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Petersburg scientists have created a technology for a polymer like a «Swiss cheese»

Chemists at St. Petersburg State University and the Institute of Organic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences have developed a polymer which under a microscope looks like cheese because of numerous nanoholes.
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Russian scientists have proposed a new method for producing polymers with preset properties. They took cheap raw materials — calcium carbide — and used the technology of vinylation, that is, they introduced CH = CH2 groups into it.

As a result, the scientists got ethers, which they could use to produce a polymer with a structure similar to Swiss cheese, with microscopic «holes». Microscopic «nanoholes» are evenly distributed throughout the polymer, and in its depth there are hollow spheres with very thin partitions, between which there are no connecting channels.

According to Valentin Ananikov, the head of the cluster catalysis laboratory at St. Petersburg State University and Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, it is possible to put some substance into the pores of the new material, for example, a medicine that will be preserved in them and will leave the polymer only under certain conditions.

The results of the study have been published in the journal ChemSusChem.

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Ural engineers assembled the smallest turbine yet

Engineers at the Ural Federal University have created the smallest steam turbine in the world, which also doesn’t require fuel oil. It can use steam from large turbines and therefore reduce energy losses.
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A turbine is a mechanism that converts the kinetic energy of steam, gas or water into the mechanical work on the shaft. Steam, water or gas act on the blades fixed on the rotor, which makes them move and the movement generates electricity.

The PTM-30 turbine has a diameter of only half a meter and a capacity of 30 kilowatts (existing small turbines have a capacity of 100 kilowatts and more), which is enough to supply energy to a house with a floor area of 300 square meters. According to Dmitry Benemansky, the deputy director of the UrFU media center, the turbine, unlike its foreign counterparts, operates without fuel oil. It makes it possible to reduce the risk of fire to a minimum, and since there is no reducer in the turbine the noise level is lower.

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Six Russian NTI centres to receive grants for the development of advanced technologies

Results of the grant competition, organised by the Ministry of Education and Science, for the National Technology Initiative (NTI) centres based at universities and scientific institutions, were announced on 22 of December. Six selected centres will receive 7.8 billion rubles for the development of advanced technologies
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Grants for 2017−2020 go to: NTI Centre for research direction «Artificial Intelligence», based at MIPT; Centre for Quantum Technologies, based at Moscow State University; Competence Centre for New and Mobile Energy Sources Technologies, based at the Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences; NTI Centre «New Production Technologies», based at the Institute of Advanced Production Technologies of the St. Petersburg Polytechnic University; Centre for Technologies of Managing the Properties of Biological Objects, based at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and NTI Centre for research direction «Neurotechnology, Virtual and Augmented Reality Technologies», based at the Far Eastern Federal University.

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Precarious employment becomes a trend in labour relations in Russia

Researchers at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics (PRUE) have found that precarious forms of employment — irregular earnings and no guaranteed working conditions — are on the rise in Russia.
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Unconventional employment is a complex of forms of employment, which in one way or another do not fit into the framework of the Labour Code — for example, freelance or home office, irregular working hours, lack of social protection, pensions and fixed-term employment contracts. In some cases, such employment may become precarious, which means vulnerability to various risks.

Scientists have calculated the number of people in Russia who, according to the International Labour Organization’s precarious employment criteria, might be considered to be in precarious employment. They used data from a variety of sources, including Rosstat and the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS). As it turned out, 60 to 80% of employees were in precarious employment to some degree in 2016, in both formal and informal parts of the economy.

Scientists concluded that precarious employment is the result of acceleration of structural changes in the economy. «The volatility of employment is a consequence of the dominance of local and global capital focused on creating „flexible labour markets“ that bring costs to a minimum», the researchers believe.

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