Material Science

07/21/2014 - 13:00

A new material structure developed at MIT generates steam by soaking up the sun. The structure — a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam — is a porous, insulating material structure that floats on water. When sunlight hits the structure’s surface, it creates a hotspot in the graphite, drawing water up through the material’s pores, where it evaporates as steam. The brighter the light, the more steam is generated.


07/07/2014 - 11:02

For the last century, the concept of crystals has been a mainstay of solid-state physics. Crystals are paragons of order; crystalline materials are defined by the repeating patterns their constituent atoms and molecules make. Now physicists at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago have evidence that a new concept should undergird our understanding of most materials: the anticrystal, a theoretical solid that is completely disordered.


07/01/2014 - 20:28

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (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.


06/24/2014 - 11:04

There is a story about how the modern golf ball, with its dimpled surface, came to be: In the mid-1800s, it is said, new golf balls were smooth, but became dimpled over time as impacts left permanent dents. Smooth new balls were typically used for tournament play, but in one match, a player ran short, had to use an old, dented one, and realized that he could drive this dimpled ball much further than a smooth one.

06/02/2014 - 06:40

A Swedish-German research team has successfully tested a new method for the production of ultra-strong cellulose fibres at DESY's research light source PETRA III. The novel procedure spins extremely tough filaments from tiny cellulose fibrils by aligning them all in parallel during the production process. The new method is reported in the scientific journal Nature Communications.


05/23/2014 - 09:12

Graphene’s promise as a material for new kinds of electronic devices, among other uses, has led researchers around the world to study the material in search of new applications. But one of the biggest limitations to wider use of the strong, lightweight, highly conductive material has been the hurdle of fabrication on an industrial scale.