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 the … » 4/22/14 11:56am Tuesday 11:56am

The Cool Promise of Machines That Run on Body Heat

The human body at rest radiates 100 watts of heat—heat that does nothing other than make crowded rooms stuffy. But body heat can be converted to electricity, and new technology is always improving the process. With the rise of wearables, the body heat-powered device becomes an ever more tantalizing promise. » 4/14/14 1:00pm 4/14/14 1:00pm

This Synthetic Mother of Pearl Is Ten Times Tougher Than Ceramics

Ceramics are an increasingly common material to work with—from hard-wearing bearings to heat-proof cladding on spacecraft—but they all share one fatal weakness: they're fragile. Now, though, inspired by nature, researchers are making a ceramic that mimics mother of pearl—and is ten times stronger than normal ceramics. » 3/25/14 4:00pm 3/25/14 4:00pm

Amazing Aerogel: Eight Looks at the Ghostly Supermaterial in Action

Aerogel must be one of the strangest supermaterials to ever exist. Ghostly and shimmering in appearance, it's insanely light, incredibly strong, and an amazing thermal insulator. And its tricks look absolutely impossible when you see them up close. » 3/21/14 10:00am 3/21/14 10:00am

The History of Invisibility and the Future of Camouflage

In 2004, the U.S. Army made a colossal mistake. It introduced a new digital camouflage called the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP), a single pattern designed to work across all environments. Only a few months later, however, as the war in Iraq was intensifying by the day, every soldier on the ground knew the truth:… » 1/27/14 1:02pm 1/27/14 1:02pm

These Intricate Collars Look Like Fish Bones, Are Actually 3D-Printed

These complex collars look like like they're made from freaky shark jaws or the skeleton of some crazy underwater menace, but they were actually borne directly from a 3D printer. MadLab designer Madeline Gannon did start with an aquatic inspiration, though—the virtual movement of a digital squid. » 1/23/14 5:20pm 1/23/14 5:20pm

What Happens When Water Freezes in a Box So Strong It Can’t Expand?

Some readers may recall a science class in which an excitable teacher walked to the front of the class to show off a small, cracked steel container, seemingly damaged by an incredibly powerful, but tiny force; only for said teacher to reveal that the damage had been done by nothing more than water. However, what would… » 1/14/14 6:40am 1/14/14 6:40am