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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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Crystal with a twist: Scientists grow spiraling new material

Helical crystal could yield unexpected properties, like superconductivity

With a simple twist of the fingers, one can create a beautiful spiral from a deck of cards. In the same way, scientists at the University of California,...

21.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

A new manufacturing process for aluminum alloys

Process eliminates multiple steps typical in conventional extrusion

An advanced manufacturing process to produce nano structured rods and tubes directly from high-performance aluminum alloy powder -- in a single step -- was...

19.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Innovative powder revolutionises 3D metal printing

At TU Graz a steel powder has been developed for additive manufacturing which decisively simplifies the production of complex components. In a spin-off funding programme, work is now being done on market maturity.

Shorter production times, lower costs and fewer production faults. These are just some of the reasons why the metalworking industry is using additive methods...

19.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

A new paradigm of material identification based on graph theory

Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) and National Materials Genome Project have been launched by American and Chinese government in the past decade. One of the major goals of these missions is to facilitate the identification of materials data to speed material discovery and development. Current methods are promising candidates to identify structures effectively, but have limited ability to deal with all structures accurately and automatically in the big materials database, because different material resources and various measurement error lead to variation of bond length and bond angle.

Feng Pan and his colleagues, from Peking Univerisy Shenzhen Graduate School, propose a new paradigm based on graph theory (GT scheme) to improve the efficiency...

17.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Electron beam strengthens recyclable nanocomposite

Polymers reinforced with carbon fibers combine strength and low weight. They also boast significant green credentials as they are less resource-intensive during production and use, and they are readily recycled. While the mechanical properties of continuous-fiber laminates are sufficiently competitive for applications in aerospace and automobiles, composites reinforced with short carbon fibers could be attractive for fast-manufacture, and even 3D printing for applications with more moderate strength requirements.

As a result, there is keen interest in optimizing the mechanical properties of short-fiber reinforced thermoplastics to maximize on the potential of these...

17.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Using waves to move droplets

Self-cleaning surfaces and laboratories on a chip become even more efficient if we are able to control individual droplets. University of Groningen professor Patrick Onck, together with colleagues from Eindhoven University of Technology, have shown that this is possible by using a technique named mechanowetting. 'We have come up with a way of transporting droplets by using transverse surface waves. This even works on inclined or vertical surfaces'. The research was published in Science Advances on 14 June.

The idea of mechanowetting is basically very simple: put a droplet on a transverse surface wave, and the droplet will move with the wave. 'One of the...

17.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Materials informatics reveals new class of super-hard alloys

Lehigh University researchers use data analytics and experimental microscopy to discover new high-entropy alloys, validating novel approach to new materials search

A new method of discovering materials using data analytics and electron microscopy has found a new class of extremely hard alloys. Such materials could...

14.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

LED-ing the way: A clean and convenient method to oxidize plastic surfaces for industry

Polypropylene (PP) is everywhere, being one of the most widely used plastics in human life. A versatile material, its naturally inert surface can be modified for specific applications. Researchers at Osaka University have now developed a convenient light-driven process for oxidizing PP without harmful waste.

As reported in ChemComm, the process uses radicals to make the plastic react. The surface of PP bristles with methyl groups (-CH3), which constitute the side...

11.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Tiny light box opens new doors into the nanoworld

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.

Photonics is concerned with various means of using light. Fibre-optic communication is an example of photonics, as is the technology behind photodetectors and...

11.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Organic electronics: a new semiconductor in the carbon-nitride family

Some organic materials might be able to be utilised similarly to silicon semiconductors in optoelectronics. Whether in solar cells, light-emitting diodes, or in transistors - what is important is the band gap, i.e. the difference in energy level between electrons in the valence band (bound state) and the conduction band (mobile state). Charge carriers can be raised from the valence band into the conduction band by means of light or an electrical voltage. This is the principle behind how all electronic components operate. Band gaps of one to two electron volts are ideal.

A team headed by chemist Dr. Michael J. Bojdys at Humboldt University Berlin recently synthesised a new organic semiconductor material in the carbon-nitride...

07.06.2019 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IDMT demonstrates its method for acoustic quality inspection at »Sensor+Test 2019« in Nürnberg

From June 25th to 27th 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau (Germany) will be presenting a new solution for acoustic quality inspection allowing contact-free, non-destructive testing of manufactured parts and components. The method which has reached Technology Readiness Level 6 already, is currently being successfully tested in practical use together with a number of industrial partners.

Reducing machine downtime, manufacturing defects, and excessive scrap

Im Focus: Successfully Tested in Praxis: Bidirectional Sensor Technology Optimizes Laser Material Deposition

The quality of additively manufactured components depends not only on the manufacturing process, but also on the inline process control. The process control ensures a reliable coating process because it detects deviations from the target geometry immediately. At LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be demonstrating how well bi-directional sensor technology can already be used for Laser Material Deposition (LMD) in combination with commercial optics at booth A2.431.

Fraunhofer ILT has been developing optical sensor technology specifically for production measurement technology for around 10 years. In particular, its »bd-1«...

Im Focus: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

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