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mcherm : materialsscience   72

LEGO Block Structures as a Sub-Kelvin Thermal Insulator | Scientific Reports
This paper in Nature discovers that off-the-shelf LEGO blocks are actually BETTER thermal insulators (at microkelvin temperatures) than the fancy materials available commercially.
science  materialsscience  via:reddit 
8 weeks ago by mcherm
The mysterious crystal that melts at two different temperatures
One double-bond can face 2 ways. Solid is all Z orientation; liquid is 2/3 Z, 1/3 W. Two possible melting processes: @ 90°C all melts then afterward some Z's rotate or @60°C incredibly tiny impurities catalyse Z->W and it melts directly to a mix of Z&W.
chemistry  physics  science  via:HackerNews  materialsscience 
june 2019 by mcherm
How Twisted Graphene Became the Big Thing in Physics | Quanta Magazine
Put two sheets of graphene together twisted by a very precise angle to form a morie pattern, and you get unusual behavior. Like superconductivity.
science  physics  materialsscience  via:HackerNews  ScientificMethod 
may 2019 by mcherm
paint is colored glue | daily eclectic excerpts by editor Richard Vague
Nice explanation of how oil paint uses polymerization to form a layer (or multiple overlapping layers) of hard plastic.
materialsscience  via:HackerNews  color 
april 2019 by mcherm
MIT Figured out a Way to Shrink Objects to Nanoscale
It's the inverse of expansion microscopy -- place things in a hydrated diaper-like matrix then dehydrate to shrink it to a tiny scale.
materialsscience  nanotech  via:reddit  science 
december 2018 by mcherm
See-through film rejects 70 percent of incoming solar heat | MIT News
They made (lab, not industrial yet) a material that is transparent at low temperature, but opaque to infrared / translucent to visual light when warm. Ideal to coat windows to save on cooling costs.
science  via:reddit  materialsscience 
december 2018 by mcherm
iPhones are Allergic to Helium | iFixit
The clock is built from MEMS resisters on silicon not from a quartz oscillator, and helium or hydrogen can get in and mess it up.
phone  physics  materialsscience  via:HackerNews 
december 2018 by mcherm
China produces nano fibre that can lift 160 elephants – and a space elevator? - NZ Herald
There is very little reliable information in this high-level newspaper article. Color me skeptical. But if they HAVE made a meaningful breakthrough in the production of flawless carbon nanotubes, that would be awesome!
materialsscience  via:slashdot 
october 2018 by mcherm
How I Became a Knife Steel Metallurgist – Knife Steel Nerds
His path from the son of a knifemaker to becoming a metallurgist who runs a website on knife metallurgy.
materialsscience  via:HackerNews 
october 2018 by mcherm
Most wear-resistant metal alloy in the world engineered at Sandia National Laboratories
New platinum-gold alloy designed (from molecular simulations) and created in the lab which is vastly more resistant to wear.
via:reddit  materialsscience 
august 2018 by mcherm
De Beers admits defeat over man-made diamonds | Hacker News
Nice rant (in comments) about artificial gemstones and "real" ones.
via:HackerNews  materialsscience  materials 
may 2018 by mcherm
Mas Subramanian's Quest for a Billion-Dollar Red
He invented a new blue, and he's trying to invent a new red. Apparently that's a big deal.
color  science  materialsscience  invention  chemistry  via:HackerNews 
april 2018 by mcherm
What’s the Deal with Transparent Aluminum? | Hackaday
A transparent ceramic made with Aluminum is very strong and scratch resistant.
materialsscience  via:HackerNews 
april 2018 by mcherm
What scientists found trapped in a diamond: a type of ice not known on Earth
They found a diamond with a particular phase of ice in a bubble inside -- a form that only occurs under very high pressure and somewhat lower temperatures.
materialsscience  physics  via:HackerNews  science 
march 2018 by mcherm
With Fungi in the Mix, Concrete Can Fill Its Own Cracks | Innovation | Smithsonian
BRILLIANT idea -- add spores of a fungus to concrete. When tiny cracks form, it will allow air and moisture into the interior and the spores can germinate. They will block the passage (mostly by precipitating calcium carbonate crystals) thus sealing the crack. The fungus is not harmful to humans.
