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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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Studies of 'amorphous ice' reveal hidden order in glass

The waves at the bottom of old window panes are a reminder that solid glass behaves like a very slow-moving liquid. Now a new study challenges the notion that the atomic structure of glass is indistinguishable from that of a liquid ­- at least for a certain kind of glass called "amorphous ice" that forms when water is cooled to very low temperatures.

In the study, researchers at Princeton University and the City University of New York used computer simulations to show that the water molecules in amorphous...

04.10.2017 | nachricht Read more

Electrically heated textiles now possible via UMass Amherst research

In a new paper in Applied Materials & Interfaces, UMass Amherst scientists describe how they use a vapor deposition method for nano-coating fabric to create sewable, weavable, electrically heated material

Commuters, skiers, crossing guards and others who endure frozen fingers in cold weather may look forward to future relief as manufacturers are poised to take...

29.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

A little tension yields enormous solar crystals

In the race to replace silicon in low-cost solar cells, semiconductors known as metal halide perovskites are favored because they can be solution-processed into thin films with excellent photovoltaic efficiency. A collaboration between KAUST and Oxford University researchers has now uncovered a strategy that grows perovskites into centimeter-scale, highly pure crystals thanks to the effect of surface tension.

In their natural state, perovskites have difficultly moving solar-generated electricity because they crystallize with randomly oriented grains. Osman Bakr from...

27.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

Graphene forged into three-dimensional shapes

Researchers from Finland and Taiwan have discovered how graphene, a single-atom-thin layer of carbon, can be forged into three-dimensional objects by using laser light. A striking illustration was provided when the researchers fabricated a pyramid with a height of 60 nm, which is about 200 times larger than the thickness of a graphene sheet. The pyramid was so small that it would easily fit on a single strand of hair. The research was supported by the Academy of Finland and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of China.

Graphene is a close relative to graphite, which consists of millions of layers of graphene and can be found in common pencil tips. After graphene was first...

27.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

Stopping problem ice -- by cracking it

By manipulating substructures in a special silicone coating, researchers have reduced the ability of ice to stick to a surface to record lows

Scientists and engineers have been waging a quiet but determined battle against an unlikely problem: the build-up of ice on different structures.

21.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

New biomaterial could replace plastic laminates, greatly reduce pollution

An inexpensive biomaterial that can be used to sustainably replace plastic barrier coatings in packaging and many other applications has been developed by Penn State researchers, who predict its adoption would greatly reduce pollution.

Completely compostable, the material -- a polysaccharide polyelectrolyte complex -- is comprised of nearly equal parts of treated cellulose pulp from wood or...

21.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

Robust and functional – surface finishing by suspension spraying

With thermally sprayed particle suspensions, previously unattained layer qualities can be achieved. The complete solution for surface finishing of heavily stressed components is now being put into practice by Fraunhofer researchers from Dresden. Industrial applications benefit from increased process stability and reliability.

Rollers with precise printing performance in the paper industry or offshore equipment in aggressive saltwater – coatings protect these components even under...

19.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

Digging sensors out of an efficiency hole

The key to ultrathin high-efficiency sensors and solar cells could be materials covered with tiny trenches.

Future ultrathin solar cells and light sources could have their surfaces covered by tiny trenches, after A*STAR researchers found such structures enhance...

19.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

Graphene and other carbon nanomaterials can replace scarce metals

Scarce metals are found in a wide range of everyday objects around us. They are complicated to extract, difficult to recycle and so rare that several of them have become "conflict minerals" which can promote conflicts and oppression. A survey at Chalmers University of Technology now shows that there are potential technology-based solutions that can replace many of the metals with carbon nanomaterials, such as graphene.

They can be found in your computer, in your mobile phone, in almost all other electronic equipment and in many of the plastics around you. Society is highly...

19.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

Test strips for cancer detection get upgraded with nanoparticle bling

The most common test strip people might think of for diagnosis is a home pregnancy test. Pregnant women have steadily increasing levels of the biomarker human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is easily detectable in urine and a thin, colorful strip of antibodies will appear when hCG is present.

However, there's a lot more hCG in pee than there is of cancer biomarkers in blood. Identifying minute concentrations is the greatest challenge of test strips...

14.09.2017 | 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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