8. Solar Energy at Scale: Materials, Environmental and Energy Impact (November 18, 2009)
Science, energy, technology, economics, renewable energy, photovoltaic cells, electricity, grid parity, subsidies, cost, engineering, investment, consumption, generating capacity, China, Sichuan Apollo Solar, tungsten, alloy, bismuth, tellurium, zinc, man
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4 Engineering with proteins

What are the prospects for designing and making new proteins for specific purposes? The technology exists to build polypeptide chains unit by unit in a test tube, but this is time-consuming and expensive. Often a more practical approach is to find ways of working with nature to produce useful substances in a form that we can use. This might involve extracting a naturally occurring protein and chemically modifying it in some way, or using genetic engineering to produce a particular protein in
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3.3 Spider silk

The presence of regions of helical and sheet-like structures within a protein will affect its properties in different ways: a particularly striking example of this is provided by spider silk.

Imagine a polymer that forms fibres stronger, by mass, than steel and can be processed from water at ambient temperature and low pressure. As a consequence of its biological origin, it is extremely environmentally friendly and totally recyclable. It may sound like science fiction, but this i
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3.2 Protein structure

Proteins are one example of a biopolymer. You will already be familiar with synthetic polymers such as polyethylene and nylon: long chains made up of many thousands of repeating units, called monomers, linked together by strong covalent bonds. Polymers are particularly versatile materials because of the very different strengths of the bonds between monomer units in the chain (strong) and between one chain and another (weak). By varying the arrangement of chains within a material a huge
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3.1 Protein diversity

Of course, our bodies can't just be made up of squidgy bubbles of phospholipid, or we would collapse in a heap on the floor! Stiffer frameworks, both inside and outside the cells, also exist and help to define shape and add strength. These frameworks are formed largely from structural proteins, a class of polymeric materials that form fibres and filaments to provide mechanical support for cells and tissues. Structural proteins are made inside cells but are often then moved into the spa
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2 Construction with lipids

The cell membrane is constructed from lipids. Chemically, lipids are a rather varied group of compounds that include all the substances you might already think of as fats or oils. What they have in common is that they are all insoluble in polar liquids like water, but soluble in organic (carbon-based) solvents: by this I mean the sort of smelly solvents you tend to find in paints, glues and degreasing agents; chloroform is one example. Lipids make up the fatty components of living organisms a
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Learning outcomes

After you have completed this unit you should be able to:

  • describe and give examples of how self-assembly enables construction ‘from the bottom up’ in natural materials;

  • explain what is meant by primary and higher-order structure in proteins and give examples;

  • give examples of the range of functions carried out by proteins within cells;

  • describe how a combination of strong and weak bonding within biopolymers and lipids is use
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Making Big Waves
If you have dreams of surfing the perfect wave, there is so much more to learn than just hanging-ten. Waves can come from many different types of sources, yet they all have very similar physical properties. Before you learn to surf the big waves, you should learn the science behind how they are created. In this video from QUEST, learn about the origins and the power of Big Waves along the Northern California Coast.  Run time 06:18.
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Life in the Palaeozoic
Fossils are a glimpse into the distant past and fascinate young and old alike. This unit will introduce you to the explosion of evolution that took place during the Palaeozoic era. You will look at the many different types of creatures that existed at that time and how they managed to evolve to exist on land.
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High-Eco-Tech: Building Avant la Garde
There’s more than a little magic in Werner Sobek’s constructions, which balance aesthetics, architectural constraints and pathbreaking science to, in his words, “go beyond” nature’s own limits.

Sobek walks us through his portfolio of engineering feats, enabled by a worldwide architecture and engi

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4.3 Tackling problems with debt
Debt has now become a part of everyday life, with personal debt in the UK topping £1.1 trillion in 2005. In this unit, you will explore the different types of debt and loans and some of the associated concepts, arming yourself with more information to plan your financial future.
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4.2 Which debt product?
Debt has now become a part of everyday life, with personal debt in the UK topping £1.1 trillion in 2005. In this unit, you will explore the different types of debt and loans and some of the associated concepts, arming yourself with more information to plan your financial future.
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4.1 How to finance a purchase
Debt has now become a part of everyday life, with personal debt in the UK topping £1.1 trillion in 2005. In this unit, you will explore the different types of debt and loans and some of the associated concepts, arming yourself with more information to plan your financial future.
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3.2 Liabilities and expenditure
Debt has now become a part of everyday life, with personal debt in the UK topping £1.1 trillion in 2005. In this unit, you will explore the different types of debt and loans and some of the associated concepts, arming yourself with more information to plan your financial future.
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3.1 Income and expenditure, and debt
Debt has now become a part of everyday life, with personal debt in the UK topping £1.1 trillion in 2005. In this unit, you will explore the different types of debt and loans and some of the associated concepts, arming yourself with more information to plan your financial future.
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2.5 Interest rates and individuals
Debt has now become a part of everyday life, with personal debt in the UK topping £1.1 trillion in 2005. In this unit, you will explore the different types of debt and loans and some of the associated concepts, arming yourself with more information to plan your financial future.
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2.4 Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
Debt has now become a part of everyday life, with personal debt in the UK topping £1.1 trillion in 2005. In this unit, you will explore the different types of debt and loans and some of the associated concepts, arming yourself with more information to plan your financial future.
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2.3 More on interest
Debt has now become a part of everyday life, with personal debt in the UK topping £1.1 trillion in 2005. In this unit, you will explore the different types of debt and loans and some of the associated concepts, arming yourself with more information to plan your financial future.
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2.2 The official interest rate
Debt has now become a part of everyday life, with personal debt in the UK topping £1.1 trillion in 2005. In this unit, you will explore the different types of debt and loans and some of the associated concepts, arming yourself with more information to plan your financial future.
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2.1 Some basics of debt and interest
Debt has now become a part of everyday life, with personal debt in the UK topping £1.1 trillion in 2005. In this unit, you will explore the different types of debt and loans and some of the associated concepts, arming yourself with more information to plan your financial future.
Author(s): The Open University

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