You’re looking at a perovskite. Not an Eastern European bird of prey, nor an exotic toy to play with in the wind, but a potential future of solar power. »
Recent research into the health effects of the plastic-making chemicals phthalates has reignited concerns about low sperm counts. But the evidence is far from conclusive. »
The prospect of a material that can change color yet is still flexible enough to wear as clothing is a perennial sci-fi dream—and now amazingly close to reality. This new electronic skin is just a few microns thick and yet manages to change color, acting as a credible digital display. »
These gloves may look fairly normal, but the warning message on the side is made from a a silk compound which changes color once they’re exposed to bacteria such as E. coli—providing a means of spotting and avoiding exposure. »
This cubic pavilion was constructed in the heart of Valencia in March. With its crisp, straight geometric lines and lustrous silver finish, it looks like it’s made of metal: aluminum? Some kind of steel? Or maybe, just maybe, it’s cardboard. »
Even the hardest of materials react to immense pressures. In this image, x-ray imaging reveals how a laser-generated shock wave propagates through a piece of diamond. »
The strongest material on Earth, fictional substances included, is a hockey puck. It’s true. After surviving against the red hot nickel ball and going toe to toe with liquid nitrogen, it totally edges out adamantium and whatever T-1000 was made out of. Here’s another battle that it holds up admirably to: thermite,… »
Amid a revolution in low-energy lighting, some scientists are returning to older ways of thinking. Now, graphene has been turned into a working filament, lighting up when it’s pumped with electricity. »
Moving water from one position to another, higher one usually requires power—be that your arms to carry it or a motor to drive a pump. But this device can actually move liquid uphill without any external energy source.
This lump of polymer may look nice and smooth right now, but given a shove it can form complex pasterns of ridges or bumps on its surface—the result of 3D printing the harder, black material within a softer matrix. »
According to Gravity, space debris causes untold damage to spacecraft—and space agencies do indeed spend a lot of time testing materials they put into orbit. This image shows what happens when a sand grain-sized piece of aluminium oxide strikes aluminum sheet at hypervelocity. Ouch.
Boom... and nothing. A hockey puck doesn’t break when you freeze it in liquid nitrogen and then smash it with a hammer or drop an 80 pound weight on it. But that’s because hockey pucks are meant for the cold, right!? Well, even if you go the opposite way and try to torch it with the vaunted red hot nickel ball, the… »
Generally speaking, wood is often put into one of two categories- hardwood and softwood. But what exactly makes a given piece of wood qualify as either hard or soft and how did those definitions come about? »
It might look like some kind of food wrap, but this roll of red rubber is rather more special than that: it’s a new flexible material that creates electricity as it deforms.
A master optician sounds like some form of wizardry but that’s basically what Peter Thelin, master optician at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is. He can make telescopes and microscopes and pretty much turn and shape and hand-polish any and all optical materials in his lab. It’s fun to hear him talk about his… »
Ubiquitous in many classrooms since the 19th century, chalk and chalkboards are familiar to most of us. White, powdery and prone to sticking to those surfaces where it is put (and just as easy to wipe away), chalk and its accompanying board are excellent instructional aids. Notably, however, most chalk today isn’t… »