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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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Heat energy leaps through empty space, thanks to quantum weirdness

The finding could have profound implications for the design of microelectronic components where heat dissipation is key

If you use a vacuum-insulated thermos to help keep your coffee hot, you may know it's a good insulator because heat energy has a hard time moving through empty...

12.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

How light a foldable and long-lasting battery can be?

With the launch of wearable devices and smartphones that require high capacity of electricity such as foldable phones and 5G phones, the interest in batteries are increasing and various battery types are developed. For example, flexible batteries embedded in the mobile watch band or wireless power sharing batteries that have developed from wireless charging. However, there is no manufacturing of a battery that produces a battery with thousands milliamp Hour (mAh) capacity to be foldable. Recently, a research team from Korea developed a monolithic electrode that can replace heavy copper collectors and enabled development of a flexible battery with high capacity.

Professor Soojin Park of Chemistry and Division of Advanced Materials Science with his postdoctoral researcher, Jaegeon Ryu and his PhD student, Jieun Kang...

12.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

Self-driving microrobots

Most synthetic materials, including those in battery electrodes, polymer membranes, and catalysts, degrade over time because they don't have internal repair mechanisms. If you could distribute autonomous microrobots within these materials, then you could use the microrobots to continuously make repairs from the inside.

A new study from the lab of Kyle Bishop, associate professor of chemical engineering, proposes a strategy for microscale robots that can sense symptoms of a...

11.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

Detours may make batteries better

Rice University scientists show point defects in cathode crystals may speed lithium absorption

Here's a case where detours speed up traffic. The result may be better batteries for transportation, electronics and solar energy storage.

10.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

How to induce magnetism in graphene

Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...

10.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

A sustainable new material for carbon dioxide capture

In a joint research study from Sweden, scientists from Chalmers University of Technology and Stockholm University have developed a new material for capturing carbon dioxide. The new material offers many benefits - it is sustainable, has a high capture rate, and has low operating costs. The research has been published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a technology that attracts a lot of attention and debate. Large investments and initiatives are underway from politicians...

09.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

A robot and software make it easier to create advanced materials

Rutgers-led team pioneers automated way to make unique materials with polymers

A Rutgers-led team of engineers has developed an automated way to produce polymers, making it much easier to create advanced materials aimed at improving human...

06.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

First field measurements of laughing gas isotopes

Thanks to a newly developed laser spectrometer, Empa researchers can for the first time show which processes in grassland lead to nitrous oxide emissions. The aim is to reduce emissions of this potent greenhouse gas by gaining a better understanding of the processes taking place in the soil.

Nitrous oxide (N2O, also known as laughing gas) is one of the most important greenhouse gases. Although it is much less abundant in the atmosphere than carbon...

05.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

Making higher-energy light to fight cancer

Researchers use nontoxic silicon nanocrystals to convert low-energy photons into high-energy ones, bringing scientists closer to developing photodynamic treatments for cancer

Materials scientists at the University of California, Riverside and The University of Texas at Austin have demonstrated that it is possible to achieve photon...

05.12.2019 | nachricht Read more

Imaging technique gives catalytic 2D material engineering a better view

The properties of 2D transition metal dichalcogenides are attracting a great deal of interest, and one of the reasons is their catalytic activity. In particular, better catalysts are needed to exploit the potential of water electrolysis - splitting water into its component elements - to provide sustainable energy storage.

"MoS2 is one of the most promising precious rare metal-free catalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER)," point out Yasufumi Takahashi, Mingwei Chen,...

05.12.2019 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Cheers! Maxwell's electromagnetism extended to smaller scales

More than one hundred and fifty years have passed since the publication of James Clerk Maxwell's "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" (1865). What would our lives be without this publication?

It is difficult to imagine, as this treatise revolutionized our fundamental understanding of electric fields, magnetic fields, and light. The twenty original...

Im Focus: Highly charged ion paves the way towards new physics

In a joint experimental and theoretical work performed at the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, an international team of physicists detected for the first time an orbital crossing in the highly charged ion Pr⁹⁺. Optical spectra were recorded employing an electron beam ion trap and analysed with the aid of atomic structure calculations. A proposed nHz-wide transition has been identified and its energy was determined with high precision. Theory predicts a very high sensitivity to new physics and extremely low susceptibility to external perturbations for this “clock line” making it a unique candidate for proposed precision studies.

Laser spectroscopy of neutral atoms and singly charged ions has reached astonishing precision by merit of a chain of technological advances during the past...

Im Focus: Ultrafast stimulated emission microscopy of single nanocrystals in Science

The ability to investigate the dynamics of single particle at the nano-scale and femtosecond level remained an unfathomed dream for years. It was not until the dawn of the 21st century that nanotechnology and femtoscience gradually merged together and the first ultrafast microscopy of individual quantum dots (QDs) and molecules was accomplished.

Ultrafast microscopy studies entirely rely on detecting nanoparticles or single molecules with luminescence techniques, which require efficient emitters to...

Im Focus: How to induce magnetism in graphene

Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...

Im Focus: Electronic map reveals 'rules of the road' in superconductor

Band structure map exposes iron selenide's enigmatic electronic signature

Using a clever technique that causes unruly crystals of iron selenide to snap into alignment, Rice University physicists have drawn a detailed map that reveals...

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