7 New Materials That Could Change How Our Buildings Act

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… » 8/25/14 9:00am 8/25/14 9:00am

Why NASA Launched One of the Blackest Materials Ever Made Into Space

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… » 8/22/14 10:25am 8/22/14 10:25am

IBM Lab Accidentally Makes New Type of Super-Strong, Recyclable Polymer

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. » 5/16/14 11:00am 5/16/14 11:00am

Watch GE Torture-Test Supermaterials in the Most Vicious Ways

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… » 4/22/14 11:56am 4/22/14 11:56am

Bees To Humans: We'll Make Hives Out Of Your Plastic Trash

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. » 2/12/14 10:40am 2/12/14 10:40am