The good minds at MIT have used a rubber-like polymer to predict how much light gets transmitted through a material, depending on its thinness and stretchiness. The material could lead to windows that automatically adjust the amount of light that’s let in.
There are already machines out there equipped with good pressure sensors, but those sensors are rarely sensitive or durable enough to make the machines as useful as humans at performing fine motor tasks. A new kind of graphene “skin” could change that, making it possible to create touch-sensitive robotic hands or even…
The very definition of a crystal relies on the notion of symmetry: the atoms line up in highly ordered, repeating honeycomb patterns, and that symmetry should be evident whichever way you look at it. Now physicists have stumbled upon a new type of crystal inspired by the orbits of satellites.
Chalk and seashells are made of the same thing: calcium carbonate. Shells are stronger because they have trapped proteins inside, and scientist had thought that these proteins were trapped like flies in amber. It turns out it’s way more organized than that.
Ever gotten off track working on origami (who hasn’t?), and wished you could figure out how to undo your last few folds? There’s a clever new material that might be able to help. It can revert to literally hundreds of earlier shapes by memory.
Sandia National Laboratories is building a shiny new accelerator to study how materials behave at extreme pressures. And they’ve named the new machine after Thor, Norse god of thunder, wielder of the mighty hammer Mjolnir, and member of Marvel’s beloved Avengers.
Hydrogen, that most simple of elements, is a gas—at least at the typical temperatures and pressures found here on Earth. But many scientists believe it it could exist in liquid metal form in the cores of gas giant planets like Jupiter, and physicists have been hunting for a solid metallic phase for the last 80 years.
Medieval artisans unwittingly used nanotechnology when they mixed gold chloride into molten glass to create richly hued stained glass windows. Soon we could have full-color displays or stained-glass windows that change color at the flick of an electrical switch, thanks to the same kinds of light-scattering…
It’s like the Avengers of inefficiency. Particles from different locations, having undergone vastly different journeys, all assemble, for one moment, to work as a group to jam up a hopper.
Researchers have discovered a new form of carbon structure, called Q-carbon, that’s harder than diamond and allows artificial versions of the precious stone to be made at room temperature and pressure.
Graphene, everybody’s favorite wonder material, has yet another trick up its sleeve. The ultra-strong, highly conductive carbon lattice is extraordinarily good at detecting faint and high frequency sound waves.
This is the least dense gold nugget in the entire world. It can be held up with a feather. And it’s supported by a space-age material often dubbed “frozen smoke.”
If the notion that humans will one day ascend into orbit on a rope of ultra strong carbon nanofibers sounds a bit out of this world, then you’re going to love the latest dazzling twist: our future space elevators might actually be built of diamond.
Scientists at the Queen’s University Belfast have just invented the world’s first “porous liquid,” and it’s being hailed as a major breakthrough. But what on Earth is it?
Scientists in Japan say they’ve fashioned glass that’s almost as strong as steel.
Your future windows, walls, and possibly boats will be made of ants — or at least of an ant-like substance. New research shows why ants classify as both a solid and a liquid, and why they’d make the best self-repairing building material.
The portabello mushroom: Great with grilled onions and ketchup, sure, but this fungus can do a lot more than console vegetarians at barbecues. In the future, the humble portabello mushroom might power everything from our smartphones to our cars.
Researchers in Germany recently discovered a way to manufacture rubber that can “heal” after being cut or pierced. In this incredible video, you can see the rubber growing back together.
Orbiting the Earth is a bit like living in a minefield, with millions of tiny flecks of space junk whizzing about at thousands of miles per hour. If a rice-sized pellet whacked into the International Space Station, it could pack the punch of a hand grenade, causing precious oxygen to seep into space.
Carbon nanofibers are an incredibly exciting material. They’ve been around for a long time, but still aren’t common, partially because they’re difficult and expensive to make. Now, a team of engineers say it figured out a simple way to make them–by sucking carbon dioxide straight out of the atmosphere.