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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


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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Coming to a monitor near you: A defect-free, molecule-thick film

An emerging class of atomically thin materials known as monolayer semiconductors has generated a great deal of buzz in the world of materials science. Monolayers hold promise in the development of transparent LED displays, ultra-high efficiency solar cells, photo detectors and nanoscale transistors. Their downside? The films are notoriously riddled with defects, killing their performance.

But now a research team, led by engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has found a simple way to fix...

27.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

Controlling Electromagnetic Radiation by Graphene

An international team of scientists from the University of Exeter, UK, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), Switzerland, and the University of Augsburg has demonstrated how the extraordinary properties of graphene can be exploited to create artificial structures that can be used to control and manipulate electromagnetic radiation over a wide range of wavelengths.

A collaborative international team consisting of two experimental groups, led by Professor Geoffrey Nash from the University of Exeter and Professor Jérôme...

27.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

Dimensionality transition in a newly created material

Iron oxides occur in nature in many forms, often significantly different from each other in terms of structure and physical properties. However, a new variety of iron oxide, recently created and tested by scientists in Cracow, surprised both physicists and engineers, as it revealed features previously unobserved in any other material.

The new form of iron oxide (FeO) is a metallic crystal with virtually no defects, a unique conglomerate of electrical and magnetic characteristics, and atoms...

26.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

The route to high temperature superconductivity goes through the flat land

Superconductors are marvellous materials that are able to transport electric current and energy without dissipation. For this reason, they are extremely useful for constructing magnets that can generate enormous magnetic fields without melting.

They have found important applications as essential components of the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator at CERN, levitating trains, and the magnetic...

23.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

Quantum spin could create unstoppable, one-dimensional electron waves

New theory points the way forward to transform atom-thin materials into powerful conductors

In certain nanomaterials, electrons are able to race through custom-built roadways just one atom wide. To achieve excellent efficiency, these one-dimensional...

19.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

From nanocrystals to earthquakes, solid materials share similar failure characteristics

Apparently, size doesn't always matter. An extensive study by an interdisciplinary research group suggests that the deformation properties of nanocrystals are not much different from those of the Earth's crust.

"When solid materials such as nanocrystals, bulk metallic glasses, rocks, or granular materials are slowly deformed by compression or shear, they slip...

18.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

A new symmetry underlies the search for new materials

A new symmetry operation developed by Penn State researchers has the potential to speed up the search for new advanced materials that range from tougher steels to new types of electronic, magnetic, and thermal materials. With further developments, this technique could also impact the field of computational materials design.

"In the physical sciences, making measurements can be time consuming and so you don't want to make unnecessary ones," said Venkat Gopalan, professor of...

18.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

New nanoscopic tools to study ligand-binding of receptors and quantifying two ligand-binding sites while imaging membrane receptors

Signalling processes in organisms are governed by specific extracellular and intracellular interactions and involve hundreds of different functionally highly versatile receptors situated in cell membranes.

For scientists wishing to understand signalling processes the situation is made more complex by the receptors not only being unevenly distributed and often...

17.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

High Durability and Efficiency of 1 cm2 Size Perovskite Solar Cells

A research group led by National Institute for Materials Science, Japan, improved the power conversion efficiency of perovskite solar cells to over 16% while employing cells that were greater than 1 cm2.

The cells have passed 1,000 Hours of Light Soaking (AM 1.5G, 100 mW/cm2) test, which is considered to be a basic criterion for practical use. These...

16.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

Strong odour challenge of mercaptans

Abstract: Pd/NHC Catalytic system, developed in the Ananikov laboratory, targeted on alternative technology of chemical utilization of organic sulfur species from crude oil (DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.5b01815).

Mercaptans or thiols are a special class of organic compounds that contains sulfur functional group, RSH. Various sulfur compounds are highly demanded in the...

13.11.2015 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How do Landslides control the weathering of rocks?

Chemical weathering in mountains depends on the process of erosion.

Chemical weathering of rocks over geological time scales is an important control on the stability of the climate. This weathering is, in turn, highly dependent...

Im Focus: How Cells in the Developing Ear ‘Practice’ Hearing

Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular chain of events that enables the cells to make “sounds” on their own, essentially “practicing” their ability to process sounds in the world around them.

The researchers, who describe their experiments in the Dec. 3 edition of the journal Cell, show how hair cells in the inner ear can be activated in the absence...

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

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