Basic science

Challenging the standard—researchers propose new model for determining piezoelectricity in ferroelectric crystals

By Lisa McDonald / December 14, 2021

When designing ferroelectric materials, researchers have long been guided by the belief that smaller domain sizes lead to greater piezoelectric properties. A recent study by Penn State and Xi’an Jiaotong University researchers raises questions about this standard rule.

Read More

Cryomilling demonstrates potential to functionalize hexagonal boron nitride

By Lisa McDonald / December 7, 2021

Functionalizing hexagonal boron nitride is difficult due to bonding within the material’s structure. A group led by researchers at The Pennsylvania State University demonstrated the potential of cryomilling to functionalize hexagonal boron nitride through defect engineering.

Read More

Exploding samples reveal new insights into shape memory ceramics

By Lisa McDonald / December 3, 2021

Researchers have achieved some success in developing shape memory ceramics by applying the same general strategies used for shape memory alloys. A recent study that stumbled upon a seemingly paradoxical result, however, reveals new insights into reversible transformations in ceramics.

Read More

Materials for cleansing and beauty: A review on the use of calcium phosphates in cosmetics

By Lisa McDonald / November 30, 2021

There are many applications for calcium phosphate in the medical field. Recently, the cosmetics industry has taken an interest in this mineral family as well, and a new open-access paper reviews what the industry has used calcium phosphate for so far.

Read More

Crack—heal thyself! A new understanding of damage tolerance mechanisms in a MAX phase

By Eileen De Guire / November 19, 2021

Despite having weakly bonded layers, MAX phases demonstrate a surprisingly high damage tolerance. Researchers at Texas A&M and Universite Grenoble Alpes in France showed how cracks in a MAX single crystal can close and heal, thus contributing to the high damage tolerance.

Read More

Excess aluminum extends Hall-Petch relation in nanocrystalline ceramics

By Lisa McDonald / November 5, 2021

The Hall-Petch relation describes how a ceramic becomes harder as its grains become smaller. But when the grains become small enough, the relation begins to break down. Luis Sotelo Martin and Ricardo Castro of the University of California, Davis, showed that adding extra aluminum to zinc aluminate can extend the Hall-Petch relation.

Read More

Melting the unmeltable—new method extends the range of meltable MOF materials

By Lisa McDonald / October 12, 2021

Fabricating metal-organic frameworks in a glassy phase is a successful way to synthesize these materials for bulk production. However, some MOFs decompose before reaching the melting temperature and so cannot be turned into a glass. Researchers in Germany and the U.K. found a way to melt these unmeltable MOFs by adding ionic liquid to the compound.

Read More

Video: Turning brittle materials flexible by reducing thickness

By Lisa McDonald / September 22, 2021

Glass and ice are two materials known for being brittle. However, when glass is produced very thin—on the scale of micrometers—it can bend quite a bit without failure. Now researchers in China showed this same principle applies to ice as well.

Read More

Reducing the need for trial and error—systematic selection of inorganic binders for refractories

By Lisa McDonald / September 17, 2021

The binder used in refractory production requires careful consideration because it can influence the refractory’s final mechanical and chemical properties. Researchers in Germany advanced a selective and systematic method for choosing an inorganic binder.

Read More

Neural network speeds up identification of piezoelectric properties

By Lisa McDonald / August 17, 2021

Modeling is a good way to evaluate the performance of new piezoelectric materials without conducting costly experiments. Two researchers from University of the Republic in Uruguay explored using a neural network to speed up the modeling process.

Read More