Posted by Lara Lopes

10 futuristic materials you should know about

Materials science is really paving the way for bringing the things we see in sci-fi into a reality. Below we list 10 futuristic materials that you should know about because they could be set to change the world as we know it. 1. Aerogel Aerogel is what you get from supercritical drying of liquid gels of alumina, chromia, tin oxide, or carbon. It’s 99.8% space which makes it semi-transparent, but despite its incredibly low density it shows surprising strength, especially as an insulator. In the image above you can see aerogel being used to protect crayons from a naked flame. […]

Posted by Interesting Engineering

Observing Molecular Dynamics of Chemical Reactions in Real Time

An ongoing NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) project is closing in on one of the most urgently sought-after goals in modern science: The ability to observe the detailed dynamics of chemical reactions as they happen – on the spatial scale of molecules, atoms, and electrons, and on the time scale of picoseconds or even shorter. The researchers have devised and demonstrated a highly unusual, compact, and relatively inexpensive x-ray source for an imaging system that may soon be employed to produce the kind of “molecular movies” that scientists and engineers need. “I believe that we are going to be able […]

Posted by Interesting Engineering

Remaking Glass: Controlling the Arrangement of Atoms

A new way to make glass has been discovered by a collaboration of researchers at the Universities of Düsseldorf and Bristol using a method that controls how the atoms within a substance are arranged around each other. The research is published in Physical Review Letters. When cooling a liquid below its melting temperature it either crystallizes or transforms into a glass. Glass is a peculiar state of matter: it has the mechanical properties of a solid, but an amorphous structure like a liquid. As long ago as 1952, Sir Charles Frank at the University of Bristol argued that the structure […]

Posted by Interesting Engineering

Butterfly Wings Inspire New High-Tech Surfaces

A South American butterfly flapped its wings, and caused a flurry of nanotechnology research to happen in Ohio and may lead to new high-tech surfaces for aircraft and watercraft, pipelines, and medical equipments. For example, researchers were able to clean up to 85% of dust off a coated plastic surface that mimicked the texture of a butterfly wing, compared to only 70% off a flat surface. Ohio State University engineers report that textures enhance fluid flow and prevent surfaces from getting dirty. “Nature has evolved many surfaces that are self-cleaning or reduce drag,” said Bharat Bhushan, Ohio Eminent Scholar and Howard D. […]