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Category: Technology: Materials

MIT: Secrets of the conch shell and its toughness

The shells of marine organisms are though, but one type of shell stands out above all the others in its toughness: the conch. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have explored the secrets behind these shells’ extraordinary impact resilience.  

UC Berkeley: Pulling drinkable water out of dry air

Imagine a future in which every home has an appliance that pulls all the water the household needs out of the air, even in dry or desert climates, using only the power of the sun. That future may be around the corner, with the demonstration this week of a water harvester that uses only ambient …

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Nature Video: Printing glass

3D printers normally print using polymers, but glass has all sorts of advantages. Now researchers have found a way to 3D print with glass, with the detail of the objects only limited by the accuracy of the printer.  

MIT: New coating could prevent pipeline clogging

Researchers at MIT have developed a coating that could stop the buildup of hydrate ices that slow or block oil and gas flow. These hydrates are potentially explosive and are largely responsible for the initial failure to contain the oil spill that rocked the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.  

MIT: One of the strongest lightweight materials known

A team of MIT engineers has successfully designed a new 3-D material with five percent the density of steel and ten times the strength, making it one of the strongest lightweight materials known.  

MIT: Heat-induced shrinkage

As elaborated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, heat is a powerful force that can affect a material in many ways. Almost all solid materials expand when heated and many shrink when cooled. In very rare instances certain materials actually shrink when heated. This class of “metamaterials” are especially interesting for research as explained in …

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TED: How we’re harnessing nature’s hidden superpowers | Oded Shoseyov

What do you get when you combine the strongest materials from the plant world with the most elastic ones from the insect kingdom? Super-performing materials that might transform … everything. Nanobiotechnologist Oded Shoseyov walks us through examples of amazing materials found throughout nature, in everything from cat fleas to sequoia trees, and shows the creative …

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MIT: Furry Wetsuits

Inspired by hairy, semiaquatic mammals such as beavers and sea otters, a group of MIT engineers are fabricating fur-like rubbery pelts learn how these mammals stay warm and even dry while diving underwater.  

American Chemical Society: Edible, Biodegradable Food Packaging

Most foods come wrapped in plastic packaging. This type of packaging creates a lot of waste and aren’t that great at preventing spoilage. Researchers are now developing a biodegradable film made from milk proteins to hopefully solve these problems.  

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: New hydrogel that doesn’t dry out

Engineers at MIT have found a way to prevent hydrogels from dehydrating, with a method that binds hydrogels to elastomers such as rubber and silicone.

SciNews: Octopus-like electroluminescent skin

Researchers developed an artificial skin that can stretch, sense pressure and emit light, demonstrating a level of multi-functionality seen in the skin of cephalopods like octopuses. A soft robot demonstrates these combined capabilities by stretching and emitting light as it moves. Credit: Highly stretchable electroluminescent skin for optical signaling and tactile sensing C. Larson, B. …

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MIT: Material may offer cheaper alternative to smart windows

MIT scientists have come up with a theory to predict exactly how much light is transmitted through a material, given its thickness and degree of stretch. Using this theory, they accurately predicted the changing transparency of a rubber-like polymer structure as it was stretched like a spring and inflated like a balloon.  

Science Magazine: Carbon-based paper that walks when hit with a laser

Carbon-based paper folds itself up, walks away. Advance could lead to artificial muscles for robots. Researchers around the globe have developed a variety of sheetlike polymers and gels capable of folding in response to changes in temperature, pH, or other stimuli. Now, a team in China reports today in Science Advances that it has designed …

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MIT: Newly engineered water superglue

MIT engineers have developed a method to make synthetic, sticky hydrogel that is more than 90 percent water. The hydrogel, which is a transparent, rubber-like material, can adhere to surfaces with a toughness comparable to the bond between tendon and cartilage on bone.  

American Museum of Natural History: Why Are There No Planets in the Asteroid Belt?

The asteroid belt provides important clues into the history of our solar system. Meteorite specialist Denton Ebel, curator in the Division of Physical Sciences, explains different theories of solar system formation and how the asteroid belt figures into the stable configuration of planets that we know today.  

MIT: Strengthening metal at the nanoscale and eliminating defects

For the first time, researchers have achieved defect healing and marked strengthening through cyclic deformation in nanoscale structures. The novel method is called “cyclic healing”. Video produced and edited by Melanie Gonick/MIT Additional footage courtesy of the researchers  

Boeing: Lightest. Metal. Ever

Microlattice is the lightest metal ever made. At 99.99% air, it’s light enough to balance on top of a dandelion, while its structure makes it strong. Strength and record breaking lightness make it a potential metal for future planes and vehicles.  

Divergent Microfactories: The World’s first 3D-printed Supercar

The Divergent Blade is built on a carbon fiber tubular chassis and is the world’s first 3D-printed supercar, check it out below.  

Nature Video: Graphene Kirigami

Graphene is a one-atom thick ‘supermaterial’ with incredible strength and resilience. Kirigami is the ancient Japanese art of paper cutting. Combined, they could lead to a future of tiny mechanical parts and even mini machines…  

The Watercooler: Bill Nye Explains Super Materials with Emoji

  Bill Nye the Science Guy is back to explain super materials using a language everyone can understand — emoji. It’s super emojified!    

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