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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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Prions offer nanotech building tool

The same characteristics that make misfolded proteins known as prions such a pernicious medical threat in neurodegenerative diseases may offer a construction toolkit for manufacturing nanoscale electrical circuits, researchers report this week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists working at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and the University of Chicago write that they have used the durable, self-assembling fibers formed by prions as 01.04.2003 | nachricht Read more

NIST, international team develop materials data exchange language

Scientists and engineers trying to share materials property data over the Internet will have an easier time now thanks to a new computer language called MatML--Materials Markup Language--developed by an international group of researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), industry, government laboratories, universities, standards organizations and professional societies. MatML provides a standard format for managing and exchanging materials property data on the World Wide 27.03.2003 | nachricht Read more

Chemical force microscopy chooses materials for lightweight nanotube-based composites

Nanocomposites for space A microscopy technique originally developed to image the molecular-scale topography of surfaces is now helping engineers choose the right materials for a new generation of lightweight high-strength composites based on carbon nanotubes. Light, conductive and nearly as strong as steel, carbon nanotubes are being combined with lightweight polymers to produce composite materials with properties attractive for use on future space vehicles. But choosing th 25.03.2003 | nachricht Read more

Porous ceramic can sort proteins magnetically

In recent years chemists and materials scientists have enthusiastically searched for ways to make materials with nanoscale pores -- channels comparable in size to organic molecules -- that could be used, among other things, to separate proteins by size. Recently Cornell University researchers developed a method to "self-assemble" such structures by using organic polymers to guide the formation of ceramic structures. Now they have advanced another step by incorporating tiny magnetic particle 25.03.2003 | nachricht Read more

Making plastic smarter with protein

How do you improve on plastic, a modern material that has already changed the way we do everything from design medical devices to build cars? Embed it with specialized proteins called enzymes, says Shekhar Garde, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "Such protein-enhanced plastics might someday be able to act as ultra-hygienic surfaces or sensors to detect the presence of various chemicals," says Garde. These types of materials could have a wide 24.03.2003 | nachricht Read more

Mayonnaise as Model for Solid Plastics

Intriguing Structural Strategy Aims at Making Designer Plastics Affordable The future was supposed to be "plastics," according to advice given in a 1960s movie The Graduate. Many a company thought that future meant the gradual ascendancy of "designer" or specialty plastics, but almost 40 years later the market is still dominated by plastics that can be manufactured cheaply in bulk. Six researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and one at Helsinki U 24.03.2003 | nachricht Read more

Concrete less sensitive for cracks than previously thought

Reinforced high-strength concrete can crack due to stresses that develop during the hardening process. However, this has been found to be surprisingly less quick than previously thought. Due to Dutch research, extra steps during the hardening process can be omitted. This will result in cheaper concrete. Maya Sule from Delft University of Technology tested specimens of high strength concrete (concrete with little water) in a temperature stress testing machine (TSTM). Such tests indicate the 21.03.2003 | nachricht Read more

New Measurements Show Silicon Nanospheres Rank Among Hardest Known Materials

University of Minnesota researchers have made the first-ever hardness measurements on individual silicon nanospheres and shown that the nanospheres’ hardness falls between the conventional hardness of sapphire and diamond, which are among the hardest known materials. Being able to measure such nanoparticle properties may eventually help scientists design low-cost superhard materials from these nanoscale building blocks. Up to four times harder than typical silicon-a principal ingredient o 21.03.2003 | nachricht Read more

For markets of the future, success depends on advanced materials

Technical Insights’ materials and chemicals research service: Advanced materials technology Advanced materials look set to revolutionize numerous applications in the 21st century. Scientists and engineers are undertaking extensive research activities in their quest to develop sophisticated new materials that are more durable, environmentally friendly, and energy efficient. "Advanced materials and chemicals are the enabling building blocks for future devices and systems, 19.03.2003 | nachricht Read more

New generation of advanced membranes

The development of a new generation of membranes based on conducting polymers has been the subject of a recent line of research in the Department of New Materials at CIDETEC, in association with the LEIA Technological Centre. This involves a field of work wherein the excellent advantages presented by electro-dialysis conventional membranes (continuous separation, low energy consumption, ease of combination with other separation processes, absence of additives) are combined with other, highl 18.03.2003 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

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....

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