This week's rundown of the latest materials and technology research includes the seismic activity generated by a surprising football comeback, water-repellent metal, and a clean-energy and food-production facility that plans to irrigate with seawater.
Media outlets weren't the only ones recording fans’ excitement during last weekend’s NFC Championship game at Century Link Field in Seattle. The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network placed sensors throughout the structure to track how rumbles of activity in response to game events shook the stadium, and how that energy was transferred into the ground. Following a game-changing touchdown and two-point conversion, "it was very obvious that [a] large number of fans were jumping up and down in unison at a rate of about 2 1/2 jumps per second," the researchers write. [PNSN]
A Mexican startup is combining the fibrous leftovers from agave processed for tequila with waste plastic to make a composite that is stronger than wood. They expect to use the product for construction materials and furniture, but are considering switching from agave fiber to the stronger and more readily available coconut fiber as aggregate. [Gizmag]
Researchers at the University of Rochester used lasers to etch a nanostructure onto a metal surface, rendering it permanently moisture repellant and improving on current weatherproof coatings, which tend to wear. Future uses for the technology include preventing ice buildup in airplane fuselages and bettering water recollection in developing regions. [Gizmodo]
A pilot clean-energy and food production facility planned near Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, will use plant species that can be irrigated with salt water, an abundant resource in the coastal desert region. [Inhabitat]