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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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NIST chemists define and refine properties of plastic microsystems

There may well be a plastic biochip in your future, thanks in part to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Microfluidics devices, also known as "lab-on-a-chip" systems, are miniaturized chemical and biochemical analyzers that one day may be used for quick, inexpensive tests in physicians’ offices. Most microfluidics devices today are made of glass materials. Cheaper, disposable devices could be made of plastics, but their properties are not yet well understood. < 27.08.2002 | nachricht Read more

New antibacterial coating may prolong contact lens life

The hassle of removing and cleaning your contacts every night, or even every month, could become a thing of the past, based on a study involving a new contact lens coating that kills bacteria. The study involved rabbits. The coating: an extremely thin layer of selenium, a naturally occurring element found in soil, some plants and many foods we eat. The rabbits showed no ill effects after two consecutive months of wearing the coated lenses, according to Ted Reid, Ph.D., of Texas Te 22.08.2002 | nachricht Read more

Colloidal inks form self-supporting scaffolds through robocasting

A new way to assemble complex, three-dimensional structures from specially formulated colloidal inks could find use in advanced ceramics, sensors, composites, catalyst supports, tissue engineering scaffolds and photonic materials. As will be reported in the July 9 issue of the journal Langmuir, scientists have developed colloidal, gel-based inks that form self-supporting features through a robotic deposition process called robocasting. A computer-controlled robot squeezes the ink out of a s 20.06.2002 | nachricht Read more

LCD paint licked

Walls and curtains could sport liquid-crystal digital displays. Homes of the future could change their wallpaper from cream to cornflower blue at the touch of a button, says Dirk Broer. His team has developed paint-on liquid crystal displays (LCDs) that offer the technology. Liquid crystals are peculiar liquids: their molecules spontaneously line up, rather than being randomly orientated as in a normal liquid. Passing a voltage across the molecules switches their alignment, b 02.05.2002 | nachricht Read more

Osmium is Stiffer than Diamond, Scientists Discover

Whether it will compete for the title of a girl’s best friend remains to be seen but the element osmium can already challenge diamond in at least one respect: stiffness. According to a report published in the current issue of Physical Review Letters, osmium can withstand compression better than any known material. The results provide a potentially new lead in the search for superhard materials. Diamond’s ability to resist scratches, dents and chipping--in short, its hardness--makes 03.04.2002 | nachricht Read more

New company learns from spider`s ability to spin

A new spin-out from Oxford University, Spinox, is aiming to devise novel ways to copy spiders` ability to spin silks. The new silks may be used for sutures or woven material for surgical implants, protective clothing and in sports equipment. Spinox has been set up to fully develop a spinning process to create high performance fibres from natural or artificial proteins based on the principles used by spiders and insects to create natural silk fibres. This approach - biomimetic (mimicking biology) 07.03.2002 | nachricht Read more

Elektrischer Anstoß zur Selbstorganisation

Neue Materialien mit nichtlinearen optischen Eigenschaften Fensterscheiben und Brillengläser, die sich bei zunehmender Helligkeit dunkler färben, sind besonders im Sommer eine feine Sache. Optische Eigenschaften, die sich mit der Lichtstärke verändern, so genannte nichtlineare optische Eigenschaften, sind ihr Geheimnis. Auch als optoelektronische Bauteile sind derartige Materialien von Interesse. Voraussetzung für die besonderen optischen Eigenschaften ist eine sehr regelmäßigen Mikrostruktu 07.03.2002 | nachricht Read more

Ceramic research reaches new heights

Materials scientists at the University of Wales Aberystwyth (UWA) are taking ceramics to new heights in order to determine the structure and stability of the materials which are used to construct aeroplane engines and the tiles for the space shuttle. Dr Rudi Winter and colleagues from the Department of Physics at UWA are using a unique combination of techniques to study the materials at extreme temperatures which simulate those experienced when aircraft travel at high speed or when they dec 05.03.2002 | nachricht Read more

Breakthrough for nano threads

Europe is one step ahead of the US in the development of a new type of semiconductor structure consisting of incredibly thin nano threads. A Swedish team headed by Professor Lars Samuelson at the LTH, the Lund Institute of Technology, Lund University, has taken the lead in this field of research. “In nano threads, we can combine semiconductor materials that no one has previously been able to grow. This results in entirely new electrical properties: a single electron can be monitored and made to run a 27.02.2002 | nachricht Read more

Fire resistant plastics

The use of halogenated flame retardants in plastics is steadily declining because they are volatile, pose an environmental risk and are difficult to recycle. Microcapsules, fibers and melamine resin foams represent some of the chief alternatives. As successfully as the endless variety of plastics have established themselves on the market, these multifaceted materials show another face when it comes to fire. They melt and feed the flames like the petroleum from which they were ultimately pro 01.02.2002 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Energy-saving new LED phosphor

The human eye is particularly sensitive to green, but less sensitive to blue and red. Chemists led by Hubert Huppertz at the University of Innsbruck have now developed a new red phosphor whose light is well perceived by the eye. This increases the light yield of white LEDs by around one sixth, which can significantly improve the energy efficiency of lighting systems.

Light emitting diodes or LEDs are only able to produce light of a certain colour. However, white light can be created using different colour mixing processes.

Im Focus: Quantum gas turns supersolid

Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.

Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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