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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


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.

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Waste fiber can be recycled into valuable products using new technique of electrospinning, Cornell researchers report

It may soon be possible to produce a low cost, high-value, high-strength fiber from a biodegradable and renewable waste product for air filtration, water filtration and agricultural nanotechnology, report polymer scientists at Cornell University. The achievement is the result of using the recently perfected technique of electrospinning to spin nanofibers from cellulose. "Cellulose is the most abundant renewable resource polymer on earth. It forms the structure of all plants," says Margaret 11.09.2003 | nachricht Read more

Process developed for solvent-free acrylic fiber and cheap, fast carbon fibers

Carbon-fiber reinforced polymer matrix composite materials are strong without being brittle and retain their integrity over a wide temperature range while being impervious to most environments. While the materials’ qualities make them important to the aerospace industry, present processing technology makes carbon fiber too expensive for broader use, such as in the automotive industry. Chemistry and chemical engineering researchers at Virginia Tech and Clemson University have been worki 10.09.2003 | nachricht Read more

Printing plastic circuits stamps patterns in place

When Benjamin in "The Graduate" was told to go into plastics, computers were in their infancy and silicon technology ruled. Now, conducting organic polymers are infiltrating the electronics sphere and the watchword is once again plastics, according to Penn State researchers. "For plastic circuits we cannot use the old processing," says Dr. Qing Wang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering. "Photolithography and silicon technologies require harsh environments and plastics ca 10.09.2003 | nachricht Read more

Nanometer-sized particles change crystal structure when they get wet

As scientists shrink materials down to the nanometer scale, creating nanodots, nanoparticles, nanorods and nanotubes a few tens of atoms across, they’ve found weird and puzzling behaviors that have fired their imaginations and promised many unforeseen applications. Now University of California, Berkeley, scientists have found another unusual effect that could have both good and bad implications for semiconductor devices once they’ve been shrunk to the nanometer scale. Th 28.08.2003 | nachricht Read more

Polymer Foams as Charge Carriers

A research team in Austria has been unravelling the secrets of the charging of plastic foams. Its findings open the way for the development of flat microphones and loudspeakers, as well as "smart" surfaces that could be used as floor coverings, among other things. The interest in the success of the group´s work - which was co-funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) - has resulted in the integration of the project in a European interdisciplinary research network. During a thunder st 04.08.2003 | nachricht Read more

Titania nanotubes make supersensitive hydrogen sensors

Titania nanotubes are 1500 times better than the next best material for sensing hydrogen and may be one of the first examples of materials properties changing dramatically when crossing the border between real world sizes and nanoscopic dimensions, according to a Penn State materials scientist. "Historically, we have viewed sensor technology and enhancements from the point of view of surface area," says Dr. Craig A. Grimes, associate professor of electrical engineering and materials 30.07.2003 | nachricht Read more

Thermal treatment for magneto-resistant materials design

Reader heads of compact discs and computer hard discs or position and magnetic field sensors are some of the applications of magneto-resistant materials, which are normally obtained by costly methods. Precisely in order to solve this problem, university teacher María Luisa Fernández-Gubieda Ruiz, of the University of the Basque Country, is carrying out research into developing a simpler and more effective method for the preparation of these materials, based on their undergoing thermal treatment. The 09.07.2003 | nachricht Read more

Electronics sector progresses with breakthroughs in materials science

Technical Insights Electronics and Semiconductors Industry Impact Research Service: Developments and Opportunities in Advanced Electronic Materials Materials such as polymers, superconducting ceramics, and diamond films are likely to shape the electronics industry in the coming decade. Processing technologies for these improved materials will also gain importance. "Advanced materials are synthesized at nano levels, creating the possibility of achieving several new structures 09.07.2003 | nachricht Read more

Titanate thin films becoming a reality with crystal ion slicing

Technical insights’ advanced coatings and surface technology alert The recently developed method of crystal ion slicing (CIS) is rapidly gathering interest and attention as a novel way of successfully obtaining single-crystal thin films. The excellent opto-electrical properties of barium titanate, BaTiO3, make this ferroelectric crystal eminently suitable for applications such as capacitors, pyroelectric detectors, and nonlinear optics. These films possess high dielectric c 08.07.2003 | nachricht Read more

Scientists announce first 3-D assembly of magnetic and semiconducting nanoparticles

Scientists from Columbia University, IBM and the University of New Orleans today announced a new, three-dimensional designer material assembled from two different types of particles only billionths of a meter across. In the June 26 issue of the journal Nature, the team describes the precision chemistry methods developed to tune the particles’ sizes in increments of less than one nanometer and to tailor the experimental conditions so the particles would assemble themselves into repeating 3- 26.06.2003 | nachricht Read more
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