helps female high-school dropouts with poor cognitive skills more than it does higher-skilled dropouts, according to a new study in the Economics of Education Review. Researchers found that a low-skilled dropout with a GED is 18 percent more likely to have a job at age twenty-seven than a low-skilled dropout without a GED. But for dropouts who scored higher on tenth-grade tests, a GED did not help. “The students in [GED] classes who are the most in need are the ones who can get the most out of it, so that''s where the resources should go,” says Assistant Professor of Education John H. Tyler, one of the study''s authors.