Materials & Innovations

Video: Electrified wingsuit lets fliers gain altitude

By Lisa McDonald / November 11, 2020

Wingsuit flying is an exhilarating sport that gives participants an experience akin to flying, though they are unable to gain altitude during the flight. Wingsuit pilot Peter Salzmann teamed up with vehicles company BMW to develop an electrified wingsuit that gives fliers the ability to swoop upward as well.

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Reduce reliance on air conditioning: New reflective paint achieves full daytime sub-ambient radiative cooling

By Lisa McDonald / October 27, 2020

Radiative cooling paint offers a way to regulate temperature inside a building and reduce reliance on air conditioning. Researchers at Purdue University developed a new radiative cooling paint based on calcium carbonate that reaches 95.5% reflectance in the solar spectrum, substantially higher than the solar reflectance values of commercial radiative cooling paints.

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Pursuing the future of energy: A review on perovskite tandem solar cell development and fundamentals

By Lisa McDonald / October 23, 2020

Perovskite tandem solar cell technologies improved rapidly in the past six years, but there are still challenges keeping them from commercialization. A recent review article by two researchers at the University of Surrey in the U.K. provides an expansive look at this budding industry.

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Wouldn’t ewe know it—titanium-reinforced bioceramic implant induces cranial regrowth in sheep

By Lisa McDonald / October 16, 2020

In recent years, calcium phosphate ceramics are playing a bigger role in research on materials for cranioplasty grafts. Researchers from Sweden now showed the potential of a titanium-reinforced bioceramic containing several calcium phosphate phases to stimulate regeneration of bone in large cranial defects in sheep.

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Video: Stackable GaN wall chargers expand charging capabilities while saving space

By Lisa McDonald / September 30, 2020

Having enough outlet space on campus is a perennial problem for college students. A new Kickstarter campaign looks to fund creation of stackable gallium nitride wall chargers, which could expand USB charging capabilities while saving space.

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Video: Battery-free computing restores retro gaming device

By Lisa McDonald / September 16, 2020

When restoring old technology, sometimes substituting modern alternatives for original parts can improve the classic design. Researchers at Northwestern University and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands created a clone of the 8-bit Nintendo Game Boy using an energy-aware gaming platform.

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A hu‘gel’y promising method: Support bath simplifies additive manufacturing of polymer-derived ceramics

By Lisa McDonald / September 15, 2020

Polymer-derived ceramic structures are difficult to manufacture using additive manufacturing processes because of low viscosity of the polymer state. Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas successfully demonstrated the use of gel-like viscoplastic fluid to support preceramic polymers during the printing process.

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Engineered to perfection: The science of chocolate and designing a better chocolate chip

By April Gocha / September 4, 2020

Although chocolate is a simple pleasure for many people around the world, the science behind chocolate as a food and as a material is deliciously complex. Now an industrial designer has re-engineered the chocolate chip to maximize taste and texture, giving it optimal surface area with angular features.

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Video: Brew coffee sustainably using ceramic and glass filters

By Lisa McDonald / September 2, 2020

Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, yet the environmental impacts of the drink can be significant. Metal and cloth are the main alternatives to paper for creating reusable filters—could ceramic and glass materials play a role in sustainability as well?

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Bio-inspired ceramic–metal composite stands its ground against cutting tools

By April Gocha / September 1, 2020

A team of researchers in the U.K. and Germany developed a ceramic–metal composite that, despite being just 15% as dense as steel, is nearly uncuttable. The material harnesses the power of vibration to direct cutting tools’ destructive energy back upon themselves, wearing the tools down before they can inflict serious damage on the material.

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