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  • News

    Super Fibers: Nanotubes make tough threads

    The superior mechanical and electrical properties of carbon nanotubes have intrigued materials scientists for a decade. But they've struggled to take advantage of the hollow tubes, just nanometers wide, for macroscopic projects.

    Now, researchers have spun the tubes into composite fibers that are tougher than steel, Kevlar, or spider silk. The new fibers appear to be...

    06/11/2003 - 10:23 Materials
  • News

    Prize honors physicist with conscience

    Physicist Freeman J. Dyson will receive an award next month of greater monetary value than the Nobel prize.

    Yet the $948,000 Templeton prize, to be presented in a public ceremony May 16 in Washington, D.C., will not recognize Dyson, 76, for his physics research. The annual honor goes to individuals for originality in advancing religious understanding.

    Dyson has been a physics...

    10/02/2002 - 10:56 Physics
  • News

    Spinning Fine Threads: Silkworms coerced to make better silk

    The caterpillars that spin commercial silk can make much tougher or more elastic threads, depending on how fast they're forced to spin.

    If this research finding is translated into a marketable process for obtaining silk, the fibers could rival those of widely acclaimed but commercially impractical spider silk, says Fritz Vollrath of Oxford University.

    Many scientists hold...

    08/14/2002 - 10:03 Materials
  • News

    Mammal cells make fake spider silk better

    The tough silk spun by spiders with the greatest of ease has long inspired human imitators. In a process not yet fully understood, spiders transform dissolved proteins in their silk-making glands directly into thin, rugged filaments of various types. The most tenacious of those strands is dragline silk, which forms the resilient framework of webs. Gram for gram, dragline fiber is five times...

    01/16/2002 - 10:20 Materials