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[Image credit: NIST] 

Polymer ceramics considered for next generation body armour

Lightweight body armour systems made of ceramic tiles have limited formability and poor multi-hit capability. Researchers looking to improve these materials are looking to polymer ceramics, aggregate composites produced by infusing hard ceramic particulates with high modulus polymers. Early assessments show that the materials can achieve 80% of the ballistic performance of silicon carbide.

Nature’s strongest glue comes unstuck

Barnacle glue—or cement—mysteriously sticks to any surface, under any conditions. But an international team of scientists, led by Newcastle University (UK) and funded by the US Office of Naval Research, has shown for the first time that barnacle larvae release an oily droplet to clear the water from surfaces before sticking down using a phosphoprotein adhesive.

Front doors carry ‘thin patina’ of poop bacteria

(Science News) A new map called “The Patina of Feces” shows that the outer door frames of American homes wear a thin veneer of microbes that probably came from someone’s, or something’s, poop. The scientists are still trying to figure out why doors in some places, notably north Texas, Arkansas and Missouri, have so much fecal matter.

Surrey Nanosystems develops world’s darkest material

UK company Surrey NanoSystems has developed a new super black material—Vantablack—that absorbs 99.96% of incident radiation, believed to be the highest-ever recorded. The material is expected to provide new levels of range and sensitivity performance to electro-optical imaging and target-acquisition systems.

Uncertainty gives scientists new confidence in search for novel materials

Scientists at Stanford University and the DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have found a way to estimate uncertainties in computer calculations that are widely used to speed the search for new materials for industry, electronics, energy, drug design and a host of other applications.

New NIST metamaterial gives light a one-way ticket

The light-warping structures known as metamaterials have a new trick in their ever-expanding repertoire. Researchers at NIST have built a silver, glass, and chromium nanostructure that can all but stop visible light cold in one direction while giving it a pass in the other. The device could someday play a role in optical information processing and novel biosensing devices.