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Your search has returned 478 articles:
  • News in Brief

    A new graphene foam stays squishy at the coldest temperatures

    A new graphene-based foam is the first material to remain soft and squishy even at deep cryogenic temperatures.

    Most materials become stiff and brittle in extreme cold. But the new foam stays superelastic even when it’s subjected to the temperature of liquid helium: –269.15° Celsius. A material that remains pliable at such low temperatures could be used to build devices for use in space...

    04/12/2019 - 14:00 Materials
  • News in Brief

    Bacteria can be coaxed into making the toughest kind of spider silk

    Bacteria are helping to make engineered silk that rivals the strength and stretchiness of a spider’s stiff dragline silk, the type from which the arachnids dangle. 

    Pound for pound, dragline silk is stronger and tougher than steel. Engineers have tried for decades to create a synthetic mimic from genetically modified bacteria, yeast and even goat milk, but have always fallen short. 

    ...
    04/02/2019 - 17:17 Materials, Chemistry
  • Science Visualized

    How droplets of oil or water can glow vibrant colors

    Oil and water may not mix, but the two have now revealed a new example of structural color, in which an object’s hue arises from its shape.

    Studying droplets made of two layers of clear oil, researchers discovered that, depending on a viewer’s perspective, the tiny blobs glowed a variety of vibrant colors under white light. In a petri dish, same-sized droplets changed color as the dish...

    03/08/2019 - 14:00 Physics, Materials
  • News

    A new insulation material is practically weightless yet still durable

    A new, nearly weightless insulation material can withstand extreme heat that would destroy other materials.

    The porous aerogel is at least 99 percent open space, with the rest made up of an atomically thin ceramic called hexagonal boron nitride. The design proves extremely durable under high temperatures and rapid temperature shifts of over 1,000 degrees Celsius, researchers report in...

    02/14/2019 - 14:00 Materials, Technology
  • Teaser

    A new fabric becomes more breathable as you work up a sweat

    Someday, the same shirt could be part of your summer and winter wardrobe, using fabric that alternates between breathable and insulating.

    Unlike other heat-accommodating cloth, which has to be flipped inside out to switch from warm to cool (SN: 2/17/18, p. 5), the new dual-use fabric adapts to how much the wearer is sweating. This material may be useful for making sportswear or clothing...

    02/08/2019 - 11:05 Materials
  • News in Brief

    Being messy on the inside keeps metamaterials from folding under stress

    Human-made metamaterials with messy internal designs may be more resistant to damage than those with neatly patterned structures.

    Metamaterial lattices, usually composed of struts that form identical, repeating “unit cells,” can exhibit properties that normal solids don’t (SN: 1/19/19, p. 5). But under heavy loads, overstressed struts can collapse, and that breakage quickly splinters...

    01/22/2019 - 12:00 Materials
  • News in Brief

    Magnets make a new soft metamaterial stiffen up in a flash

    Magnetism transforms a weird new material from soft to rigid in a split second.

    This metamaterial — a synthetic structure designed to behave in ways that natural materials don’t — comprises a gridlike network of plastic tubes filled with fluid that becomes more viscous in a magnetic field, causing the tubes to firm up. The material could help make more adaptable robots or body armor,...

    12/07/2018 - 14:00 Materials
  • Letters to the Editor

    Questions about toxic red tides, and more reader feedback

    Hot stuff

    A new material that converts sunlight into heat could someday melt ice off airplane wings, wind turbines and rooftops, Maria Temming reported in “A new material harnesses light to deice surfaces” (SN: 9/29/18, p. 17).

    “What happens when the object (such as an airplane wing) to which the material has been applied is subjected to the sun on a hot summer day?” asked online...

    11/04/2018 - 06:00 Materials, Health, Physics
  • News

    Vanadium dioxide’s weird phase transition just got weirder

    For the first time, researchers have gotten a detailed view of how atoms in a compound called vanadium dioxide move when an ultrafast laser pulse transforms the material from an electrical insulator to a conductor — and it’s nothing like scientists expected.

    Rather than switching from one crystal formation to another in a direct, synchronized manner, like choreographed ballerinas, the...

    11/01/2018 - 14:00 Physics, Materials, Technology
  • News in Brief

    This reflective paint could keep sunbaked buildings cool

    A new polymer-based paint that reflects nearly all incoming sunlight could help keep buildings, cars, airplanes and other sunbaked structures cool.

    This polymer paint, described online September 27 in Science, can be applied to various surfaces, including plastics, metals and wood. It also could be fashioned into recyclable tarpaulins for covering homes, cars or other enclosed spaces....

    09/28/2018 - 09:00 Materials, Technology, Sustainability