It is said that the scent and taste of food evokes childhood memories; I still recall summer excursions in the family station wagon to MacKay’s Cochrane Ice Cream store near Calgary to savour their rich chocolate cones. Funny that something with such Old World culinary charm is so dependent upon innovation in the chemistry laboratory. The chef de cuisine of the ice cream lab is University of Guelph physical chemist Doug Goff, christened Dr. Freeze by the media. In the story “Chemistry with a cherry on top,” Goff describes the chemical complexities of ice cream: how manufacturers must create the perfect balance of air, fat and ice, making it both an emulsion and a foam, and how challenging it is to ensure that every carton arrives in the supermarket frozen and flavourful, creating summer memories for a new generation of kids.
Another feature story presents a ground-breaking innovation out of New Brunswick. Atlantic Hydrogen Inc. has created a proprietary method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through its revolutionary CarbonSaver process. By using microwave energy, the company separates hydrogen and carbon from the methane in natural gas. The process collects the carbon as particles to sell for various manufacturing applications.
ACCN also explores Ottawa-based company Grafoid Inc.’s quest to produce industrial quantities of a very trendy material called graphene. The seemingly limitless potential of this hot new commodity stems from its conductivity, strength and flexibility, which lends itself to a range of applications requiring the ability to store and move electrical charges, such as cell phone batteries and paper-thin LED displays that can be worn on clothing.
Our always chock-a-block Chemical News section presents a host of interesting stories, including one from the University of British Columbia’s Shawn Mansfield, who is analyzing how to manipulate trees’ molecular bonds to make it easier to break down the troublesome biomolecule lignin in pulp and paper production. We also look at an innovative adhesive developed at the University of Alberta that was inspired by the “sticky” feet of gecko lizards. Finally, an international initiative undertaken by Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) professor Federico Rosei could boost energy production in the developing world without adding to the global problem of fossil fuel emissions.
Have a great summer — with a cherry on top!