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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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New materials for high-voltage supercapacitors

The new material has an energy density 2.7 times higher than conventional materials

A research team led by Tohoku University in Japan has developed new materials for supercapacitors with higher voltage and better stability than other...

07.02.2019 | nachricht Read more

Developed self-controlling 'smart' fuel cell electrode material

A research team led by Professor Kang Taek Lee in the Department of Energy Science and Engineering developed electrode material for a new form of high-performance Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC). Since SOFC, which generates electricity by reacting hydrogen (fuel) with oxygen in the air, emits only water after reaction, is ecofriendly, and has little restrictions in installation place, it is drawing limelight as a new and renewable energy technology that is appropriate for distributed generation . However, it has been difficult to obtain stable supply due to the rapid performance decline of electrode generating power amidst sudden stop and the suspension of fuel supply.

Professor Lee's team developed a new electrode material designed in a double perovskite structure to solve the stability of SOFC electrode. Inside the...

07.02.2019 | nachricht Read more

How safe is graphene?

Graphene is considered one of the most interesting and versatile materials of our time. The application possibilities inspire both research and industry. But are products containing graphene also safe for humans and the environment? A comprehensive review, developed as part of the European graphene flagship project with the participation of Empa researchers, investigated this question.

Graphene, a single layer of hexagonally arranged carbon atoms, is regarded as the miracle material of the future: it is flexible, transparent, strong, can...

07.02.2019 | nachricht Read more

Nano-infused ceramic could report on its own health

Rice University-led simulations show unique ceramic could act as a sensor for structures

A ceramic that becomes more electrically conductive under elastic strain and less conductive under plastic strain could lead to a new generation of sensors...

06.02.2019 | nachricht Read more

Quantum sensors providing magnetic resonance with unprecedented sensitivity

The QUTIS group at the UPV/EHU has participated in a piece of international research together with the CSIC and the University of Ulm in Germany

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is the technique behind a variety of applications, such as medical imaging, neuroscience or detection of drugs and explosives.

01.02.2019 | nachricht Read more

Graphene crinkles can be used as 'molecular zippers'

A decade ago, scientists noticed something very strange happening when buckyballs -- soccer ball shaped carbon molecules -- were dumped onto a certain type of multilayer graphene, a flat carbon nanomaterial. Rather than rolling around randomly like marbles on a hardwood floor, the buckyballs spontaneously assembled into single-file chains that stretched across the graphene surface.

Now, researchers from Brown University's School of Engineering have explained how the phenomenon works, and that explanation could pave the way for a new type...

01.02.2019 | nachricht Read more

What keeps spiders on the ceiling?

A team of researchers from Kiel University and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht deciphers the details of adhesive structures of spider legs

Hunting spiders easily climb vertical surfaces or move upside down on the ceiling. A thousand tiny hairs at the ends of their legs make sure they do not fall...

01.02.2019 | nachricht Read more

Superinsulators to become scientists' quark playgrounds

Scientists widely accept the existence of quarks, the fundamental particles that make up protons and neutrons. But information about them is still elusive, since  their interaction is so strong that their direct detection is impossible and exploring their properties indirectly often requires extremely expensive particle colliders and collaborations between thousands of researchers. So, quarks remain conceptually foreign and strange like the Cheshire cat in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," whose grin is detectable -- but not its body.

An international group of scientists that includes materials scientist Valerii Vinokur from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory...

31.01.2019 | nachricht Read more

Feather structure and bone anatomy as a biomimetic model for new adhesives and flying objects

Researchers from INM and the University of California, San Diego found that the length of the humerus bone varies in a characteristic way with the body weight of the bird to optimize lift. By contrast, the elements of the feather attachments (barbules) are spaced equally for all bird species to optimally control airflow.

Scientists discover universal principles of evolution

29.01.2019 | nachricht Read more

Taking magnetism for a spin: Exploring the mysteries of skyrmions

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have discovered the relaxation dynamics of a zero-field state in skyrmions, a spinning magnetic phenomenon that has potential applications in data storage and spintronic devices.

Skyrmions are nanoscale whirls or vortices of magnetic poles that form lattices within a magnetic material, a type of quasiparticle that can zip across the...

24.01.2019 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

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...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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