University of Cambridge researchers have discovered that a material already known for its peculiar electrical properties appears to behave as both a conductor and an insulator at the same time. This find could represent the discovery of an entirely new class of materials, challenging our current understanding of how metals behave.
A discovery at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of
Solids could pave the way for further leaps forward in the speed of
electronic systems. The finding that a material called niobium phosphide dramatically
increases its resistance in a magnetic field could lead to faster, higher-capacity hard drives and other electronic
When it comes to creating surfaces, it's a simple task to either make ones that are smooth or ones that are bumpy. But now researchers at MIT have created one that can be both. The 3D-printed surface they have created can be either smooth, bumpy, ridged, or channeled and can dynamically change texture through the application of pressure.
In a development that could mean big things in the automotive and marine industries, researchers from Deep Springs Technology (DST) and the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering have created a new metal matrix composite that is so light it can float on water. In addition to having potential marine applications, the material also boasts properties that would make it suitable for use in automobile components.
Carbon fiber has established itself as a wonder material in vehicle construction, with its mix of low weight and high strength being prized for many of the world's most advanced vehicles of land, sea and air. Austrian company Fipofix believes that it's identified a material better-suited to the high seas, saying that its specially processed volcanic fiber-based composite, more commonly known as basalt fiber, offers a better performance-price ratio than carbon fiber or fiberglass and can be recycled after use. The company is in the process of testing the material in some of the world's most extreme marine conditions.
A thin and flexible chameleon-like material developed by engineers at the University of California, Berkeley changes color when stretched or bent even tiny amounts. With potential applications in camouflage, structural fatigue sensors, display technologies, and more, the material's color changes reliably as it gets flexed thanks to rows of ridges that are precisely etched onto a silicon film one thousand times thinner than a human hair.
Homes may one day benefit from improved acoustic insulation with an orange flavor after researchers in Spain managed to turn waste material from orange trees into high-performance acoustic insulation. The new material is more environmentally friendly to produce and an improvement in terms of acoustic insulation compared to conventional laminated gypsum boards.
Computers have transformed architecture in remarkable ways. They've made it possible to visualize designs in fully-rendered 3D graphics and to automatically check designs against building codes and other standard specifications. And they've made designs possible that were unthinkable or unimaginable 50 years ago, as they can crunch the numbers on complex equations and even generate plans or models from high-level requirements. Architecture, like music
, and written stories
can be created algorithmically.
Spider's silk has long been the strongest natural material known to man, prompting researchers to attempt to uncover its secrets
so they can replicate its remarkable properties in man-made materials
. But scientists now have a new source of inspiration in the form of limpet teeth, which are made of a material researchers say is potentially stronger than spider silk, is comparable in strength to the strongest commercial carbon fibers, and could one day be copied for use in cars, boats and planes.
The robot revolution continues at NASA this month as its Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia prepares to bring its Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites (ISAAC) robot online. One of only three robots like it in the world, it will be formally commissioned on January 26 before being put to work making lighter, stronger composite components for aerospace vehicles.