The Good News
Pg 4 - The Sunshine Express
Researchers from North Carolina State Univer-
sity have discovered a new phase of solid car-
bon, called Q-carbon, which is distinct from the
known phases of graphite and diamond. They
have also developed a technique for using Q-
carbon to make diamond-related structures at
room temperature and at ambient atmospheric
pressure in air.
Phases are distinct forms of the same material.
Graphite is one of the solid phases of carbon;
diamond is another.
※We＊ve now created a third solid phase of car-
bon,§ says Jay Narayan, the John C. Fan Dis-
tinguished Chair Professor of Materials Science
and Engineering at NC State and lead author
of three papers describing the work. ※The only
place it may be found in the natural world
would be possibly in the core of some planets.§
Q-carbon has some unusual characteristics.
For one thing, it is ferromagnetic 每 which other
solid forms of carbon are not.
※We didn＊t even think that was possible,§ Na-
In addition, Q-carbon is harder than diamond,
and glows when exposed to even low levels of
※Q-carbon＊s strength and low work-function 每
its willingness to release electrons 每 make it
very promising for developing new electronic
display technologies,§ Narayan says.
But Q-carbon can also be used to create a
variety of single-crystal diamond objects. To
understand that, you have to understand the
process for creating Q-carbon.
Researchers start with a substrate, such as
such as sapphire, glass or a plastic polymer.
The substrate is then coated with amorphous
carbon 每 elemental carbon that, unlike graph-
ite or diamond, does not have a regular, well-
defined crystalline structure. The carbon is then
hit with a single laser pulse lasting approxi-
mately 200 nanoseconds. During this pulse, the
temperature of the carbon is raised to 4,000
Kelvin (or around 3,727 degrees Celsius) and
then rapidly cooled. This operation takes place
at one atmosphere 每 the same pressure as the
The end result is a film of Q-carbon, and re-
searchers can control the process to make films
between 20 nanometers and 500 nanometers
By using different substrates and changing the
duration of the laser pulse, the researchers can
also control how quickly the carbon cools. By
changing the rate of cooling, they are able to
create diamond structures within the Q-carbon.
※We can create diamond nanoneedles or mi-
croneedles, nanodots, or large-area diamond
films, with applications for drug delivery, indus-
trial processes and for creating high-tempera-
ture switches and power electronics,§ Narayan
says. ※These diamond objects have a single-
crystalline structure, making them stronger
than polycrystalline materials. And it is all done
at room temperature and at ambient atmo-
sphere 每 we＊re basically using a laser like the
ones used for laser eye surgery. So, not only
does this allow us to develop new applications,
but the process itself is relatively inexpensive.§
And, if researchers want to convert more of the
Q-carbon to diamond, they can simply repeat
the laser-pulse/cooling process.
If Q-carbon is harder than diamond, why would
someone want to make diamond nanodots in-
stead of Q-carbon ones? Because we still have
a lot to learn about this new material.
Hire a Chimney Sweep or Do It Myself
After seeing so many do-it-yourself projects on
the DIY network, many homeowners believe that
sweeping a chimney is easy, and attempt to do
the work themselves to save money. That way of
thinking usually ends in disaster.
This is one of those annual maintenance items
that is best left to the professional.
Professionally trained chimney sweeps learn what
type of equipment to use for the job, the best
methods of sweeping, and how to remove differ-
ent types of creosote.
Chimney sweeps use tarps to protect the floor
and carpet from tracking in dirt from outside, or
from soot while working. The sweep will use a
high-powered vacuum to control soot and dust,
and close the damper or put up a protective bar-
rier on the fireplace opening. He/she will then use
a special brush wound up on a wheel to sweep
from the inside, or if necessary, power brushes on
Some sweeps clean the chimney from the top of
the flue using flat or round-wire brushes sized for
the particular flue they are working on. Some-
thing as simple as an incorrectly sized brush will
limit the amount of flammable creosote that can
be removed from the flue.
For wood-burning stoves the risk of creating a
mess is much greater since the connecting pipe
must be disconnected and removed to the out-
doors to clean out. Then the task of sweeping
the metal chimney is completed, again, using the
correct type of brush in order not to damage or
disconnect the metal chimney pipe sections. Dif-
ferent types of brushes are used in metal flues
than in clay tile flues. This applies to manufac-
tured fireplaces, which use metal flues as well.
In the case of a wood-burning stove used for
primary heating purposes, especially in rural
areas, a chimney sweep may sell a brush and rod
set to a handy homeowner to use throughout the
season, then return once a year to do a profes-
sional sweeping job and inspection. This allows
the homeowner to keep the chimney free of creo-
sote which can inhibit draft and performance of
the stove, while lowering the risk of chimney fires
until the chimney sweep can return.
