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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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A good first step toward nontoxic solar cells

Engineers discover lead-free perovskite semiconductor for solar cells using data analytics, supercomputers

Solar panel installations are on the rise in the U.S., with more than 2 million new installations in early 2019, the most ever recorded in a first quarter,...

29.07.2019 | nachricht Read more

Artificial heart valves: new coating procedure could reduce risk of thrombosis

A research team from materials science has developed a method of connecting plastics which enables completely new applications. For example in heart valves, to which hardly any blood adheres.

Heart valves regulate the blood flow, to ensure the body is supplied with enough blood. If they don’t close properly any more, for example due to a heart...

25.07.2019 | nachricht Read more

A new material for the battery of the future, made in UCLouvain

Renewable sources of energy such as wind or photovoltaic are intermittent. The production peaks do not necessarily follow the demand peaks. Storing green energy is therefore essential to moving away from fossil fuels. The energy produced by photovoltaic cells is stored during the day and by wind-power when the wind blows to be used later on when needed.

What do we have now?

17.07.2019 | nachricht Read more

Research shows black plastics could create renewable energy

New research could help to reduce plastic waste in the future

Research from Swansea University has found how plastics commonly found in food packaging can be recycled to create new materials like wires for electricity -...

17.07.2019 | nachricht Read more

Fraunhofer WKI develops sustainable sandwich elements made from wood foam and textile-reinforced

In a joint project with the Technische Universität Braunschweig, researchers from the Fraunhofer WKI have developed an innovative building element for the construction industry: a sandwich element with a wood-foam core and a thin cover layer of textile-reinforced concrete. It can be used, for example, as a lightweight curtain-wall element or in interior fittings. The high-performance wood foam requires no artificial binding agents and can be produced from regionally available wood residues. Through the utilization of wood foam instead of conventional foam based on petrochemicals, the proportion of particularly sustainable construction materials in buildings can be increased.

Wood-fiber materials are already being frequently used in the construction industry. The products used until now, such as fiberboard or oriented strand board,...

10.07.2019 | nachricht Read more

Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...

08.07.2019 | nachricht Read more

Anti-fingerprint surfaces: Nanocoating prevents greasy smears

Not only are greasy fingerprints on shiny stainless steel surfaces unattractive, they also attack the surface in question. A new nanocoating being developed by Fraunhofer researchers will in the future prevent the annoying smudges that result from fingers touching stainless steel surfaces. The key to their approach: special nanoparticles added to the coating.

The shiny new refrigerator features an attractive stainless steel front. But it doesn’t take long before the door is covered in dark fingerprints that are...

04.07.2019 | nachricht Read more

Environmentally friendly slide bearings with water lubrication: Sliding along on water

Machine bearings are usually lubricated with various oils. But today large quantities of these oils still end up in the environment. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM has developed a method which will in the future make it possible to lubricate slide bearings using water, a much more environmentally friendly approach.

Bearings are usually lubricated with mineral oil-based lubricants, preventing wear on the bearing from metal on metal contact. In Germany, approximately one...

03.07.2019 | nachricht Read more

Researchers design superhydrophobic 'nanoflower' for biomedical applications

The water repelling characteristic that plants possess inspired Texas A&M researchers to develop a way to control the hydrophobicity of a surface

Plant leaves have a natural superpower -- they're designed with water repelling characteristics. Called a superhydrophobic surface, this trait allows leaves to...

03.07.2019 | nachricht Read more

Lighter than aluminum and stronger than steel: innovative materials with carbon fibres made from algae

In combination with granite or other types of hard rock, carbon fibres make possible all-new construction and building materials. Theoretical calculations show: If the carbon fibres are produced from algae oil, production of the innovative materials extracts more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than the process sets free. A research project spearheaded by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is to further advance these technologies.

The most recent global climate report (IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C) considers manufacturing processes which use more carbon dioxide (CO2)...

01.07.2019 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Hamburg and Kiel researchers observe spontaneous occurrence of skyrmions in atomically thin cobalt films

Since their experimental discovery, magnetic skyrmions - tiny magnetic knots - have moved into the focus of research. Scientists from Hamburg and Kiel have now been able to show that individual magnetic skyrmions with a diameter of only a few nanometres can be stabilised in magnetic metal films even without an external magnetic field. They report on their discovery in the journal Nature Communications.

The existence of magnetic skyrmions as particle-like objects was predicted 30 years ago by theoretical physicists, but could only be proven experimentally in...

Im Focus: Physicists create world's smallest engine

Theoretical physicists at Trinity College Dublin are among an international collaboration that has built the world's smallest engine - which, as a single calcium ion, is approximately ten billion times smaller than a car engine.

Work performed by Professor John Goold's QuSys group in Trinity's School of Physics describes the science behind this tiny motor.

Im Focus: Quantum computers to become portable

Together with the University of Innsbruck, the ETH Zurich and Interactive Fully Electrical Vehicles SRL, Infineon Austria is researching specific questions on the commercial use of quantum computers. With new innovations in design and manufacturing, the partners from universities and industry want to develop affordable components for quantum computers.

Ion traps have proven to be a very successful technology for the control and manipulation of quantum particles. Today, they form the heart of the first...

Im Focus: Towards an 'orrery' for quantum gauge theory

Experimental progress towards engineering quantized gauge fields coupled to ultracold matter promises a versatile platform to tackle problems ranging from condensed-matter to high-energy physics

The interaction between fields and matter is a recurring theme throughout physics. Classical cases such as the trajectories of one celestial body moving in the...

Im Focus: A miniature stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots

Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.

Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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