New Iron-Aluminum Alloy Is Strong and Light as Titanium, 10% of the Cost

The best materials are, by and large, the most expensive: carbon fiber, diamond and scandium all have properties to lust for, but an eye-watering price tag to match. Now, material scientists have tweaked an iron-aluminum alloy at the nano-scale to make a material that's as strong and light as titanium, another… » 2/05/15 7:30am 2/05/15 7:30am

What Are Capacitors and Will They Really Charge Your Phone in Seconds?

Your phone died. Again. In these scenarios, who among us has not dreamed the dream of a future where our devices charge instantly and last forever. As capacitors—or even more exciting, ultracapacitors—get better and better at storing energy, they could replace batteries and realize at least one half of that dream. » 2/02/15 12:04pm 2/02/15 12:04pm

Makerbot Is Letting You 3D Print With Metal, Limestone, and Wood

Makerbot—perhaps the most consumer-friendly of 3D printer manufacturers—is about to go a long way toward turning the tech into something consumers can actually use. Starting late this year, MakerBot is going to let you 3D print with a range of new materials, including composites of limestone, iron, and wood. » 1/06/15 10:40am 1/06/15 10:40am

Making a screw flush with the surface is like creating invisibility

When a screw sticks out on metal or isn't perfectly flush with the surface, an angel in heaven loses an eyeball. Or something like that. But fret not eyeballs of angels in heaven, people of Earth can make a screw completely flush. It's a lot of filing and sanding and hammering but eventually the screw disappears. » 12/16/14 9:11pm 12/16/14 9:11pm

How Scotch Tape Was Invented

Despite the name, Scotch tape wasn't invented by the Scottish. It was invented by a college dropout named Richard Drew from Minnesota who worked for a small sandpaper company founded in 1902 called Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, later known as 3M. The name "Scotch" itself has an origin story almost as interesting… » 12/03/14 5:30am 12/03/14 5:30am

Making metal framed eyeglasses looks like a fun lab experiment

I'm pretty sure the only time I prefer the look and feel of plastic over metal is with the frames of glasses. I just like acetate frames more. But! The process of making metal frames, like these pair of metal MYKITA glasses, is so interesting that I may need to get a pair. It's like watching scientists in a lab… » 11/24/14 9:37pm 11/24/14 9:37pm

The process of turning raw cow hide into leather is really gross


Leather is beautiful and luxurious and natural and one of the great materials of the world. However, it's absolutely gross to make. Here's the process of tanning raw hide into high quality leather. You'll see gray goops, a lot of residue, dumps of bizarre liquids and more. Worth it? I guess. » 11/20/14 9:29pm 11/20/14 9:29pm

How the addictive magic material known as bubble wrap is made

You can have your graphene or your insane non-flammable fabric or some NASA space material, magic material to me will always be bubble wrap. It's catnip for humans with souls and the process to make it is pretty fascinating. It starts with resin that is vacuumed out and heated to create a film and used to trap air. » 10/07/14 1:23am 10/07/14 1:23am