Basic science

Will it spall? Phase diagrams, thermal expansion, and barrier coating degradation

By Jonathon Foreman / August 11, 2020

Thermal and environmental barrier coatings are often used to protect turbine blades made from ceramic matrix composites—but these coatings are prone to damage caused by environmental silicate contamination. In three papers published in JACerS, researchers provide extensive insights into the many aspects of damage.

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Storing charge in sodium-ion batteries: Study supports “three-stage” model for hard carbon anodes

By Lisa McDonald / July 28, 2020

In developing sodium-ion batteries, hard carbon is the material most often used for the anode, but unknowns concerning the charge storage mechanism in this material hinder further development. Researchers have proposed several models to explain the charge storage mechanism, and a recent study lends support for the three-stage “adsorption-intercalation-adsorption” process.

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Faster is not always easier—grain boundary diffusion of cations in fluorite and perovskite oxides

By Lisa McDonald / July 10, 2020

Fast grain boundary diffusion of cations is a well understood phenomenon in metals—but much less is known about this phenomenon in oxygen-ion conducting metal oxides. Researchers at RWTH Aachen University simulated this diffusion and found that although metal ions move faster along the boundaries than in bulk, the process is not necessarily less energy intensive.

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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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