• Building sturdier structures in hurricane-prone areas

    The hurricane season is upon us; an architecture professor offers tips on how to build — and how not to build — sturdier structures in hurricane-prone regions

  • Glass-based coating for reinforcement bars for sturdier infrastructure

    Researchers develop glass-based coating for reinforcement bars that helps prevent corrosion and strengthens the bond between steel and concrete; the material could help engineers build stronger bridges and increase the longevity of other steel-reinforced structures

  • Boat made from carbon nanotube composite fibers for coastal security

    The administration’s 2010 budget cuts the U.S. Coast Guard’s budget, so it is good that a Washington state-based company is building a boat made entirely with carbon nanotube enhanced pre-impregnated composite fibers; the 16 meter boat will weigh less than 3,630 kg, fully equipped; this is approximately 75 percent less than fiberglass boats of the same size, and 33 percent less than conventional carbon fiber boats

  • Mechanical stress leads to self-sensing in solid polymers

    Fighting Illini researchers develop force-sensitive polymers; when pushed or pulled with a certain force, specific chemical reactions are triggered in the mechanophores; such polymers may be used in aircraft components or bridges to report damage and warn of potential component failure, slow the spread of damage to extend a material’s lifetime, or even repair damage in early stages to avoid catastrophic failure

  • Bacteria prevents concrete from cracking

    Concrete is one of the most commonly used building materials. It is cheap, strong, and easy to work with; there is a catch, though: it cracks easily; Dutch researchers find that mineral grains formed in the cracks of concrete that had been seeded with bacteria would go a long way toward sealing those cracks and making them waterproof

  • Silk tougher and lighter than steel

    German scientists develop a technique to make silk tougher and lighter than steel — and even more elastic than spider’s silk; material may be used in surgical threats, bullet proof vests, and artificial tissue

  • Self-healing concrete for safer, durable, and cheaper-to-maintain infrastructure

    Wolverines researchers develop self-healing concrete; the concrete self-heals itself when it develops cracks; no human intervention required — only water and carbon dioxide

  • One-story masonry building withstands strong jolts during seismic tests

    University of California, San Diego researchers design a one-story masonry structure and showed it could survive two days of intense earthquake jolts

  • DARPA looking for construction material made of solar cells

    What if there was a material made of solar cells but which would be strong and flexible enough to be used for making planes and cars? There would be no need for an engine — or for batteries, as the material would generate and store power

  • Composite materials extend life of existing bridges

    The Obama administration’s stimulus package directs large amounts of money toward rehabilitating the aging U.S. infrastructure; Jayhawks researchers are testing a new class of devices that could double the life of America’s existing bridges using composite materials

  • South Korea develops homemade stealth technology

    While the United States keeps a close eye on work by Shina, Russia, and India on stealth technology, South Korea announces it has mastered the technology

  • Better bullet-proof vests with advanced fiber weaves

    Manchester University researchers say that bullet-proof vests used to protect the lives of police officers could be further improved with advanced fiber weaves

  • New anti-crime approach: vigilant windows

    Windows are coated with special polymer which contains nanoparticles that convert light into fluorescent radiation; this radiation is channeled to the edges of the window where it is detected by sensors; when a person approaches the window, the sensors wirelessly relay this currency information to a computer program, which alerts security officials of the potential intruder

  • A simpler route to invisibility

    Two years ago Duke University researchers built an invisibility cloak — a device that can make objects vanish from sight, at least when viewed using a narrow band of microwave frequencies; researchers now show how to create cloaks that work across a wider range of frequencies

  • Acoustic cloak silences nuisance noise

    Spanish researchers prove metamaterials can be designed to produce an acoustic cloak — a cloak that can make objects impervious to sound waves