Materials & Innovations

Mantis shrimp inspire tough composites and sophisticated optical sensors

By April Gocha / April 2, 2021

Artists and scientists alike find inspiration in nature. But two recent scientific studies found inspiration in the same creature: the mantis shrimp. The creature’s incredibly tough materials and complex eyes inspired innovations that could lead to fracture-resistant biocomposites and highly advanced optical sensors.

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Video: Bladeless generators—a possible future for wind energy

By Lisa McDonald / March 24, 2021

Since 2014, Spanish technology startup Vortex Bladeless SL has aimed to develop a bladeless wind generator as an alternative to conventional wind turbines. Learn more about the technology and find out when we may see it commercialized.

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Additive manufacturing drives future of ceramic industry, plus more inside April 2021 ACerS Bulletin

By Lisa McDonald / March 18, 2021

The April 2021 issue of the ACerS Bulletin—featuring articles on additive manufacturing techniques and potential—is now available online. Plus—new C&GM.

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Toward market acceptance: Understanding wear characteristics of basalt fiber reinforced polymers

By Lisa McDonald / March 12, 2021

Basalt fiber is another material besides carbon and glass being considered to reinforce polymer composites. Researchers in Malaysia and Brazil compared the wear characteristics of epoxy composites reinforced with either basalt or glass fiber to understand the differences in their tribological performance.

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Rose-tinted contact lenses offer color vision management

By Lisa McDonald / March 5, 2021

People who have color vision deficiency see colors differently from others. Tinted glasses and contact lenses offer a way to manage the condition, but to date only the former option is reliably effective. Researchers developed a new type of tinted contact lens using gold nanoparticles that shows potential for commercial scale-up.

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Video: Paper bottle prototype aims to reduce plastic waste

By Lisa McDonald / March 3, 2021

Glass and aluminum containers are among the most frequently discussed alternatives to plastic packaging—but they are not the only materials being considered. The Coca-Cola Company and Danish startup Paboco are aiming to develop a bottle that will be made entirely from paper.

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Recycling robot aims to generate separate material waste streams, right in your kitchen

By April Gocha / February 5, 2021

Challenges with recycling systems have resulted in a dead end for many materials. But a new robotic kitchen concept called Lasso has a solution—the appliance can clean, sort, process, and store recyclable materials, generating highly pure recyclable waste streams right at their point of use.

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Video: Fish-inspired robots coordinate movements without any outside control

By Lisa McDonald / February 3, 2021

Autonomous robots, which can perform tasks with little to no human intervention or interaction, are desirable in a variety of applications, including spaceflight, household maintenance, and delivering goods. Researchers at Harvard University developed fish-shaped robots called Bluebots that can autonomously self-organize in water, which may be useful for environmental monitoring.

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Laser-based process allows direct creation of 3D glass structures

By Lisa McDonald / January 26, 2021

Glass additive manufacturing is a less developed field compared to methods for printing plastic, metal, and ceramic, but the last few years saw significant advances. Three researchers in France now propose that two-photon polymerization, a technique used in fields such as micro/nanophotonics, could offer an effective way to 3D print glass directly rather than by layer-on-layer procedures.

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Stretching the possibilities: Bendable single-crystalline diamonds hold potential for next-generation electronics

By Lisa McDonald / January 15, 2021

Diamonds have many desirable properties for application in electronic devices, but their rigid crystalline structure and brittle nature make it difficult to use diamonds for such a purpose. An international team of researchers led by City University of Hong Kong revealed in 2018 that diamonds are bendable on the nanoscale, and a follow-up paper published by them this month expands on that finding.

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