Characterization

Toward next-gen environmental barrier coatings—effect of thermal ageing on microstructure and elastic properties of ytterbium silicates

By Lisa McDonald / May 10, 2022

Ytterbium-based silicates are a current generation of environmental barrier coating materials that demonstrate much promise for protecting ceramic matrix composite components in jet engines. Researchers from the University of Manchester examined the effect of thermal ageing on microstructural characteristics and elastic properties of these silicates.

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Electrical conductivity measurements offer nondestructive evaluation of alkali-silica reactions in concrete

By Lisa McDonald / May 3, 2022

Current industry practice for detecting and monitoring alkali-silica reactions in concrete requires destructive extraction and analysis of concrete cores. Argonne National Laboratory researchers explored the potential of using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy for nondestructive evaluation of this reaction instead.

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One phase to rule them all—researchers use Monte Carlo simulations to determine most stable structure of boron nitride

By Lisa McDonald / April 29, 2022

Though hexagonal boron nitride is generally regarded as the most stable boron nitride structure, the relative phase stabilities of boron nitride polymorphs are still under debate. Researchers led by the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology used Monte Carlo simulations to calculate the relative phase stabilities of these polymorphs.

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Accelerating development of paper-like electronic screens—researchers explore friction behaviors of stylus tips on textured glass surfaces

By Lisa McDonald / April 26, 2022

An electronic screen that mimics a paper-like surface is a desirable feature for many consumers. Texturing the screen is one way manufacturers attempt to achieve this experience, and researchers in Japan compared the friction behaviors of three commercial stylus tips on flat and textured glass surfaces.

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Toward the design of tunable ceramics: A review on vacancy ordering in substoichiometric zirconium carbide

By Lisa McDonald / March 25, 2022

Much research has established how the number of carbon vacancies in zirconium carbide significantly affects the thermodynamic and thermophysical properties. However, little is known about the effects caused by vacancy arrangement. A new open-access review paper summarizes the existing experimental and theoretical studies on these effects.

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A discreet call to move beyond discrete types—researchers advocate for viewing energy storage mechanisms as a continuous spectrum

By Lisa McDonald / March 22, 2022

For decades researchers have categorized energy storage devices based on whether they behave like a battery or a supercapacitor. An international research team argues that energy storage mechanisms should be viewed as existing on a spectrum instead and that the current binary classification system could hamper development of new technologies.

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Revealing the surface structural cause of scratch formation on soda-lime-silica glass

By Lisa McDonald / February 25, 2022

Scratch formation on glass surfaces is a ubiquitous phenomenon, yet little information is available on the role of glass surface structure in triggering scratch formation. In a new open-access study, University of Bayreuth researchers “scratch the surface” on understanding the surface structural elements of soda–lime–silica glass that contribute to scratch formation.

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Unexpected starfish skeleton structure may help develop strong, lightweight ceramics

By Lisa McDonald / February 18, 2022

Marine creatures are a great source of inspiration for materials scientists looking to develop stronger and better structures. Researchers led by Virginia Tech found that the skeleton of the Protoreaster nodosus starfish offers valuable insights into designing porous calcium carbonate.

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Characterizing oxide catalysts: Methanol chemisorption quantifies active sites

By Lisa McDonald / January 25, 2022

The ability to count the number of active sites on oxide catalysts and thereby determine the reaction turnover frequency has developed very slowly in comparison to metal catalysts. In a recent paper, Lehigh University professor Israel E. Wachs argues for further developing the methodology of methanol chemisorption to address this situation.

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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.

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