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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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Artificial 'skin' gives robotic hand a sense of touch

UH researchers discover new form of stretchable electronics, sensors and skins

A team of researchers from the University of Houston has reported a breakthrough in stretchable electronics that can serve as an artificial skin, allowing a...

14.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

Graphene based terahertz absorbers

Printable graphene inks enable ultrafast lasers in the terahertz range

Graphene Flagship researches from CNR-Istituto Nanoscienze, Italy and the University of Cambridge, UK have shown that it is possible to create a terahertz...

13.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

Research team discovers 'rubber material' that could lead to scratch-proof paint for car

Led by Dr Elton Santos from the University's School of Mathematics and Physics, an international team of researchers have found superlubricity in a few layers of graphene - a concept where friction vanishes or very nearly vanishes. The experts also found that a few layers of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) are as strong as diamond but are more flexible, cheaper and lighter.

The findings, which have been reported in Nature Communications, reveal that the h-BN layers form the strongest thin insulator available globally and the...

08.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

“MuReA“ provides quick and large-scale laser applications

The Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoff- und Strahltechnik IWS developed the novel remote system concept (MuReA) for quick, flexible and efficient laser processing tasks. IWS scientists combined laser remote systems, spindle drives and high performance beam sources with each other. As a result, this novel laser system enables large-scale, flexible and quick processing tasks for materials such as aluminum, stainless steel as well as fiber reinforced polymers. Working areas of up to one square meter can be processed at a laser beam speed of up to 10 meters per second. In particular, the automotive and the aerospace industry will benefit from possible applications.

Fraunhofer IWS engineers developed and designed a novel multi remote system, which is available for basic research tests and for further projects. The...

07.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

A revolution in lithium-ion batteries is becoming more realistic

The modern world relies on portable electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras or camcorders. Many of these devices are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which could be smaller, lighter, safer and more efficient if the liquid electrolytes they contain were replaced by solids. A promising candidate for a solid-state electrolyte is a new class of materials based on lithium compounds, presented by physicists from Switzerland and Poland.

Commercially available lithium-ion batteries consist of two electrodes connected by a liquid electrolyte. This electrolyte makes it difficult for engineers to...

06.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

New fluorescent dyes could advance biological imaging

With a new technique to craft a spectrum of glowing dyes, chemists are no longer chasing rainbows.

Swapping out specific chemical building blocks in fluorescent molecules called rhodamines can generate nearly any color scientists desire - ROYGBIV and beyond,...

05.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

Diamond friction: simulation reveals previously unknown friction mechanisms at the molecular level

Diamond coatings help reduce friction and wear on tools, bearings, and seals. Lubricating diamond with water considerably lowers friction. The reasons for this are not yet fully understood.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Material Mechanics IWM in Freiburg and the Physics Institute at the University of Freiburg have discovered a new explanation for...

01.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

Insect eyes inspire new solar cell design from Stanford

Packing tiny solar cells together, like micro-lenses in the compound eye of an insect, could pave the way to a new generation of advanced photovoltaics, say Stanford University scientists.

In a new study, the Stanford team used the insect-inspired design to protect a fragile photovoltaic material called perovskite from deteriorating when exposed...

01.09.2017 | nachricht Read more

Technique could aid mass production of biodegradable plastic

Introducing a simple step to the production of plant-derived, biodegradable plastic could improve its properties while overcoming obstacles to manufacturing it commercially, says new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Jiangnan University.

That step? Bringing the heat.

31.08.2017 | nachricht Read more

New neutron holography technique opens a window for obtaining clear 3-D atomic images

People usually associate holograms with futuristic 3D display technologies, but in reality, holographic technologies are now being used to help study materials at the atomic level. X-rays, a high energy form of light, are often used to study atomic structure.

However, X-rays are only sensitive to the number of electrons associated with an atom. This limits the use of X-rays for studying materials made up of lighter...

29.08.2017 | 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,...

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