The most important part of the job, however, is
the inspection of the chimney.
Only a trained eye and the proper camera equip-
ment can determine whether there are problems
with the chimney that are potential hazards. A
professional chimney sweep will look for cracks,
breaks, blown out tile sections, missing mortar
joints, clogs, flammable nests, clearances to
combustibles, construction errors, or other issues
that could be potential fire and carbon monoxide
hazards. For instance, the untrained eye may
mistake a crack in a flue tile for a water mark.
A Level II inspection of the chimney using an in-
ternal chimney inspection camera is the preferred
method for interior flue inspections by most
professional sweeps. Utilizing this type of camera
allows the chimney sweep and homeowner to
see any problem areas on a monitor during the
inspection process. If problems are found, photos
can be taken to use in a report to provide to the
homeowner or insurance company.
In order to find a qualified chimney sweep home-
owners may want to check the chimney sweep＊s
website, check with the Better Business Bureau,
Angie＊s List or Yelp, or ask friends and neighbors
Other resources include www.chimneys.com, the
Midwest Chimney Safety Council (http://www.
mcsc-net.org/) and the Chimney Safety Institute
of America. The CSIA also offers certification for
(source: Article written by Marge Padgitt for www.
※What I don＊t like about office
Christmas parties is looking
for a job the next day.§
- Phyllis Diller
※This holiday season, in lieu
of gifts, I＊ve decided to give
everyone my opinion§
A New Discovery: Q-carbon
※We can make Q-carbon films, and we＊re learn-
ing its properties, but we are still in the early
stages of understanding how to manipulate it,§
Narayan says. ※We know a lot about diamond, so
we can make diamond nanodots. We don＊t yet
know how to make Q-carbon nanodots or mi-
croneedles. That＊s something we＊re working on.§
NC State has filed two provisional patents on the
Q-carbon and diamond creation techniques.
The work is described in two papers, both of
which were co-authored by NC State Ph.D. stu-
dent Anagh Bhaumik. ※Novel Phase of Carbon,
Ferromagnetism and Conversion into Diamond§
was published online Dec. 2 in the Journal of Ap-
plied Physics. ※Direct conversion of amorphous
carbon into diamond at ambient pressures and
temperatures in air§ was published Oct. 7 in the
journal APL Materials. The work was supported in
part by the National Science Foundation, under
grant number DMR-1304607.
＆The Cup＊ Returns In December
It＊s December and that means it＊s time once
again for the Telluride Cup, Colorado＊s own an-
nual cannabis competition and educational sym-
posium at the top of the rockies.
Now in it＊s 3rd year, ＆The Cup＊, as the locals have
come to call it, continues to mature and grow
with a continued focus on educational efforts,
seen by organizers as the cornerstone for the
long term success and acceptance of The Cup as
the premiere cannabis competition in the rocky
※This is not a party,§ says head organizer Hu-
bert Plumber, owner of The Cup and the driving
creative force bringing it to life, ※this is serious
Indeed, there are so many health and other
benefits coming to light every day due to the
explosion in pent-up research that has occurred
thanks to Colorado＊s cannabis legalization ef-
forts, it would be hard to argue otherwise.
※Education and free knowledge about cannabis
is critical at this point in time for the momentum
we＊ve achieved in freeing this God given plant
to continue,§ says Plumber, ※This is not the time
nor place for a cheech and chong moment. We
are serious about this and invite all the locals to
participate, volunteer and help, and by doing so,
become an important player in writing the new
history of cannabis with a solid knowledge based
He continues, ※A large focus this year is on new
strand development. I personally have been de-
veloping high yield, low growing strains that can
be grown easily and fairly discreetly in anyone＊s
back yard. ＆Trap Girl＊ is one of my strains that is
currently available in select dispensaries locally.
To be plain, I＊m not doing any of this, The Cup,
breeding new strands, etc. to get rich, no, what
I＊m trying to do is grow a legacy.§
Another focus of this year＊s Telluride Cup will be
on ＆Cannabis and the music industry＊ and Rapper
＆Hardcore＊ from Houston Texas will be making an
Also attending will be a cannabis testing com-
pany that will be sharing their latest experiences
and findings. Says Plumber, ※All cannabis entered
in The Cup this year will be tested.§
There will be a distinct international flair as well
with ※special guests§ coming from Europe. You
will have to come to The Cup to see who!
For information about events, schedule, enter-
ing The Cup, becoming a sponsor or volunteering
(by KingDaddy 2015)
Maintaining Chimneys Safely