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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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A material with promising properties

Konstanz scientist synthesises an important ferromagnetic semiconductor

The Collaborative Research Centre CRC 1214 at the University of Konstanz has developed a method for synthesising Europium (II) oxide nanoparticles - a...

22.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Fine felted nanotubes: CAU research team develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes

Due to their unique properties, carbon nanotubes would be ideal for numerous applications, from ultra-lightweight batteries to high-performance plastics, right through to medical implants. But they either cannot be combined adequately with other materials, or they then lose their beneficial properties. Scientists from Kiel University and the University of Trento have now developed an alternative combining method, so that they retain their characteristic properties. As such, they "felt" the thread-like tubes into a stable 3D network that is able to withstand extreme forces. The research results have been published in the journal Nature Communications.

Extremely lightweight, electrically highly conductive, and more stable than steel: due to their unique properties, carbon nanotubes would be ideal for numerous...

22.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Borophene shines alone as 2-D plasmonic material

Rice University scientists calculate flat boron capable of visible plasmon emissions

An atom-thick film of boron could be the first pure two-dimensional material able to emit visible and near-infrared light by activating its plasmons, according...

21.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Quantum dots amplify light with electrical pumping

Los Alamos achieves light amplification with electrically stimulated quantum dots, critical step towards solution-processible laser diodes

In a breakthrough development, Los Alamos scientists have shown that they can successfully amplify light using electrically excited films of the chemically...

21.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Less is more to produce top-notch 2D materials

A simple technique for mass producing ultrathin, high-quality molybdenum trioxide nanosheets could lead to next-generation electronic and optoelectronic devices.

Molybdenum trioxide (MoO3) has potential as an important two-dimensional (2D) material, but its bulk manufacture has lagged behind that of others in its class....

20.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

The stacked colour sensor

Red-sensitive, blue-sensitive and green-sensitive colour sensors stacked on top of each other instead of being lined up in a mosaic pattern - this principle could allow image sensors with unprecedented resolution and sensitivity to light to be created. However, up to now, the reality hasn't quite met expectations. Researchers from Empa and ETH Zurich have now developed a sensor prototype that absorbs light almost optimally - and which is also cheap to produce.

The human eye has three different types of sensory cells for the perception of colour: cells that are respectively sensitive to red, green and blue alternate...

16.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Counterfeits and product piracy can be prevented by security features, such as printed 3-D microstructures

Forgeries and product piracy are detrimental to society and industry -- 3-D microstructures can increase security -- KIT researchers develop innovative fluorescent 3-D structures

Security features are to protect bank notes, documents, and branded products against counterfeiting. Losses caused by product forgery and counterfeiting may be...

16.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Alloys from the laser printer

In the future, new designer alloys for aerospace applications can be manufactured using the 3-D laser melting process (Additive Manufacturing). Pioneering work in this field was provided by Empa researcher Christoph Kenel, who works today at Northwestern University (Chicago). Empa grants him the Research Award 2017.

Titan-Aluminum alloys are combining low density, high strength and oxidation resistance at elevated temperatures and are therefore of high technical relevance...

15.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Fuel cell X-ray study details effects of temperature and moisture on performance

Experiments at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source help scientists shed light on fuel-cell physics

Like a well-tended greenhouse garden, a specialized type of hydrogen fuel cell - which shows promise as a clean, renewable next-generation power source for...

14.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

A gel that does not break or dry out

Developing robust gels full of ionic liquids

Researchers have developed a highly robust gel that includes large amounts of ionic liquid. The research team was led by Professor MATSUYAMA Hideto and...

09.11.2017 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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