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Materials sciences - an interdisciplinary research field

Materials sciences involves the research, development, characterization, manufacture and processing of materials.

Materials sciences- the basis

As an interdisciplinary field, materials sciences encompasseschemistry, physics, mineralogyand many other areas of science. As a result, it is also tied closely to copper, iron and steel.

The transition from natural materials such as stone, wood, ivory or leather to the targeted production of materials such as copper, steel or iron

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Copper, steel and iron were produced as early as the Neolithic, roughly around 4,300 B.C. Copper and iron were produced as far back as the New Stone Age, roughly 4,300 B.C. This was then followed by the transition to the Bronze Age. It wasn't until the Iron Age that apart from iron, steel and copper, aluminum was also produced using the Hall-Héroult process. For a long time, materials sciences was interested almost exclusively in metals such as iron, copper and steel. However, this has changed with the rediscovery of concrete. While the first, mass-produced plastic materials eventually attracted the interest of the broad public, materials sciences continues to carry out research into iron, copper and steel.

The first metals and the ancient times

Copper, steel and iron were the first metals that mankind became familiar with as it evolved. Copper is very easy to process. As a result, copper was already being used 10,000 years ago by the oldest known cultures 10,000. The era of large-scale copper use (between 3,000 and 5,000 B.C.) is referred to as the Copper Age. The devotees of alchemy associate copper with Venus, the symbol of femininity. The first mirrors were even made from copper. The Roman Empire was the largest producer of copper prior to the Industrial Age. Copper remains an extremely popular material.

Steel - stable and dependable

Mankind has acquired long years of practical experience with steel. Steel is a preferred material in engineering because of its durability, excellent corrosion properties and suitability for welding. It is significantly more stable than copper. The European steel registry lists more than 2,300 types of steel. Coal and steel served as the pillars of heavy industry over a long period of time and were thus the foundations of political power. Steel is defined as an iron-carbon alloy with less than 2.06 percent carbon content. Steel, or iron, has a density of 7.85-7.87 g/cm3. Steel melts at a temperature that can be as high as 1,536°C and therefore withstands much higher temperatures than copper.Steel was first produced around 1,000 B.C., much later than copper. In an ecological sense, steel is a sustainable material because it can be continuously reused with minimal quality loss .

Iron - from decoration to general utility

The use of iron was first recorded around 4,000 B.C. in Egypt. It was a solid iron used for decorations and for making spear tips. It was more suitable for these purposes than steel or copper. Smelted iron appeared later in Mesopotamia and Egypt, but it was only intended for ceremonial purposes. Perhaps iron came about as a byproduct of bronze production. After the Hethiter developed a method to produce iron, cultures became increasingly reliant on iron between 1,600 and 1,200 B.C. Iron is thought to be a major element of the earth's core, along with nickel. Iron is produced by reducing iron ore through a chemical reaction with carbon. In contrast to steel or copper, iron is produced in blast furnaces.

Materials Sciences

Materials management deals with the research, development, manufacturing and processing of raw and industrial materials. Key aspects here are biological and medical issues, which play an increasingly important role in this field.

innovations-report offers in-depth articles related to the development and application of materials and the structure and properties of new materials.

Latest News:

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ORNL study reveals new characteristics of complex oxide surfaces

A novel combination of microscopy and data processing has given researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory an unprecedented look at the surface of a material known for its unusual physical and electrochemical properties.

The research team led by ORNL’s Zheng Gai examined how oxygen affects the surface of a perovskite manganite, a complex material that exhibits dramatic magnetic...

25.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Modular system for many materials

Lightweight construction materials are gaining ground throughout industry and are powering their way into many everyday products from aerospace through oil and gas extraction to the automotive industry. If serial manufacture is to be efficient and cost-effective, however, it is vital to automate the manufacturing processes for lightweight components.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT is gearing up for action with its “Multi-Material-Head”, a configurable tape placement system for the...

