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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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Body temperature triggers newly developed polymer to change shape

Material can lift 1,000 times its mass

Polymers that visibly change shape when exposed to temperature changes are nothing new. But a research team led by Chemical Engineering Professor Mitch...

09.02.2016 | nachricht Read more

Graphene is strong, but is it tough?

Berkeley Lab scientists find that polycrystalline graphene is not very resistant to fracture

Graphene, a material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms, has been touted as the strongest material known to exist, 200 times stronger than steel,...

05.02.2016 | nachricht Read more

New Type of Nanowires, Built with Natural Gas Heating

A new simple, cost-effective approach that may open up an effective way to make other metallic/semiconducting nanomaterials.

A team of Korean researchers, affiliated with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has recently pioneered in developing a new simple...

05.02.2016 | nachricht Read more

The iron stepping stones to better wearable tech without semiconductors

The road to more versatile wearable technology is dotted with iron. Specifically, quantum dots of iron arranged on boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs). The new material is the subject of a study to be published in Scientific Reports later this week, led by Yoke Khin Yap, a professor of physics at Michigan Technological University.

Yap says the iron-studded BNNTs are pushing the boundaries of electronics hardware. The transistors modulating electron flow need an upgrade.

05.02.2016 | nachricht Read more

Smallest lattice structure worldwide

3-D lattice with glassy carbon struts and braces of less than 200 nm in diameter has higher specific strength than most solids

KIT scientists now present the smallest lattice structure made by man in the Nature Materials journal. Its struts and braces are made of glassy carbon and are...

03.02.2016 | nachricht Read more

Nanosheet growth technique could revolutionize nanomaterial production

After six years of painstaking effort, a group of University of Wisconsin-Madison materials scientists believe the tiny sheets of the semiconductor zinc oxide they're growing could have huge implications for the future of a host of electronic and biomedical devices.

The group -- led by Xudong Wang, a UW-Madison professor of materials science and engineering, and postdoctoral researcher Fei Wang -- has developed a technique...

01.02.2016 | nachricht Read more

Researchers develop completely new kind of polymer

Hybrid polymers could lead to new concepts in self-repairing materials, drug delivery and artificial muscles

Imagine a polymer with removable parts that can deliver something to the environment and then be chemically regenerated to function again. Or a polymer that...

29.01.2016 | nachricht Read more

Grinding the hardest to reach places within a component

It’s long established that flow grinding can be utilized to grind and polish the inner surfaces of components such as corners and drill holes: a fluid containing grinding particles is pumped through the component. However, flow dead zones can arise when a component has a complex form. In these cases, the flow stagnates at a specific spot, which results in the grinding process being ineffective in that area. To address this, a new magnetorheological flow grinding procedure for aluminum based components has been developed by scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany, in a joint project.

This process allows difficult to reach dead volume areas deep inside components to be accurately ground and polished.

29.01.2016 | nachricht Read more

Nano-coating makes coaxial cables lighter

Rice University scientists replace metal with carbon nanotubes for aerospace use

Common coaxial cables could be made 50 percent lighter with a new nanotube-based outer conductor developed by Rice University scientists.

28.01.2016 | nachricht Read more

A new magnetoresistance effect occurring in materials with strong spin-orbit coupling

These materials, which include metals such as platinum or tantalum, are characterized for being capable of generating a spin current from an electrical current (and viceversa) by means of the so-called spin Hall effect. For this reason, these materials are of outmost importance in the field of spintronics -the branch of science that is devoted to explore the generation, transmission and detection of spin currents in materials and devices.

The ultimate goal of spintronics is to have a deeper understanding of the charge-to-spin conversion and transport phenomena at the nanoscale in order to be...

27.01.2016 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Production of an AIDS vaccine in algae

Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.

The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...

Im Focus: The most accurate optical single-ion clock worldwide

Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".

Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...

Im Focus: Goodbye ground control: autonomous nanosatellites

The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.

Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...

Im Focus: Flow phenomena on solid surfaces: Physicists highlight key role played by boundary layer velocity

Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.

The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).

Im Focus: New study: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels

A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...

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