This looks like the kind of thin material you might make a trash bag out of. But that would be a waste because this material, made from carbon nanotubes, is stronger and more compliant than kevlar or carbon fiber.
There’s no denying that 3D printing is a fast and effective way to build new objects, but most engineers are taking tentative steps to its mass adoption because the results aren’t proven to be truly robust. Now, physicists hope to convince them once and for all.
When you compress most materials, you squash their atoms or molecules up against each other, shortening the bonds between them. But a new kind ultra-compressible material acts like a set of gears and springs that shrink in size.
Researchers from UCLA have created a new kind of metal composite made from magnesium infused with silicon carbide nanoparticles, and it’s both lightweight and super-strong.
Graphene is the best-known two-dimensional material, with its atom-thick layers proving plenty of fascinating material properties. But now a team of scientists has developed a new material with a similar structure that they’re calling borophene.
Material scientists are able to fuse together nanoparticles into complex miniature devices, but they currently use high temperatures which can damage the materials on which they’re built. Now, a new technique which uses less energy could help print them on plastic or paper.
Usually, dry glue is a sign that you need a new tube of adhesive. But researchers in Japan have developed a new type of glue that’s perfectly dry until you crush it—at which point it becomes super sticky.
It used to be the case that only skilled witches and wizards could make their origami fold itself. But now, clever Muggles have stumbled upon the non-magical secret behind autonomous paper—graphene.
In recent decades, material scientists have made ever-stronger metals—but the techniques used to weld them often ruin their properties. Now, a team has developed a way to weld together these previously un-weldable materials.
Like new cars, new telescopes come with their own unique smell. Unlike cars, telescopes are delicate enough that this smell can damage the high-precision instruments, killing them with their own outgassing. Here’s how NASA protects fragile space telescopes from themselves.
Perhaps you’re familiar with the strangeness of supercooled water: It stays liquid well below water’s freezing point until you give it a whack, and bam, it suddenly turns into solid ice. You’re probably less familiar diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP) derivatives, which has similar but also odder properties.
Lithium ion batteries are wonderful things, but they're unfortunately given to short circuiting and bursting into flames every now and then. It's extraordinarily rare, but it happens. A Stanford research team thinks they've solved this little big problem by building an early warning system into an existing battery.…
The gap between material science and actual construction is very far and very wide. It can take decades to move a breakthrough in engineering from a lab to a building site. But as architects and engineers face bigger challenges—from earthquakes to dwindling resources to sheer cost—a new generation of smart materials…
A few years ago, we looked at NASA's long project to design a paint so black, it would absorb nearly every bit of light around it (that's it above, in the "D" spot). Now, NASA has finally launched the stuff into space—which means that the six-year effort to make it is finally paying off. So, why is this such a vital…
Strong, durable materials are hard to recycle—they're designed to stand up to abuse. But research chemists at an IBM laboratory just published their discovery of a never-before-seen family of polymers that's super strong, self-healing, lightweight, and easy to recycle. And it was discovered completely by accident.
The heat of an active volcano. A 5,000 pound weight dropped from above. A sandstorm that lasts ten years. These are just some of the ways GE torture-tests the super-strong materials that go into jet engines, wind turbines, and more. And thanks to the company's fascinating YouTube channel, we get an up-close view of…
It's hard to be a bee these days, what with the sinister—and still mysterious—Colony Collapse Disorder decimating millions of hives over the past decade. But a few highly resourceful Canadian species have started adapting new nesting techniques, using plain old everyday plastic garbage to build their homes.
Alchemy, at 2,000 degrees Celsius. A new study from the Argonne National Laboratory reports that a group of scientists from Japan, Finland, America, and Germany have used lasers to turn liquid cement into a glassy, liquid metal.
Most of your exposure to silk probably comes in the form of uncomfortably sensual linens or cobwebs in a dusty old closet. In reality, though, silk is an incredible and overlooked material. While it may have roots in the ancient past, it could also form the building blocks of the future.
The new Zyvex Marine LRV-17 Long Range Vessel is a special kind of boat. The world's first manned water vessel made of nanocomposites, its hull is reinforced with carbon nanotubes to make it tougher and stronger—which is why it's going to be used to chase pirates.