A new spin-out from Oxford University, Spinox, is aiming to devise novel ways to copy spiders` ability to spin silks. The new silks may be used for sutures or woven material for surgical implants, protective clothing and in sports equipment.
Spinox has been set up to fully develop a spinning process to create high performance fibres from natural or artificial proteins based on the principles used by spiders and insects to create natural silk fibres. This approach – biomimetic (mimicking biology)
Materials scientists at the University of Wales Aberystwyth (UWA) are taking ceramics to new heights in order to determine the structure and stability of the materials which are used to construct aeroplane engines and the tiles for the space shuttle.
Dr Rudi Winter and colleagues from the Department of Physics at UWA are using a unique combination of techniques to study the materials at extreme temperatures which simulate those experienced when aircraft travel at high speed or when they dec
Europe is one step ahead of the US in the development of a new type of semiconductor structure consisting of incredibly thin nano threads. A Swedish team headed by Professor Lars Samuelson at the LTH, the Lund Institute of Technology, Lund University, has taken the lead in this field of research. “In nano threads, we can combine semiconductor materials that no one has previously been able to grow. This results in entirely new electrical properties: a single electron can be monitored and made to run a
From cutlery and cooking pans to the inside of a Formula 1 car engine or a huge chemical process plant, stainless steel is all around us. It’s not meant to corrode, but it can, and when it does the results can be disastrous, whether it’s a hole in your dishwasher or a failed industrial plant.
Unlike rusting, stainless steel corrosion is highly localised and apparently random. Tiny holes called pits can drill through a substantial thickness of steel in a relatively short time. The pits can ca
The use of halogenated flame retardants in plastics is steadily declining because they are volatile, pose an environmental risk and are difficult to recycle. Microcapsules, fibers and melamine resin foams represent some of the chief alternatives.
As successfully as the endless variety of plastics have established themselves on the market, these multifaceted materials show another face when it comes to fire. They melt and feed the flames like the petroleum from which they were ultimately pro
Oxygen and light can alter the taste of foodstuffs. Manufacturers of packaging materials therefore try to protect contents from their influence. The latest approach is to use natural dyes in transparent plastic wrappers that selectively filter light.
Light and oxygen adversely affect the quality of most foodstuffs. In combination they cause various ingredients to undergo photo-oxidation. Fatty food substances become rancid and milk products develop an unpleasant “light-induced” taste. Certai