24.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Technique simplifies the creation of high-tech crystals

Highly purified crystals that split light with uncanny precision are key parts of high-powered lenses, specialized optics and, potentially, computers that manipulate light instead of electricity. But producing these crystals by current techniques, such as etching them with a precise beam of electrons, is often extremely difficult and expensive.

Now, researchers at Princeton and Columbia universities have proposed a new method that could allow scientists to customize and grow these specialized...

23.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Penn Study: Understanding Graphene’s Electrical Properties on an Atomic Level

Graphene, a material that consists of a lattice of carbon atoms, one atom thick, is widely touted as being the most electrically conductive material ever studied. However, not all graphene is the same. With so few atoms comprising the entirety of the material, the arrangement of each one has an impact on its overall function.

Now, for the first time, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have used a cutting-edge microscope to study the relationship between the atomic...

22.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

A noble gas cage

New material traps gases from nuclear fuel better and uses less energy than currently available options

When nuclear fuel gets recycled, the process releases radioactive krypton and xenon gases. Naturally occurring uranium in rock contaminates basements with the...

21.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

New method for extracting radioactive elements from air and water

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have successfully tested a material that can extract atoms of rare or dangerous elements such as radon from the air.

Gases such as radon, xenon and krypton all occur naturally in the air but in minute quantities – typically less than one part per million. As a result they are...

21.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Supercomputers Reveal Strange, Stress-Induced Transformations in World's Thinnest Materials

Interested in an ultra-fast, unbreakable, and flexible smart phone that recharges in a matter of seconds? Monolayer materials may make it possible. These atom-thin sheets—including the famed super material graphene—feature exceptional and untapped mechanical and electronic properties. But to fully exploit these atomically tailored wonder materials, scientists must pry free the secrets of how and why they bend and break under stress.

Fortunately, researchers have now pinpointed the breaking mechanism of several monolayer materials hundreds of times stronger than steel with exotic properties...

18.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

New Materials for Future Green Tech Devices

Comprehensive analysis in the journal "APL Materials" provides blueprint for making thermoelectric materials that convert heat and electricity with greater efficiency

From your hot car to your warm laptop, every machine and device in your life wastes a lot of energy through the loss of heat. But thermoelectric devices, which...

17.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Squishy robots

Phase-changing material could allow even low-cost robots to switch between hard and soft states

In the movie "Terminator 2," the shape-shifting T-1000 robot morphs into a liquid state to squeeze through tight spaces or to repair itself when harmed.

15.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Nano-sized silicon oxide electrode for the next generation lithium ion batteries

This article published in the Science and Technology of Advanced Materials reports an approach with industrial potential to produce nano-sized composite silicon-based powders as negative electrodes for the next generation lithium ion batteries.

The lithium ion battery market has been growing steadily and has been seeking an approach to increase battery capacity while retaining its capacity for long...

15.07.2014 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A transistor-like amplifier for single photons

A team of scientists at MPQ achieves a twentyfold amplification of single-photon signals with the help of an ultracold quantum gas.

Data transmission over long distances usually utilizes optical techniques via glass fibres – this ensures high speed transmission combined with low power...

Im Focus: New mass map of a distant galaxy cluster is the most precise yet

Stunning new observations from Frontier Fields

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have mapped the mass within a galaxy cluster more precisely than ever before. Created using observations...

Im Focus: NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast

Vibrate a solution of rod-shaped metal nanoparticles in water with ultrasound and they'll spin around their long axes like tiny drill bits. Why?

No one yet knows exactly. But researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have clocked their speed—and it's fast. At up to 150,000...

Im Focus: Mixing it up: Study provides new insight into Southern Ocean behaviour

A new study has found that turbulent mixing in the deep waters of the Southern Ocean, which has a profound effect on global ocean circulation and climate, varies with the strength of surface eddies – the ocean equivalent of storms in the atmosphere – and possibly also wind speeds.

It is the first study to link eddies at the surface to deep mixing on timescales of months to decades.

Im Focus: The World’s First Photonic Router

Weizmann Institute scientists take another step down the long road toward quantum computers

Weizmann Institute scientists have demonstrated for the first time a photonic router – a quantum device based on a single atom that enables routing of single...

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