Materials

  • New internally cured concrete increases bridge life span

    Concrete is normally made by mixing portland cement with water, sand, and stone. In the curing or hardening process, water helps the concrete mixture gain strength by reacting with the cement. Traditionally, curing is promoted by adding water on top of the bridge deck surface. The new technology for internal curing provides additional water pockets inside the concrete, enhancing the reaction between the cement and water, which adds to strength and durability. This new technology is enabling Indiana to improve bridges in the state with a new “internally cured” high-performance concrete.

  • Novel nanosized antenna arrays key to effective harvesting of solar energy

    For years, scientists have studied the potential benefits of a new branch of solar energy technology that relies on incredibly small nanosized antenna arrays that are theoretically capable of harvesting more than 70 percent of the sun’s electromagnetic radiation and simultaneously converting it into usable electric power. A novel fabrication technique could provide the breakthrough technology scientists have been looking for to improve today’s solar energy systems.

  • Exploring asteroids for commercial metal harvesting

    Deep Space says that in a decade, it will be harvesting asteroids for metals and other building materials, to construct large communications platforms to replace communications satellites, and later solar power stations to beam carbon-free energy to consumers on Earth. “More than 900 new asteroids that pass near Earth are discovered every year. They can be like the Iron Range of Minnesota was for the Detroit car industry last century,” says the company’s CEO.

  • Uranium mining debate divides Virginia

    In Virginia a fight has begun over whether to drill for uranium. Some feel the drilling, which would create about 1,000 jobs and bounty of tax revenue in addition to nuclear fuel, is important for a state whose main industries, such as tobacco and textiles, are failing. Those who oppose the drilling fear the contamination of drinking water in case of an accident, and a stigma from uranium which would deter people and businesses from moving to the area.

  • The humble jute serves as a sustainable reinforcement for concrete

    Fashionable people may turn up their noses at jute, the cheap fiber used to make burlap, gunny sacks, twine, and other common products, but new research is enhancing jute’s appeal as an inexpensive, sustainable reinforcement for mortar and concrete.

  • Engineers to build Australia’s first bushfire resistant straw house

    With Australia’s bushfire season fast approaching, construction of the first bushfire resistant straw bale house tested by engineers from CSIRO has begun in rural Victoria; the house is based on design principles that minimize environmental impact and it is set to withstand temperatures equal to that of a worst case bushfire scenario

  • Tunnel disaster shows age of Japan’s infrastructure, but there is no money to fix it

    The collapse of hundreds of concrete ceiling slabs in a tunnel just outside Tokyo has focused the attention of the Japanese on the country’s  has citizens calling for Japan to fix its aging infrastructure; the amounts of money needed for this refurbishing are large, and , but signs indicate that Japan may not have the money, as the public debt is already more than 200 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

  • Fabric for military uniforms to repel chemical and biological agents

    Military uniforms of the future may offer a new layer of critical protection to wearers; the fabric will be able to switch reversibly from a highly breathable state to a protective one in response to the presence of the environmental threat without the need for an external control system; in the protective state, the uniform material will block the chemical threat while maintaining a good breathability level

  • Cooler pavement materials could increase energy consumption in surrounding buildings

    A push to replace old, heat-trapping paving materials with new, cooler materials could actually lead to higher electricity bills for surrounding buildings; the new paving materials are designed to lower the overall temperature of the areas where they are used

  • Building material of millennium: Autoclave Aerated Concrete

    Although widespread rebuilding in the hard-hit New York metro region from Hurricane Sandy has not yet begun, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) scientists say when the hammers start swinging, it is time to look at autoclaved aerated concrete; the material, best known as AAC, has been heralded as the building material of the new millennium

  • Safety glass – cut to any shape

    If an object slams into the glass façade of a high-rise building, the glass must not shatter and fall down, because it could harm pedestrians below; in addition, the window panes must hold if a person were to fall against it from the inside; architects and builders must therefore use something stronger than laminated safety glass on the façades of high rise buildings; scientists develop a method which offers more flexibility with the design and handling of safety glass

  • Scientists improving process to recycle rare-earth materials

    Recycling keeps paper, plastics, and even jeans out of landfills. Could recycling rare-earth magnets do the same? Perhaps, if the recycling process can be improved; scientists are working more effectively to remove the neodymium, a rare earth element, from the mix of other materials in a magnet; initial results show recycled materials maintain the properties that make rare-earth magnets useful

  • Assessing bridge resilience

    Across the United States, more than 600,000 bridges link travelers to millions of roadway miles, forming a critical part of the nation’s infrastructure; because bridges are typically more vulnerable than roadways to damage caused by natural and man-made hazards, they are also of interest to DHS, which funds cutting-edge research in various aspects of structural integrity testing and blast-resistant structural design

  • China’s infrastructure is failing owing to sub-standard materials, corruption, and lax regulation

    Shoddy infrastructure in China has put people in danger time and time again; many of the infrastructure issues in China stem from the government’s focus on quantity over quality, as well as making sure that as many people are employed as possible for a project, rather than using the latest construction technology; sub-standard materials, corruption, and lax regulation only exacerbate the problem

  • Assessment reports mineralization of 2.173 million tons rare Earths elements in Idaho, Montana

    U.S. Rare Earths, Inc. announced the other day the final results of an independent analysis of historic exploration work done on its Idaho and Montana properties