invention  materialsscience  materials  via:HackerNews  smithsonian  science 
january 2018 by mcherm
Researchers find new phase of carbon, make diamond at room temperature
Q-carbon can be made at room temperature using a laser and it has a slew of odd properties. It is harder than diamond and can be made to glow.
materialsscience  science  physics  via:reddit 
december 2015 by mcherm
Scientists Invent a New, Lighter Steel That's as Strong as Titanium
A steel-aluminum alloy that has been desired for decades, made practical now by inventing a way to cause the Fe-Al crystalline structures (strong but brittle) to be seeded so they are smaller and the overall material is more ductile.
via:reddit  science  materialsscience 
october 2015 by mcherm
Why does a piece of a sparkplug work so well at breaking car glass? : askscience
Tempered glass: the outside is under compression which makes it hard for cracks to start, but causes catastrophic failures.
materialsscience  via:reddit 
february 2015 by mcherm
Physicists achieve superconductivity at room temperature - ScienceAlert
A high temperature superconductor made into room temperature superconductor for a few milliseconds when irradiated.
physics  science  materialsscience  via:reddit 
february 2015 by mcherm
Scientists Have Finally Sampled the Most Abundant Material on Earth | Motherboard
Various materials that make up the inside of the earth are the most common stuff on the planet, yet we've never seen them. Here they found a fragment of what they believe to be the most common in a meteorite which had been exposed to huge temperatures and pressures while crashing to earth.
materialsscience  science  physics 
december 2014 by mcherm
First Experimental Demonstration of a Trapped Rainbow Using Silicon — The Physics arXiv Blog — Medium
A nice trick to "freeze" light in place using simple things like a carefully-spaced grating of silicon.
physics  light  materialsscience  via:slashdot 
november 2014 by mcherm
Impossible Cookware and Other Triumphs of the Penrose Tile - Issue 13: Symmetry - Nautilus
The Penrose non-periodic tiles related to to the discovery of quasicrystals which have interesting (and useful) physical properties.
math  materialsscience  via:HackerNews 
september 2014 by mcherm
'Impossible' Sodium Chlorides Challenge Foundation of Chemistry | Chemistry | Sci-News.com
Under high pressure, NaCl can form stable substances with ratios other than 1:1. Some are metals (so extra electrons are distributed); one has alternating layers of NaCl and pure Na (so it's a 2D conductor).
science  physics  materialsscience  chemistry 
december 2013 by mcherm
Why Hot Water Freezes Faster Than Cold—Physicists Solve the Mpemba Effect — Editor's Picks — Medium
A theory that might explain the Mpemba effect, where hot water can sometimes freeze sooner than cold water when cooled in the same fashion. The theory is that bond length in water molecules changes due to hydrogen bonding. I can't evaluate how good the research is.
science  via:reddit  materialsscience 
october 2013 by mcherm
This 1,600-Year-Old Goblet Shows that the Romans Were Nanotechnology Pioneers | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine
Ancient Roman decorative cup changes color depending on illumination. It works because of nanoparticles of gold and silver that were clearly added intentionally.
materialsscience  via:HackerNews 
august 2013 by mcherm
New Form of Carbon is Stronger Than Graphene and Diamond | MIT Technology Review
Another form of Carbon. Chains of double-bonded atoms. May be even weirder (is that possible?) but also only partly stable at room temperature.
personal_net  materialsscience  chemistry  via:HackerNews 
august 2013 by mcherm
We don't know why lithium batteries work
People think science begins with grand questions about the distant past or future. But, for example, we don't even understand how Lithium Ion batteries work, and they power all our latest gadgets!
science  materialsscience  via:HackerNews  philosophy  blogworthy 
january 2013 by mcherm
A material that most liquids won't wet
A strongly hydrophobic (actually any-liquid-phobic) surface.
via:slashdot  materialsscience  personal_net 
january 2013 by mcherm
MIT discovers a new state of matter, a new kind of magnetism
MIT spent months to build an exotic material with a theorized but never-before-seen magnetic property.
