Materials & Innovations

NSF funds Lehigh/Penn State outreach to Tuskegee University

By / December 26, 2008

To encourage more African-Americans to adopt science and engineering careers, the NSF-funded International Materials Institute for New Functionality in Glass at Lehigh University is commencing an outreach program at Tuskegee University in Alabama, where the student body is predominantly black. Disparity calls for action “African-Americans make up 13 percent of America’s population but hold just…

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Video of the week – What element do you want for Xmas?

By / December 25, 2008

This is from a series of really excellent videos about each of the elements in the periodic table. The series is being led by Brady Haran from the University of Nottingham. No – Brady isn’t the one with the wild hair. The one with the hair is Martyn Poliakoff, a chemistry professor at the university.…

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Mega gleam from nano polish?

By / December 22, 2008

Sometime in the near future, a visit to the dentist for teeth cleaning may involve putting such a fine polish on your choppers that harmful bacteria slide off before they can do harm. A recent study in the Journal of Dental Research shows that ultrafine polishing with silica nanoparticles may lead to a big leap…

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Energy harvesting radio-based detection system unveiled

By / December 19, 2008

Kansas State University and Peregrine Semiconductors are demonstrating a battery-free technology that could improve embedded multi-sensor systems such as those that might be used to detect deterioration in busy bridge. “This type of radio technology may exist in your house, for instance if you have a temperature sensor outside that radios data to a display…

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Video of the week – Prince Rupert’s Drops

By / December 18, 2008

Again, we  present another beloved classroom demonstration in materials science. This one is a non-intuitive display of surface tension, residual stress, interior tension, potential energy and tempered glass. To create a Prince Rupert drop, molten glass is dropped into cold water. The glass rapidly forms into teardrop shape with a extended, fine tail. The material…

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More BAM stuff!

By / December 17, 2008

Readers have expressed significant interest in our Dec. 5 post on the world’s third hardest material – BAM. Currently being tested at DOE’s Ames Laboratory as a nanocoating for machinery, BAM is thought to reduce machine friction and wear and, thus, make machinery operate more smoothly and energy efficiently. Because inquiring minds wanted to know more about…

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Taking toilets where they’ve never been before

By / December 17, 2008

Duravit – a sanitaryware manufacturer with attitude – is on a mission. The company is determined to make toilets more visible and to change people’s attitudes about them so the humble “W.C.” gets more respect. This is the reason Duravit told famed French designer Philippe Stark to use a giant ceramic toilet as the centerpiece for its new design…

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Coming soon: self-powered cellphones, PDAs and more

By / December 15, 2008

Cellphones charged by voice sound waves. Drug delivery systems enabled by minute body movements. Military equipment powered by the motion of soldiers walking? Self-powered devices like these are now one step closer to reality thanks to a Texas A&M professor’s discovery that when certain piezoelectric materials are produced at the nanoscale – specifically at about…

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Video of the week – Solid oxide fuel cells

By / December 10, 2008

The scientist featured in this video is M. Saiful Islam from the Department of Chemistry, University of Bath (U.K.), who provides a overview on the operations of a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) and describes how his computer-based modeling techniques differ from lab-oriented approaches. Islam ‘s Materials Chemistry Group website has more information on clean…

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‘Hospital on a chip’ promises fewer battlefield deaths

By / December 9, 2008

Fewer soldiers will die on the battlefield if two U.S. researchers succeed in developing a project called “field hospital on a chip.” The project entails creation of a minimally-invasive sensor troops will wear into battle. Able to monitor, detect, diagnose and administer medication, the sensor will deliver life-saving treatment to soldiers long before medics can ever reach them, the researchers claim. “Since the majority of…

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