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Other materials stories that may be of interest

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[Image above] Credit: NIST

The artificial materials that came in from the cold

It has often been said that nature is history’s greatest innovator—if that is true, scientists with the U.S. DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab are learning from the best. Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a freeze-casting technique that enables them to design and create strong, tough, and lightweight materials comparable to bones, teeth, shells and wood.

Exhibit at Corning Museum of Glass explore intersections of science and art

In May 2016, Corning Museum of Glass will present the first comprehensive exhibition to explore the relationship between the exquisite works of famed 19th-century glass artists and naturalists and their impact on marine conservation efforts today. On view at CMoG from May 14, 2016—Jan. 8, 2017, the exhibition will also feature footage of living examples of the creatures captured in glass in the exhibit.

How would you like to sit in a glass pod atop a passenger plane?

Would you sit in a glass bubble on top of an airplane? The SkyDeck is a glass-enclosed viewing area that could be installed on the fuselage of existing private jets and passenger planes. Either one or two seats can be accessed by a staircase or an elevator. Once in the bubble, the seating can rotate 360 degrees, so passengers can look in any direction.

Research advances understanding of photoelectrodes

Scientists at National Renewable Energy Lab have developed a new probe that could lead to a better photoelectrochemical cell. NREL researchers used the new probe to better understand the photophysics of photoelectrodes made from the semiconductor gallium-indium-phosphide. By using the newly developed probe, the scientists uncovered the role that a titanium dioxide/gallium-indium-phosphide interface plays in photoconversion.

Could metal particles be the clean fuel of the future?

Can you imagine a future where your car is fueled by iron powder instead of gasoline? Metal powders, produced using clean primary energy sources, could provide a more viable long-term replacement for fossil fuels than other widely discussed alternatives, such as hydrogen, biofuels or batteries, according to a new study by McGill University researchers.

‘Al dente’ fibers could make bulletproof vests stronger and ‘greener’

Bulletproof vests and other super-strong materials could soon become even tougher and more environmentally friendly at the same time with the help of extra firm, or “al dente,” fibers. Researchers report an innovative way to spin high-performance polyethylene fibers from natural fats, such as oils from olives and peanuts.

High-energy X-rays give industry affordable way to optimize cast iron

Controversy still exists over the correlation between manufacturing casting parameters and desirable properties for cast iron. Limited by typical industrial 2-D imaging techniques or time-consuming 3-D laboratory studies, researchers have been unable to pinpoint the exact processing parameters needed to elicit the ideal properties for each cast iron application. According to a new study, high-energy synchrotron X-rays can help.