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November 23rd, 2011

Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on November 23rd, 2011 | By: Eileen De Guire

Check ’em out:

Ultralight metallic microlattices

A team of researchers from UC Irvine, HRL Laboratories and the California Institute of Technology have developed the world’s lightest material—with a density of 0.9 mg/cc—about 100 times lighter than Styrofoam. Their findings appear in the Nov. 18 issue of Science. The new material redefines the limits of lightweight materials because of its unique “micro-lattice” cellular architecture. The researchers were able to make a material that consists of 99.99 percent air by designing the 0.01 percent solid at the nanometer, micron and millimeter scales. The material’s architecture allows unprecedented mechanical behavior for a metal, including complete recovery from compression exceeding 50 percent strain and extraordinarily high energy absorption.

Researchers find way to create cheap thermoelectric materials

A team led by Dr Ole Martin Løvvik of Oslo University’s Centre for Materials Science and Nanotechnology in Norway has been studying the thermoelectric effect at the nanoscale for several years. The key to the problem is that a good thermoelectric material ought to have high thermal resistance but low electrical resistance. Therefore, perhaps counter-intuitively, it is important to prevent heat dissipation through the material. The fabrication method involves cooling down blocks of semiconducing materials to -196°C with liquid nitrogen to make them more brittle and less sticky, then grinding them down into nanoscale particles using a ‘mill’. These particles are then essentially compressed back together in a controlled fashion, leaving the essential nanoscale barriers.

Cheers and applause as £4 million neutron instrument is lowered into place

Engineers and scientists at the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council’s ISIS neutron source faced nervous moments on Friday (11 November 2011) when a new £4 million instrument that took five years to design and build, was lifted and lowered into its fixed position by a 30 tonne crane. Polaris, a ‘super microscope’ is one of the most advanced neutron instruments in the world. It will measure objects on the nanometre scale, a million times smaller than a speck of dust. The giant camera will make images of the atomic structure of materials and will be able to watch chemical reactions in real time. Measuring the positions of atoms in a material allows you to understand completely why a material behaves the way it does.

Architecture and ceramics: A material for all the ages

Architecture and Ceramics: A Material For All The Ages is currently running through Dec. 17, 2011 in the HGA Gallery, Rapson Hall of the Goldstein Museum of Design (University of Minnesota). Architecture and ceramics are fundamental cultural forms. The kinship between architecture and ceramics draws upon the physical materials they use and the formal and conceptual problems they address. Ultimately, however, what binds them together is their shared connection with human use, and human life-and art. This exhibition uses photographs to illuminate the rich and complex relationship between architecture and ceramics from the ancient world to the present.

Engineers test wireless LED contact lens on a living eye

Engineers from the US and Finland have tested a wireless contact lens featuring a working LED light on a living eye for the first time. Although the proof-of-concept device only contained a single pixel, it could pave the way for lenses that display emails and text messages directly to the wearer’s eyes or provide real-time health monitoring information such as glucose levels. The lens—developed by researchers at the University of Washington and Aalto University—consists of an antenna that receives power in the form of radio waves, an integrated circuit to store the energy and a transparent sapphire chip containing a single blue LED.


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