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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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Mimicking the ultrastructure of wood with 3D-printing for green products

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have succeeded in 3D printing with a wood-based ink in a way that mimics the unique 'ultrastructure' of wood. Their research could revolutionise the manufacturing of green products. Through emulating the natural cellular architecture of wood, they now present the ability to create green products derived from trees, with unique properties - everything from clothes, packaging, and furniture to healthcare and personal care products.

The way in which wood grows is controlled by its genetic code, which gives it unique properties in terms of porosity, toughness and torsional strength. But...

27.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Shell increases versatility of nanowires

Nanowires promise to make LEDs more colorful and solar cells more efficient, in addition to speeding up computers. That is, provided that the tiny semiconductors convert electric energy into light, and vice versa, at the right wavelengths. Researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have managed to produce nanowires with operating wavelengths that can be freely selected over a wide range – simply by altering the shell structure. Fine-tuned nanowires could take on several roles in an optoelectronic component. That would make the components more powerful, more cost-effective, and easier to integrate, as the team reports in Nature Communications.

Nanowires are extremely versatile. The tiny elements can be used for miniaturized photonic and electronic components in nanotechnology. Applications include...

26.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Crystal with a twist: Scientists grow spiraling new material

Helical crystal could yield unexpected properties, like superconductivity

With a simple twist of the fingers, one can create a beautiful spiral from a deck of cards. In the same way, scientists at the University of California,...

21.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

A new manufacturing process for aluminum alloys

Process eliminates multiple steps typical in conventional extrusion

An advanced manufacturing process to produce nano structured rods and tubes directly from high-performance aluminum alloy powder -- in a single step -- was...

19.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Innovative powder revolutionises 3D metal printing

At TU Graz a steel powder has been developed for additive manufacturing which decisively simplifies the production of complex components. In a spin-off funding programme, work is now being done on market maturity.

Shorter production times, lower costs and fewer production faults. These are just some of the reasons why the metalworking industry is using additive methods...

19.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

A new paradigm of material identification based on graph theory

Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) and National Materials Genome Project have been launched by American and Chinese government in the past decade. One of the major goals of these missions is to facilitate the identification of materials data to speed material discovery and development. Current methods are promising candidates to identify structures effectively, but have limited ability to deal with all structures accurately and automatically in the big materials database, because different material resources and various measurement error lead to variation of bond length and bond angle.

Feng Pan and his colleagues, from Peking Univerisy Shenzhen Graduate School, propose a new paradigm based on graph theory (GT scheme) to improve the efficiency...

17.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Electron beam strengthens recyclable nanocomposite

Polymers reinforced with carbon fibers combine strength and low weight. They also boast significant green credentials as they are less resource-intensive during production and use, and they are readily recycled. While the mechanical properties of continuous-fiber laminates are sufficiently competitive for applications in aerospace and automobiles, composites reinforced with short carbon fibers could be attractive for fast-manufacture, and even 3D printing for applications with more moderate strength requirements.

As a result, there is keen interest in optimizing the mechanical properties of short-fiber reinforced thermoplastics to maximize on the potential of these...

17.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Using waves to move droplets

Self-cleaning surfaces and laboratories on a chip become even more efficient if we are able to control individual droplets. University of Groningen professor Patrick Onck, together with colleagues from Eindhoven University of Technology, have shown that this is possible by using a technique named mechanowetting. 'We have come up with a way of transporting droplets by using transverse surface waves. This even works on inclined or vertical surfaces'. The research was published in Science Advances on 14 June.

The idea of mechanowetting is basically very simple: put a droplet on a transverse surface wave, and the droplet will move with the wave. 'One of the...

17.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

Materials informatics reveals new class of super-hard alloys

Lehigh University researchers use data analytics and experimental microscopy to discover new high-entropy alloys, validating novel approach to new materials search

A new method of discovering materials using data analytics and electron microscopy has found a new class of extremely hard alloys. Such materials could...

14.06.2019 | nachricht Read more

LED-ing the way: A clean and convenient method to oxidize plastic surfaces for industry

Polypropylene (PP) is everywhere, being one of the most widely used plastics in human life. A versatile material, its naturally inert surface can be modified for specific applications. Researchers at Osaka University have now developed a convenient light-driven process for oxidizing PP without harmful waste.

As reported in ChemComm, the process uses radicals to make the plastic react. The surface of PP bristles with methyl groups (-CH3), which constitute the side...

11.06.2019 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

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,...

Im Focus: Vehicle Emissions: New sensor technology to improve air quality in cities

Researchers at TU Graz are working together with European partners on new possibilities of measuring vehicle emissions.

Today, air pollution is one of the biggest challenges facing European cities. As part of the Horizon 2020 research project CARES (City Air Remote Emission...

Im Focus: Self healing robots that "feel pain"

Over the next three years, researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, University of Cambridge, École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la ville de Paris (ESPCI-Paris) and Empa will be working together with the Dutch Polymer manufacturer SupraPolix on the next generation of robots: (soft) robots that ‘feel pain’ and heal themselves. The partners can count on 3 million Euro in support from the European Commission.

Soon robots will not only be found in factories and laboratories, but will be assisting us in our immediate environment. They will help us in the household, to...

Im Focus: Scientists create the world's thinnest gold

Scientists at the University of Leeds have created a new form of gold which is just two atoms thick - the thinnest unsupported gold ever created.

The researchers measured the thickness of the gold to be 0.47 nanometres - that is one million times thinner than a human finger nail. The material is regarded...

Im Focus: Study on attosecond timescale casts new light on electron dynamics in transition metals

An international team of scientists involving the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has unraveled the light-induced electron-localization dynamics in transition metals at the attosecond timescale. The team investigated for the first time the many-body electron dynamics in transition metals before thermalization sets in. Their work has now appeared in Nature Physics.

The researchers from ETH Zurich (Switzerland), the MPSD (Germany), the Center for Computational Sciences of University of Tsukuba (Japan) and the Center for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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