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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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Using computational chemistry to produce cheaper infrared plastic lenses

The new material could bring consumers affordable access to consumer-grade infrared detectors in products such as autonomous cars and in-home thermal imaging for security or fire protection

Five years ago, when University of Arizona materials scientist Jeffrey Pyun presented his first generation of orange-tinted plastic lens to optical scientist...

30.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

Researchers design tunable, self-recovering dyes for use in next-generation smart devices

The building blocks of rationally designed chemicals are simple elements: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and so on. These elements can be combined in myriad ways to accomplish a variety of chemicals with different characteristics. Even the same chemical can be treated differently - with pressure or heat, for example - to show drastically different properties. A simpler version is to think of how water can be boiled to cook pasta or frozen to become ice - the same ingredient can be made into two different states via temperature treatment.

Now, researchers are working to better control how the chemicals respond to treatment, as well as how to reverse the chemicals back to their original state...

25.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

Hydrogen boride nanosheets: A promising material for hydrogen carrier

Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology, University of Tsukuba, and colleagues in Japan report a promising hydrogen carrier in the form of hydrogen boride nanosheets. This two-dimensional material, which has only recently begun to be explored, could go on to be used as safe, light-weight, high-capacity hydrogen storage materials.

Innovative nanosheets made from equal parts of hydrogen and boron have a greater capacity to store and release hydrogen compared with conventional metal-based...

25.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

Composite metal foam outperforms aluminum for use in aircraft wings

The leading edges of aircraft wings have to meet a very demanding set of characteristics. New research shows that a combination of steel composite metal foam (CMF) and epoxy resin has more desirable characteristics for use as a leading-edge material than the aluminum currently in widespread use.

"We call our hybrid material 'infused CMF,'" says Afsaneh Rabiei, corresponding author of a paper on the work and a professor of mechanical and aerospace...

23.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

Kirigami inspires new method for wearable sensors

As wearable sensors become more prevalent, the need for a material resistant to damage from the stress and strains of the human body's natural movement becomes ever more crucial. To that end, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a method of adopting kirigami architectures to help materials become more strain tolerant and more adaptable to movement.

Similar to origami, the more well-known art of paper-folding, kirigami involves cutting in addition to folding. The team led by SungWoo Nam, associate...

22.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

Fraunhofer LBF and BAM develop faster procedure for flame-retardant plastics

Many modern plastic materials do not come without added flame protection. When developing new plastic compositions of this kind, the aim is to achieve an optimum combination of flame retardancy, processability and mechanical properties. Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF and the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung (BAM) have demonstrated how this objective can be achieved more quickly. The results of the project thus contribute to safe products on the market. Fraunhofer LBF will be presenting more about flame retardants at the "K" trade fair from October 16 to 23, 2019 at Plastics Europe in Hall 7 SC 09.

The researchers are proposing both accelerated procedures in processing and in the characterisation of fire behaviour. The numerous investigations within the...

21.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

For EVs with higher range: Take greater advantage of the potential offered by lightweight construction materials

Ultra-high-strength aluminium alloys are the future of lightweight construction in conventional and e-mobility. Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF is developing resource-optimized process technologies within the framework of ALLEGRO, the central project of LOEWE – Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz (State Offensive for the Development of Scientifically Economic Excellence), with which local component properties can be adjusted to meet future requirements. The scientists evaluate the entire process chain in order to optimize it economically and ecologically and to enable a more sustainable product design.

The expansion of electro-mobility requires electric cars to have longer ranges. Lightweight materials with optimized material properties can help put this into...

21.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

Bio-circuitry mimics synapses and neurons in a step toward sensory computing

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee and Texas A&M University demonstrated bio-inspired devices that accelerate routes to neuromorphic, or brain-like, computing.

Results published in Nature Communications report the first example of a lipid-based "memcapacitor," a charge storage component with memory that processes...

18.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

Chains of atoms move at lightning speed inside metals

Superioniclike diffusion in an elemental crystal: Bcc titanium

A phenomenon that has previously been seen when researchers simulate the properties of planet cores at extreme pressures has now also been observed in pure...

17.10.2019 | nachricht Read more

Stretchable circuits: New process simplifies production of functional prototypes

Stretchable circuits have the advantage that they also work in textiles such as clothing. However, their production is considered to be very costly. A new, simplified process has now been presented by two computer scientists from Saarland University. It is based on a so-called laser cutter and its precise, fast cuts. These are provided by easy-to-use software developed by Daniel Gröger and Professor Jürgen Steimle for designers. Since the necessary materials are available on the market, almost any person can now produce stretchable electronics for their own purposes.

A jacket that silences incoming calls when its sleeve is plucked. A bandage that sounds an alarm when the joint is bent too much. These are two of many...

17.10.2019 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Machine learning microscope adapts lighting to improve diagnosis

Prototype microscope teaches itself the best illumination settings for diagnosing malaria

Engineers at Duke University have developed a microscope that adapts its lighting angles, colors and patterns while teaching itself the optimal...

Im Focus: Small particles, big effects: How graphene nanoparticles improve the resolution of microscopes

Conventional light microscopes cannot distinguish structures when they are separated by a distance smaller than, roughly, the wavelength of light. Superresolution microscopy, developed since the 1980s, lifts this limitation, using fluorescent moieties. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have now discovered that graphene nano-molecules can be used to improve this microscopy technique. These graphene nano-molecules offer a number of substantial advantages over the materials previously used, making superresolution microscopy even more versatile.

Microscopy is an important investigation method, in physics, biology, medicine, and many other sciences. However, it has one disadvantage: its resolution is...

Im Focus: Atoms don't like jumping rope

Nanooptical traps are a promising building block for quantum technologies. Austrian and German scientists have now removed an important obstacle to their practical use. They were able to show that a special form of mechanical vibration heats trapped particles in a very short time and knocks them out of the trap.

By controlling individual atoms, quantum properties can be investigated and made usable for technological applications. For about ten years, physicists have...

Im Focus: Images from NJIT's big bear solar observatory peel away layers of a stellar mystery

An international team of scientists, including three researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has shed new light on one of the central mysteries of solar physics: how energy from the Sun is transferred to the star's upper atmosphere, heating it to 1 million degrees Fahrenheit and higher in some regions, temperatures that are vastly hotter than the Sun's surface.

With new images from NJIT's Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO), the researchers have revealed in groundbreaking, granular detail what appears to be a likely...

Im Focus: New opportunities in additive manufacturing presented

Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden demonstrates manufacturing of copper components

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Dresden has succeeded in using Selective Electron Beam Melting (SEBM) to...

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