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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Ambitious researchers explore the future of materials science

Two researchers at the AIMR plan to usher in a post-nanocarbon era and create a new science of spin beyond spintronics. Organic chemist Hiroyuki Isobe and condensed matter physicist Eiji Saitoh at the AIMR have both received grants for projects under the prestigious research fund Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology. AIMResearch spoke to both researchers about their ambitious goals and the importance of collaborative research.

Bomb-proof lining contains explosion in luggage hold of aircraft

A bomb-proof lining developed by an international team of scientists, including academics from the University of Sheffield, has successfully contained blasts in a series of controlled explosions in the luggage hold of a Boeing 747 and an Airbus 321. The Fly-Bag, which lines an aircraft’s luggage hold with multiple layers of novel fabrics and composites, was recently tested under increasing explosive charges on disused planes.

UT Arlington research could yield more resilient ceramic material

A University of Texas at Arlington engineer is modifying molecular structures and blending ceramics to create new material that would be less brittle but retain the strength of the original ceramic and could be used on spacecraft, in power plants and for other applications. Ashfaq Adnan was awarded a highly competitive $120,000 Early-concept Grant for Exploratory Research or EAGER award from the National Science Foundation to advance his work.

Scientists demonstrate first color-tunable and first graphene-based LED

( Currently, all LEDs emit light of only one color, which is predefined during fabrication. So far, tuning the color of light produced by a single LED has never been realized. In a new study, scientists have demonstrated an LED that not only can be tuned to emit different colors of light, but can do so across nearly the entire visible spectrum: from blue (450-nm wavelength) to red (750-nm wavelength)—basically all colors but the darkest blues and violets.

Boxfish shell inspires new materials for body armor and flexible electronics

The boxfish’s unique armor draws its strength from hexagon-shaped scales and the connections between them, engineers at the University of California, San Diego, have found. Each hexagonal scale, or scute, distributes stress across the entire surface. Under the scutes, the team found a complex inner layer wit interlocking collagen fibers. Together, the outer and inner layers of the boxfish armor are flexible yet difficult to penetrate and provide the fish with unique protection.

Yarn from slaughterhouse waste

ETH researchers have developed a yarn from ordinary gelatin that has good qualities similar to those of merino wool fibers. Gelatin is obtained from collagen, the main component of connective tissue and skin. This biopolymer consists of a triple helix of thread-like proteins that are wound around each other like the stripes of a candy cane. The process for obtaining gelatin involves partially denaturing the collagen, which causes the triple strands to unwind and the individual threads to rearrange themselves.