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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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Making New Materials an Atomic Layer at a Time

Researchers at Penn State’s Center for 2-Dimensional and Layered Materials and the University of Texas at Dallas have shown the ability to grow high quality, single-layer materials one on top of the other using chemical vapor deposition.

 This highly scalable technique, often used in the semiconductor industry, can produce new materials with unique properties that could be applied to solar...

18.04.2014 | nachricht Read more

Surprising material could play role in saving energy

Researchers discover tin selenide is best at converting waste heat to electricity

One strategy for addressing the world's energy crisis is to stop wasting so much energy when producing and using it, which can happen in coal-fired power...

17.04.2014 | nachricht Read more

An abundant and inexpensive water-splitting photocatalyst with low toxicity

Researchers at Japan's National Institute for Materials Science have discovered a new photocatalyst, Sn3O4, which facilitates the production of hydrogen fuel from water, using sunlight as an energy source.

Technology that allows the direct conversion of sunlight, an ultimate renewable energy, into chemical energies (i.e., fuels) that can be condensed and...

16.04.2014 | nachricht Read more

World's first successful visualisation of key coenzyme

Japanese researchers have successfully developed the world's first imaging method for visualising the behaviour of nicotine-adenine dinucleotide derivative (NAD(P)H), a key coenzyme, inside cells. This feat could ultimately facilitate the diagnosis of cancer and liver dysfunction and help to elucidate the mechanisms of neurological disorders.  

A Japanese research team led by Drs. Hirokazu Komatsu and Katsuhiko Ariga of the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics, in collaboration with...

16.04.2014 | nachricht Read more

Identifying the complex growth process of strontium titanate thin films

Researchers at Japan's National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) and Advanced Institute for Materials Research (AIMR) have achieved the first successful atomic-level observation of growing strontium titanate thin films.

Led by Assistant Professor Takeo Ohsawa of NIMS and Associate Professor Taro Hitosugi of Tohoku University's AIMR, a research team has developed a new advanced...

16.04.2014 | nachricht Read more

Repeated Self-Healing Now Possible in Composite Materials

Researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a 3D vascular system that allows for high-performance composite materials such as fiberglass to heal autonomously, and repeatedly.

Internal damage in fiber-reinforced composites, materials used in structures of modern airplanes and automobiles, is difficult to detect and nearly impossible...

16.04.2014 | nachricht Read more

KorroPad: New rapid test for stainless steel surfaces

KorroPad is the name given to a new rapid colour test developed at BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing that enables stainless steel surfaces to be tested inexpensively and rapidly and, most importantly, also by non-specialists.

The pleasure of many designs or components made of stainless steel sometimes declines after a short time. Instead of a beautiful metallic shininess,...

15.04.2014 | nachricht Read more

"Spacetex" project takes functional textiles into outer space

On 28 May 2014, the German ESA astronaut Dr. Alexander Gerst will take off from the cosmodrome in Baikonur/Kazakhstan, bound for the International Space Station (ISS). During the six-month "Blue Dot" mission, Dr. Gerst will be responsible for almost 40 different experiments including the "Spacetex" project, the first clothing physiology experiments to be carried out in a weightless environment. It is hoped that the “Spacetex” project will shed new light on the interaction between body, clothing and climate.

Experiments in zero gravity help with the development of innovative textiles for
extreme conditions on Earth

14.04.2014 | nachricht Read more

Glasses strong as steel: A fast way to find the best

Scientists at Yale University have devised a dramatically faster way of identifying and characterizing complex alloys known as bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), a versatile type of pliable glass that's stronger than steel.

Using traditional methods, it usually takes a full day to identify a single metal alloy appropriate for making BMGs. The new method allows researchers to...

14.04.2014 | nachricht Read more

Tiny particles could help verify goods

Some 2 to 5 percent of all international trade involves counterfeit goods, according to a 2013 United Nations report. These illicit products — which include electronics, automotive and aircraft parts, pharmaceuticals, and food — can pose safety risks and cost governments and private companies hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

Many strategies have been developed to try to label legitimate products and prevent illegal trade — but these tags are often too easy to fake, are unreliable,...

14.04.2014 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The malaria pathogen’s cellular skeleton under a super-microscope

A first step towards tailor-made drugs against the infectious disease

The tropical disease malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite. For its survival and propagation, Plasmodium requires a protein called actin. Scientists of...

Im Focus: Key milestone for brown fat research with a ground-breaking MRI scan

The first MRI scan to show 'brown fat' in a living adult could prove to be an essential step towards a new wave of therapies to aid the fight against diabetes and obesity.

Researchers from Warwick Medical School and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust used a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based method to...

Im Focus: World's first successful visualisation of key coenzyme

Japanese researchers have successfully developed the world's first imaging method for visualising the behaviour of nicotine-adenine dinucleotide derivative (NAD(P)H), a key coenzyme, inside cells. This feat could ultimately facilitate the diagnosis of cancer and liver dysfunction and help to elucidate the mechanisms of neurological disorders.  

A Japanese research team led by Drs. Hirokazu Komatsu and Katsuhiko Ariga of the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics, in collaboration with...

Im Focus: Earthquake simulation tops one quadrillion flops: Computational record on SuperMUC

A team of computer scientists, mathematicians and geophysicists at Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and Ludwig-Maximillians Universitaet Muenchen (LMU) have – with the support of the Leibniz Supercomputing Center of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (LRZ) – optimized the SeisSol earthquake simulation software on the SuperMUC high performance computer at the LRZ to push its performance beyond the “magical” one petaflop/s mark – one quadrillion floating point operations per second.

Geophysicists use the SeisSol earthquake simulation software to investigate rupture processes and seismic waves beneath the Earth’s surface. Their goal is to...

Im Focus: Odd Tilts Could Make More Worlds Habitable

Pivoting planets that lean one way and then change orientation within a short geological time period might be surprisingly habitable, according to new modeling by NASA and university scientists affiliated with the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

The climate effects generated on these wobbling worlds could prevent them from turning into glacier-covered ice lockers, even if those planets are somewhat far...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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