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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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The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

02.07.2020 | nachricht Read more

New materials of perovskite challenge the chemical intuition

High-pressure materials science has taken off over the last couple of decades with advances in previously difficult experimental techniques and from technologies such as diamond anvils, which squeeze samples of materials between two diamonds at pressures up to millions of times greater than that at the Earth's surface.

The field uses these extreme conditions that mirror the deep interior of planets to discover new materials, to modify the properties of known materials in...

02.07.2020 | nachricht Read more

How to design more reliable nano- and micro-electro-mechanical systems

Scientists analyse the deformation behaviour of silicon in nano/micro devices and publish their latest results in PNAS

Mobile phones, data storage for laptops, solar cells, power electronics for renewable energy, or sensors in cars are applications where silicon is the...

30.06.2020 | nachricht Read more

Researchers discover new boron-lanthanide nanostructure

The discovery of carbon nanostructures like two-dimensional graphene and soccer ball-shaped buckyballs helped to launch a nanotechnology revolution. In recent years, researchers from Brown University and elsewhere have shown that boron, carbon's neighbor on the periodic table, can make interesting nanostructures too, including two-dimensional borophene and a buckyball-like hollow cage structure called borospherene.

Now, researchers from Brown and Tsinghua University have added another boron nanostructure to the list. In a paper published in Nature Communications, they...

29.06.2020 | nachricht Read more

Process for 'two-faced' nanomaterials may aid energy, information tech

A team led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory used a simple process to implant atoms precisely into the top layers of ultra-thin...

29.06.2020 | nachricht Read more

An innovative catalyst with Pt, Re and SnO2 nanoparticles as anode material in ethanol fuel cells

Scientists working at the Department for Functional Nanomaterials at the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences designed and synthesized a functional ternary Pt/Re/SnO2/C catalyst as an anode material in a direct ethanol fuel cell. It was possible by synthesizing platinum, rhenium and tin oxide nanoparticles of a spherical shape and ensuring physical contact between them. This finding will lead to the production of more efficient, greener and cheaper fuel cell catalysts.

One of the biggest challenges modern science faces today is the development of new, efficient and environmentally friendly technologies for converting chemical...

25.06.2020 | nachricht Read more

Researchers sharply reduce time needed for glass and ceramic 3D printing

The fabrication of complex ceramic or glass structures via stereolithography, a type of 3D printing, has long been held back by how much time it takes at the back-end of the process, which can take up to two days. A new technique reduces this time down to less than 5 hours.

Stereolithography prints objects from CAD files out of a powder suspended in a liquid. Objects are built layer by layer out of this liquid by shining a light,...

25.06.2020 | nachricht Read more

Twisted WSe₂ as a highly tunable platform for the study of exotic phenomena

In recent years two-dimensional quantum materials have provided a platform for the realization of novel correlated and topological phases of matter. In a paper just published in Nature Materials, an international research team involving scientists from Germany, the United States, China and Japan reports that the twisted bilayer transition metal dichalcogenide WSe₂ enables the realization of exotic correlated phenomena, including high-Tc superconductivity and correlated insulators, in a controlled manner and without the geometrical restriction found in twisted bilayer graphene.

In their search for new materials which can conduct electricity without any resistance, the so-called superconductors, many scientists now investigate...

24.06.2020 | nachricht Read more

Dirac electrons come back to life in magic-angle graphene

A new symmetry-broken parent state discovered in twisted bilayer graphene

In 2018 it was discovered that two layers of graphene twisted one with respect to the other by a "magic" angle show a variety of interesting quantum phases,...

23.06.2020 | nachricht Read more

Researchers pioneer new production method for heterostructure devices

Researchers at the University of Exeter have developed a pioneering production method for heterostructure devices, based on 2D materials such as graphene.

The new study, published in Nature Communications, focuses on a production method, based around mechanical abrasion, where multilayer structures are formed...

22.06.2020 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: ScanCut project completed: laser cutting enables more intricate plug connector designs

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.

Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...

Im Focus: New Strategy Against Osteoporosis

An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.

Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...

Im Focus: AI & single-cell genomics

New software predicts cell fate

Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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