physics  materialsscience  via:reddit 
december 2012 by mcherm
Auxetic materials: Hook's law | The Economist
Materials that get WIDER when you stretch them, and lots of interesting uses for them,.
science  materialsscience  invention  via:HackerNews 
october 2012 by mcherm
It Takes 275 Water Molecules to Make Ice: Scientific American Podcast
Wow... they can look at the NUMBER of atoms in the seed for a phase change, and it takes 275 water molecules to begin absorbing on ice frequencies, 475 and it's completely formed.
science  materialsscience  ScientificAmerican  via:HackerNews 
september 2012 by mcherm
Superhydrophobic Coating Allows Boiling Water without the Creation of Bubbles | SciTech Daily
If the surface is sufficiently hydrophobic it works like the Leidenfrost effect and insulates with a thin film and no bubbles. Reduces friction too.
materialsscience  science  via:reddit 
september 2012 by mcherm
Room Temperature Superconductivity Found in Graphite Grains - Technology Review
It isn't USEFUL, but it's a tiny sign of a tiny (surface-of-the-grains effect only) room temperature superconductivity effect from REALLY cheap materials: wet graphite.
science  materialsscience  via:reddit 
september 2012 by mcherm
Silly Putty for Potholes - ScienceNOW
Use bags of silly putty to temporarily fill potholes. It's easy and reusable.
via:reddit  materialsscience  materials  science  invention 
april 2012 by mcherm
New Alloy Turns Waste Heat Into Electricity for Free | ExtremeTech
It claims to be a special alloy that can extract electricity from temperature gradients, without needing to do anything in particular. I'm skeptical -- show me the technical details.
physics  science  materialsscience 
june 2011 by mcherm
Static electricity: how does it work?
Static electricity doesn't work how everyone always thought it worked. See article for details.
science  physics  materialsscience  ArsTechnica  via:ArsTechnica 
june 2011 by mcherm
Video: They Sure Don't Make Pyrex Like They Used To | Popular Science
Pyrex is no longer made from borosilicate glass (which doesn't expand with heat). This affected crack cocaine producers.
via:BruceSchneier  materialsscience 
may 2011 by mcherm
YouTube - iRobot's Soft Morphing Blob 'Bot Takes Its First Steps
Build a piece able to switch from "hard" (rigid) to "soft" (malleable) on demand. Build a skin from this. You now have a deformable robot that can move somewhat like an amoeba. Working model demonstrated.
robots  physics  materialsscience  youtube  via:reddit  science 
november 2009 by mcherm
Memristor minds: The future of artificial intelligence - tech - 08 July 2009 - New Scientist
Resister, inductor, capacitor... those are the basic tools of electronics. But theory said there was a 4th thing: the "memristor". Well, scientists have discovered how to build this 4th thing, and it has become a hot research area for scientists. They are starting to think that it's a key to how synapses work.
physics  materialsscience  hardware  science  engineering  brain  via:slashdot  electronics 
july 2009 by mcherm
Waterproof Lithium-Air Batteries: Technology Review
Cool new technology at the prototype stage: very light, high energy-density Lithium-air batteries.
via:slashdot  materialsscience  batteries 
june 2009 by mcherm
Salt block unexpectedly stretches in new experiments
Salt is mailable on a microscopic scale -- perhaps due to surface effects.
science  materialsscience  via:reddit  personal_net 
june 2009 by mcherm
Simple elixir called a 'miracle liquid' - Los Angeles Times
Split salt in water (with a small electric field) and you get a detergent and a mild acid... both useful for cleaning and disinfecting but non-toxic.
science  materialsscience  via:boingboing 
february 2009 by mcherm
Sticky tape generates X-rays : Nature News
If you pull on a roll of scotch tape, you get x-rays. Enough to take an x-ray photo of bones! (Has to be done in a vacuum.)
science  physics  materialsscience  via:boingboing 
october 2008 by mcherm
The Humboldt squid beak: Diamond-sharp mystery of the briny deep: collision detection
This squid's beak is one of the hardest organic substances. But the hardness varies along the length, otherwise the squid couldn't hold its own (super hard) beak! Great materials science project!
animals  science  squid  materialsscience  engineering  biology  via:BruceSchneier 
september 2008 by mcherm

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