Basic science

Fluorescing boron nitride nanotubes provide look at material’s motion in solution

By Lisa McDonald / June 5, 2020

Understanding how nanotubes move in solution is useful for both processing the material and for application in fluid environments, such as the body. Researchers at Rice University investigated how boron nitride nanotubes move in solution and found they behave like rigid rods, just like carbon nanotubes.

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Not just the edges—defects impart electrocatalytic properties to entire graphene surface

By Lisa McDonald / May 29, 2020

Defects in a material’s structure offer scientists a way to alter certain material properties. In a new study, three researchers in Russia investigate how different defects in graphene alter the material’s electron transfer kinetics.

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Exploring the mechanical behavior of MOF glasses

By Lisa McDonald / May 26, 2020

Metal-organic frameworks have immense potential in various applications but are difficult to synthesize in bulk. Fabricating MOFs in the glassy phase provides the necessary stability for bulk synthesis, and two new studies investigate the mechanical properties of these unique glasses.

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Bioactive glasses meet dendritic cells—exploring effects of bioactive glass ionic dissolution on the immune system

By Lisa McDonald / May 22, 2020

Bioactive glasses are considered biocompatible—but there still is much unknown about how these glasses interact with the immune system. In a recent open-access study, researchers in Germany explored how ions released during bioactive glass dissolution affect dendritic cells, a specialized immune cell that plays a crucial role in initiating primary immune responses.

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Deep learning provides deep help—researchers develop publicly available software for rational design of oxide glasses

By Lisa McDonald / May 5, 2020

Designing new oxide glass compositions can be an arduous process when relying on the “cook and look” approach. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi developed composition-property deep learning models for eight key oxide glass properties, and they made the software available publicly online.

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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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3D-printed rocks improve understanding of fracture formation

By Lisa McDonald / April 21, 2020

The unpredictable nature of fracture formation in rocks makes it difficult to ensure reproducible measurements across different samples. Researchers at Purdue University 3D-printed gypsum rocks to overcome this problem and clearly investigate the effect of mineral fabric and layering on fracture formation.

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Catching a break—how sol-gel coatings strengthen display glass

By Jonathon Foreman / March 17, 2020

Sol-gel is a relatively inexpensive and easily controlled coating method to potentially strengthen glass. In a recent ACerS journal article, researchers look at the three key factors affecting the ability of sol-gel coatings to strengthen glass: elastic modulus, residual stress, and filling ratio.

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An electrifying matter—two studies announce new electronic states of matter

By Lisa McDonald / March 6, 2020

Classic physics teaches there are four states of matter, but better understanding of matter’s more exotic properties has led to identification of additional states. New studies suggest the possibility of two new electronic states of matter.

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Understanding roughness on a small scale: The origin of self-affinity

By Lisa McDonald / February 28, 2020

Roughness plays a big role in determining friction and adhesion between materials, which greatly affects processes in both scientific and industrial fields. So understanding roughness can help control these factors. Researchers led by the University of Freiburg investigate the origins behind a particular characteristic of roughness—self-affinity.

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