April Gocha

Engineered to perfection: The science of chocolate and designing a better chocolate chip

By April Gocha / September 4, 2020

Although chocolate is a simple pleasure for many people around the world, the science behind chocolate as a food and as a material is deliciously complex. Now an industrial designer has re-engineered the chocolate chip to maximize taste and texture, giving it optimal surface area with angular features.

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Bio-inspired ceramic–metal composite stands its ground against cutting tools

By April Gocha / September 1, 2020

A team of researchers in the U.K. and Germany developed a ceramic–metal composite that, despite being just 15% as dense as steel, is nearly uncuttable. The material harnesses the power of vibration to direct cutting tools’ destructive energy back upon themselves, wearing the tools down before they can inflict serious damage on the material.

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How effective is that mask? Depends on what materials it is made of

By April Gocha / July 21, 2020

There is no shortage of options available when shopping for nonmedical face masks, yet most provide little information about their filter efficiency and breathability—important considerations for a mask that is both efficient and comfortable. But a recent study offers more complete data on the performance of an array of common materials.

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Sand—a critical material resource with a complicated story and no simple solution

By April Gocha / July 7, 2020

Humans’ voracious sand consumption for infrastructure activities threatens global supply of this critical natural resource. But do we even know how much sand we are consuming worldwide? New research shows that we’ve been calculating the basic unit all wrong.

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Butter-like ceramic interlayer may solve interface instability of solid-state batteries

By April Gocha / June 19, 2020

Scientists at Chalmers University of Technology and Xi’an Jiaotong University developed a new ceramic interlayer—a butter-like mixture of glass-ceramic nanoparticles within an ionic liquid—that provides adequately high ionic conductivity, high thermal stability, and low interfacial resistance to potentially make solid-state batteries a commercial reality.

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Graphene may be the key material to smooth out carbon fiber’s high price

By April Gocha / June 12, 2020

A team of researchers found adding a small amount of graphene can improve the structural alignment of spun carbon fibers, reinforcing their strength—and providing the potential to produce much more inexpensive carbon fiber materials.

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Author Q&A: The Alchemy of Us explores our transformative relationship with materials

By April Gocha / April 24, 2020

A new book out this month, The Alchemy of Us by Ainissa Ramirez, tells the story of materials science through a perhaps unexpected lens—by sharing not only the stories of materials discoveries but also how those discoveries shaped us, society, and history.

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Roadmap to commercialize all-solid-state batteries

By April Gocha / April 14, 2020

In a recent review article, nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego outline a research roadmap detailing four remaining challenges to address before all-solid-state batteries can reach their commercial potential.

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Scientists, engineers, manufacturers, and more—what can you do to help respond to the coronavirus pandemic?

By April Gocha / April 7, 2020

Now, more than ever, it is critical for scientists, engineers, manufacturers, and other experts to contribute their knowledge, skills, and time to help advance our understanding of the coronavirus as well as devise strategies to mitigate the pandemic’s effects. Not sure where to start? We’ve got a list of ideas.

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Could unraveling of the recycling cycle create new opportunities for glass?

By April Gocha / March 31, 2020

Recycling is currently a materials dead end—but what does that mean for other container materials? Glass could capitalize on the void left by discarded single-use plastics.

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