Materials

  • New methodology evaluates risk of scarce metals

    China produces more than 95 of the world’s rare Earth metals, making governments and businesses around the world uneasy; researchers develop a methodology ti answer two important questions: how do we know what is scarce? If we know a metal is scarce, how do we know whether we should worry about it?

  • The strength of a spider web depends on design, not only on silk

    New study shows that spider web’s durability depends not only on silk strength, but on how the overall web design compensates for damage and the response of individual strands to continuously varying stresses

  • Digital images used to prevent bridge failures

    A new/old method has been developed to assure the safety of hundreds of truss bridges across the United States; researchers have been testing the use of a thoroughly modern version of an old technique — photographic measurement or “photogrammetry” — to watch the failure of a key bridge component in exquisite detail

  • Military seeking high-pressure materials without high-pressure processes

    Military missions place tremendous stress on the materials used for defense weapons, vehicles, and other applications; applications range from stronger armor, to lighter weights which allow for faster propulsion, to greater resiliency in aerospace, ground, and naval platforms

  • New material for building thermonuclear fusion reactors

    Two European projects – ITER and DEMO — propose development of fusion reactors that are economically viable; this work depends on the development of new structural materials capable of withstanding damage by irradiation and elevated temperatures resulting from the fusion reaction

  • Laws of traditional physics would foil Santa's effort to carry out mission

    Santa has 31 hours to visit 378 million Christian children; at the rate of 3.5 children per household, and assuming at least one good child per home, this comes to 108 million homes; if each child receives no more than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh would be carrying more than 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself; Santa would thus need at least 360,000 Reindeer to pull the sleigh; since Santa must visit 108 million homes in 31 hours, he will have to travel at 650 miles per second — 3,000 times the speed of sound; at that speed, the lead pair of Reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each and vaporize — indeed, the entire Reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second; Santa himself would be subjected to forces of 17,500 Gs; a 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, and be crushed

  • String theory explains Santa Claus

    Calculations maintain that the laws of physics should prevent Santa Claus from delivering all his gifts and that Santa would burn up in the atmosphere if he tried; the Norwegian Internet magazine, forskning.no, has put together a team of four top researchers to look into the case; the panel’s conclusion is clear: Santa can do the job and Christmas is saved!

  • Measuring the effect of fire on materials

    Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) are developing an infrared measuring method to analyze the thermal properties and resistance to fire of composite materials; this advance would have applications in areas where fire safety requires that the composite materials withstand high temperatures

  • Improving pothole repairs

    The alarming increase in the number of road potholes in the United Kingdom — an outcome of reduced road maintenance, increasing traffic volumes, heavier loads, and repeated adverse weather — is creating potentially hazardous driving conditions, causing serious concerns to the authorities as well as to the public; engineers are looking foe ways to improve pothole repairs

  • Scarce minerals, metals threaten manufacturing

    The growing scarcity of certain minerals and metals is leading to explosive prices and delivery delays; since the relationships among these resources are strong, both the causes of and the solutions to scarcity are complex; for a manufacturing organization with a global supply chain, this can spell trouble

  • Making better, cleaner cement

    Humans the world over use more water, by volume, than any other material; in second place, at more than seventeen billion tons consumed each year, comes concrete made with Portland cement; making cement, however, releases massive amounts of carbon dioxide; structural studies at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source could point to reduced carbon emissions and stronger cements

  • Chinese rare earth embargo would be “disastrous,” says mining executive

    Mike Parnell, the CEO of U.S. Rare Earths, Inc., recently took the time to chat with Homeland Security NewsWire’s executive editor Eugene K. Chow; in the interview Parnell discusses the potential consequences of a full Chinese rare earth metal embargo, efforts to develop alternatives to rare earth metals, and the progress made in making the drilling process more environmentally friendly

  • Europe faces rare Earth metal shortages

    The EU’s ambitious low-carbon energy production goal depends on five technologies: nuclear, solar, wind, bio-energy, and carbon capture; these technologies, in turn, depend on rare Earth metals; the EU estimates that a large-scale deployment of only one of these technologies — solar energy — will require half the current world supply of tellurium and 25 percent of the supply of indium

  • Mother-of-pearl inspires design of stronger materials

    In nature, the strength of mother-of-pearl is a key to survival for some shellfish; researchers have offered an explanation for the unusual resilience – and they believes the findings could serve as a blueprint for engineering tough new materials in the laboratory

  • New tech could turn clothes into touch sensors

    Everything from clothes and headphone wires to coffee tables could soon become interactive touch devices thanks to the development of new sensor technology; researchers at the University of Munich and the Hasso Plattner Institute are working to integrate technology originally designed to detect damaged underwater cables into touch sensors that can be installed in virtually anything