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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.

Latest News:

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A remote control for neurons

A team led by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University has created a new technology that enhances scientists' ability to communicate with neural cells using light. Tzahi Cohen-Karni, associate professor of biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering, led a team that synthesized three-dimensional fuzzy graphene on a nanowire template to create a superior material for photothermally stimulating cells. NW-templated three-dimensional (3D) fuzzy graphene (NT-3DFG) enables remote optical stimulation without need for genetic modification and uses orders of magnitude less energy than available materials, preventing cellular stress.

Graphene is abundant, cheap, and biocompatible. Cohen-Karni's lab has been working with graphene for several years, developing a technique of synthesizing the...

04.06.2020 | nachricht Read more

Smart textiles made possible by flexible transmission lines

Professor Fabien Sorin and doctoral assistant Andreas Leber, at the Laboratory of Photonic Materials and Fibre Devices (FIMAP) in EPFL's School of Engineering, have developed a technology that can be used to detect a body's movements - and a whole lot more.

"Imagine clothing or hospital bed sheets capable of monitoring your breathing and physical gestures, or AI-powered textiles that allow humans to interact more...

03.06.2020 | nachricht Read more

Joined nano-triangles pave the way to magnetic carbon materials

Graphene triangles with an edge length of only a few atoms behave like peculiar quantum magnets. When two of these nano-triangles are joined, a "quantum entanglement" of their magnetic moments takes place: the structure becomes antiferromagnetic. This could be a breakthrough for future magnetic materials, and another step towards spintronics. An international group led by Empa researchers recently published the results in the journal "Angewandte Chemie".

The "miracle material" graphene - a two-dimensional honeycomb structure made of carbon atoms with a thickness of only one atom - has numerous outstanding...

02.06.2020 | nachricht Read more

Black nitrogen: Bayreuth researchers discover new high-pressure material and solve a puzzle of the periodic table

In the periodic table of elements there is one golden rule for carbon, oxygen, and other light elements. Under high pressures they have similar structures to heavier elements in the same group of elements. Only nitrogen always seemed unwilling to toe the line. However, high-pressure researchers of the University of Bayreuth have actually disproved this special status. Out of nitrogen, they have created a crystalline structure which under normal conditions occurs in black phosphorus and arsenic. The structure contains two-dimensional atomic layers, and is therefore of great interest for high-tech electronics. The scientists have presented this "black nitrogen" in "Physical Review Letters".

Nitrogen – an exception in the periodic system?

29.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

Argonne researchers create active material out of microscopic spinning particles

At the atomic level, a glass of water and a spoonful of crystalline salt couldn't look more different. Water atoms move around freely and randomly, while salt crystals are locked in place in a lattice. But some new materials, recently investigated by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, show an intriguing propensity to sometimes behave like water and sometimes like salt, giving them interesting transport properties and holding potential promise for applications like mixing and delivery in the pharmaceutical industry.

These so-called active materials contain small magnetic particles that self-organize into short chains of particles, or spinners, and form a lattice-like...

29.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

Oriented hexagonal boron nitride foster new type of information carrier

Valleytronics gives rise to valley current, a stable, dissipationless current which is driven by a pseudo-magnetic field, Berry curvature. This gives rise to valletronics based information processing and storage technology. A pre-requisite for the emergence of Berry curvature is either a broken inversion symmetry or a broken time-reversal symmetry. Thus two-dimensional materials such as transition metal dichalcogenides and gated bilayer graphene are widely studied for valleytronics as they exhibit broken inversion symmetry.

For most of the studies related to graphene and other two-dimensional materials, these materials are encapsulated with hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), a wide...

25.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

A replaceable, more efficient filter for N95 masks

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there's been a worldwide shortage of face masks -- particularly, the N95 ones worn by health care workers. Although these coverings provide the highest level of protection currently available, they have limitations. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Nano have developed a membrane that can be attached to a regular N95 mask and replaced when needed. The filter has a smaller pore size than normal N95 masks, potentially blocking more virus particles.

N95 masks filter about 85% of particles smaller than 300 nm. SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19) is in the size range of 65-125 nm, so some virus...

22.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

Capturing the coordinated dance between electrons and nuclei in a light-excited molecule

Revealing both sides of the story in a single experiment has been a grand scientific challenge

Using a high-speed "electron camera" at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists have simultaneously captured the movements...

22.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

4D electric circuit network with topology

In recent years, topology has emerged as an important tool to classify and characterize properties of materials. It has been found that many materials exhibit a number of unusual topological properties, which are unaffected by deformations, e.g., stretching, compressing, or twisting.

These topological properties include quantized Hall currents, large magnetoresistance, and surface excitations that are immune to disorder. It is hoped that...

20.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

2D molecular crystals modulating electronic properties of organic semiconductors

Organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) are the heart of plastic electronics. Doping has been proven to improve the performance of OFETs effectively. There are two major ways of doping OSCs.

The first strategy is bulk doping. Bulk doping involves the solution phase blending or vapor phase co-deposition of the dopants with the host OSCs. However,...

20.05.2020 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Restoring vision by gene therapy

Latest scientific findings give hope for people with incurable retinal degeneration

Humans rely dominantly on their eyesight. Losing vision means not being able to read, recognize faces or find objects. Macular degeneration is one of the major...

Im Focus: Small Protein, Big Impact

In meningococci, the RNA-binding protein ProQ plays a major role. Together with RNA molecules, it regulates processes that are important for pathogenic properties of the bacteria.

Meningococci are bacteria that can cause life-threatening meningitis and sepsis. These pathogens use a small protein with a large impact: The RNA-binding...

Im Focus: K-State study reveals asymmetry in spin directions of galaxies

Research also suggests the early universe could have been spinning

An analysis of more than 200,000 spiral galaxies has revealed unexpected links between spin directions of galaxies, and the structure formed by these links...

Im Focus: New measurement exacerbates old problem

Two prominent X-ray emission lines of highly charged iron have puzzled astrophysicists for decades: their measured and calculated brightness ratios always disagree. This hinders good determinations of plasma temperatures and densities. New, careful high-precision measurements, together with top-level calculations now exclude all hitherto proposed explanations for this discrepancy, and thus deepen the problem.

Hot astrophysical plasmas fill the intergalactic space, and brightly shine in stellar coronae, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants. They contain...

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

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