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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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Rice engineers make first pure nanotube fibers

Discovery could allow industrial production of cables, sheets of pure carbon nanotubes Researchers at Rice University have discovered how to create continuous fibers of out of pristine single-walled carbon nanotubes. The process, which is similar to the one used to make Kevlar® on an industrial scale, offers the first real hope of making threads, cables and sheets of pure carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). The research is available online today from the journal Macromolecules. 10.12.2003 | nachricht Read more

A hot time for cold superconductors

A new way to manufacture a low-cost superconducting material should lead to cheaper magnetic resonance imaging machines and other energy-efficient applications, say Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists. Hot isostatic pressing of wires made of magnesium diboride, or MgB2, significantly increased the amount of electrical current the wires can carry without electrical resistance. Wires made from MgB2 would reduce the costs of such products as MRIs and electrical generators, say the researc 09.12.2003 | nachricht Read more

Tiny ’nanofingers’ to support sensors, other applications

Future sensors may take the form of microscopic finger-like structures developed at Ohio State University. Engineers here have found an easy way to carve the surface of inexpensive ceramic material into tiny filaments, creating a platform for devices that detect chemicals in the air. They could also be used to clean up toxic chemicals or gather solar energy, or to form fog-free or self-cleaning surfaces. Each filament, or "nanofinger," consists of a single crystal of the com 08.12.2003 | nachricht Read more

Copper wire shown to be competitive with fiber optic cable for LANS

Penn State engineers have developed and simulation tested a copper wire transmission scheme for distributing a broadband signal over local area networks (LANS) with a lower average bit error rate than fiber optic cable that is 10 times more expensive. Dr. Mohsen Kavehrad, the W. L. Weiss professor of electrical engineering and director of the Center for Information and Communications Technology Research who led the study, says, "Using copper wire is much cheaper than fiber optic cable and, 05.12.2003 | nachricht Read more

Ultra-thin coating traps DNA on a leash

A coating that tethers DNA to a glass surface and allows the molecule to attach in three different places could make DNA microarrays denser and more affordable, according to Penn State material scientists. DNA is the basis of enormous efforts in research and development in pharmaceutical and chemical industries across the country. To assay large numbers of DNA fragments, researchers use DNA microarrays – sometimes called biochips or genome chips. Currently, manufacture of these chips is time 05.12.2003 | nachricht Read more

Metallic foams

INASMET Technological Centre is working on a project to develop metallic foams. Metal foams and cellular metals have become one the preferred research fields in mew materials in recent times. Given their special structure and extreme lightness, they have enormous potential for use in a never-ending list of applications in diverse industrial sectors. Metallic foams are, as their name indicates, metallic materials with a porous structure. They can take either the form an open structure of int 04.12.2003 | nachricht Read more

New Production Technique May Let Scientists Fine-Tune Strength and Conductivity of Nanotube-Laced Materials

Materials fortified with carbon nanotubes are strongest when the embedded filaments run parallel to each other, but electronic and thermal conductivity are best when the nanotubes are oriented randomly. That the finding from a team of engineers at the University of Pennsylvania who have developed a production technique that permits a finer and more precise dispersion of nanotubes within a material. The results, which could give scientists the tools to customize nano-tube-laced materials to 03.12.2003 | nachricht Read more

Materials could make for super LEDs, solar cells, computer chips

Engineers at Ohio State University have overcome a major barrier in the manufacture of high quality light emitting devices and solar cell materials. Steven Ringel, professor of electrical engineering, and his colleagues have created special hybrid materials that are virtually defect-free -- an important first step for making ultra-efficient electronics in the future. The same technology could also lead to faster, less expensive computer chips. Ringel directs Ohio Sta 03.12.2003 | nachricht Read more

New look at layered material lends insight to silicon

Engineers at Ohio State University and their colleagues have taken an unprecedented look at the interface between layers of silicon and other materials in electronic devices. What they have learned may help traditional microelectronics remain vital to industry longer than most experts expect. It may even aid the design of other devices where one material meets another -- including medical implants. Using computer simulation, the engineers demonstrated for the first time how 02.12.2003 | nachricht Read more

MIT team mines for new materials with a computer

Ultimate goal: a public online database A computational technique used to predict everything from books that a given customer might like to the function of an unknown protein is now being applied by MIT engineers and colleagues to the search for new materials. The team’s ultimate goal: a public online database that could aid the design of materials for almost any application, from nanostructure computer components to ultralight, high-strength alloys for airplanes. 18.11.2003 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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