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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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Pitt researchers create durable, washable textile coating that can repel viruses

New research published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces could lead to safely reusable PPE

Masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) are essential for protecting healthcare workers. However, the textiles and materials used in such...

14.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

Transporting energy through a single molecular nanowire

Why single wires are superior to bundles

Photosynthetic systems in nature transport energy very efficiently towards a reaction centre, where it is converted into a useful form for the organism....

11.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

Computer vision helps SLAC scientists study lithium ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries lose their juice over time, causing scientists and engineer to work hard to understand that process in detail. Now, scientists at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have combined sophisticated machine learning algorithms with X-ray tomography data to produce a detailed picture of how one battery component, the cathode, degrades with use.

The new study, published May 8 in Nature Communications, focused on how to better visualize what's going on in cathodes made of nickel-manganese-cobalt, or...

08.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

Research found a new way to make functional materials based on polymers of metal clusters

Researchers at the universities of Jyvaskyla (Finland) and Xiamen (China) have discovered a novel way to make functional macroscopic crystalline materials out of nanometer-size 34-atom silver-gold intermetallic clusters. The cluster material has a highly anisotropic electrical conductivity, being a semiconductor in one direction and an electrical insulator in other directions. Synthesis of the material and its electrical properties were investigated in Xiamen and the theoretical characterization of the material was carried out in Jyvaskyla. The research was published online in Nature Communications on May 6, 2020.

The metal clusters were synthesized by means of wet chemistry adding gold and silver salts and ethynyladamantane molecules in a mixture of methanol and either...

07.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

Fly ash geopolymer concrete: Significantly enhanced resistance to extreme alkali attack

Fly ash generated by coal-fired power stations is an environmental headache, creating groundwater and air pollution from vast landfills and ash dams. Some of the waste product can be repurposed into geopolymer concrete, such as pre-cast heat-cured elements for structures.

However, a critical durability problem has been low resistance to extreme alkali attack. Researchers at the University of Johannesburg have found that high...

07.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

How to put neurons into cages

Using microscopically fine 3D printing technologies from TU Wien (Vienna) and sound waves used as tweezers at Stanford University (California), tiny networks of neurons have been created.

Microscopically small cages can be produced at TU Wien (Vienna). Their grid openings are only a few micrometers in size, making them ideal for holding cells...

06.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

Crystal power

The diamonds and other crystals on view in science museum exhibits are a delight to the eye. What contributes to their sometimes dazzling geometric shapes and colors is their highly ordered arrangement of atoms. For the crystalline materials in battery electrodes, their ordered microstructure has practical benefits for ease of the ion transfer within the electrode during charge and discharge.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have created and tested a single-crystal electrode that promises to yield...

05.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

Bayreuth high-pressure researchers discover nitrogen compounds with surprising structures

Nitrides are nitrogen compounds with technologically highly attractive properties. They therefore have the potential for widespread application in microelectronics, optoelectronics, and as ceramic materials. Researchers at the University of Bayreuth have now discovered unusual nitrides in high-pressure experiments. Nitrogen and metal atoms combine under very high pressures to form porous crystal structures with channels in which nitrogen molecules become embedded. The findings published in the journal „Angewandte Chemie International Edition” offer valuable starting points for the design and synthesis of new high-tech materials.

Counter-intuitive: high pressure creates cavities

05.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

User research at BESSY II: How new materials increase the efficiency of direct ethanol fuel cells

A group from Brazil and an HZB team have investigated a novel composite membrane for ethanol fuel cells. It consists of the polymer Nafion, in which nanoparticles of a titanium compound are embedded by the rarely explored melt extrusion process. At BESSY II they were able to observe in detail, how the nanoparticles in the Nafion matrix are distributed and how they contribute to increase proton conductivity.

Ethanol has five times higher volumetric energy density (6.7 kWh/L) than hydrogen (1.3 kWh/L) and can be used safely in fuel cells for power generation. In...

05.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

Rubies on sapphire: Recipe for making crystals in flux

Crystals can be made artificially but a lot of energy is used to melt the ingredients together, and this can make them expensive. This problem can be overcome by using appropriate solvents. Called the flux method, crystals are grown in a crucible that contains solvents that allow the crystal to form with less energy because dissolution will happen easier.

Imagine having table salt, and wanting to form crystals of a desirable structure. The salt can be heated to its melting point which would take a lot of energy,...

04.05.2020 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

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...

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

Im Focus: Rolling into the deep

Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...

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