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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Free webinar: Dilatometry—more than just determination of thermal expansion

Netzsch is offering a free webinar on June 30 about the possible applications of dilatometry. Beyond conventional measurements, dilatometry offers options like rate controlled sintering, density determination, or thermokinetics for further processing of the data. Discover application fields of dilatometry beyond the measurement of thermal expansion in this webinar.

X-ray imaging reveals secrets in battery materials

In a new study, researchers explain why one particular cathode material works well at high voltages, while most other cathodes do not. Researchers used an X-ray imaging technique combined with new algorithms to gain nanoscale insights of mechanical properties of cathode material LNMO spinel (composed of lithium, nickel, manganese, and oxygen atoms). The study reveals how the cathode material behaves while the battery charges and offers a possible explanation for why this particular cathode material works well at high voltage levels.

Surfaces get smooth or bumpy on demand

An MIT team has developed a way of making soft materials, using a 3-D printer, with surface textures that can then be modified at will to be perfectly smooth, or ridged or bumpy, or even to have complex patterns that could be used to guide fluids. The process involves a material that is composed of two different polymers with different degrees of stiffness. When squeezed, the material’s surface changes from smooth to a pattern determined by the spacing and shapes of the implanted harder particles; when released, it reverts back to the original form.

Penn engineers show how “perfect” materials begin to fail

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Germany’s Max Planck Institute have shown that defects first form on the road to failure. The researchers stretched defect-free palladium nanowires under tightly controlled conditions. Contrary to conventional wisdom, they found that the stretching force at which these wires failed was unpredictable, occurring in a range of values that were more strongly influenced by the ambient temperature than was previously believed.

New optics tech opens door to high-res atomic-level hard X-ray studies

An international collaboration has demonstrated a way to reach dramatically smaller focal sizes for hard X-rays, opening the door to atomic-scale hard X-ray research. For the first time, the full performance at wavelength of a wedged MLL has been characterized and was found to agree well with calculations. An improved efficiency due to wedging was verified together with a measured focus of 26 nm. Wedging therefore is a viable technology, constituting a significant advancement toward a new frontier in X-ray nanofocusing.

Honeycomb-inspired design delivers superior protection from impact

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a new energy-absorbing structure to better withstand blunt and ballistic impact. The technology, called negative stiffness honeycombs, can be integrated into car bumpers, military and athletic helmets, and other protective hardware. The researchers devised a cell geometry capable of elastic buckling, giving negative stiffness honeycomb structures the resilience to recover their energy-absorbing shape and properties after impact.