In recent decades, material scientists have made ever-stronger metals—but the techniques used to weld them often ruin their properties. Now, a team has developed a way to weld together these previously un-weldable materials.
Blending different metals together produces an alloy, but layering them instead creates a bimetal that often has unique properties. In this case, bimetal feet allow a tiny robot to walk across hot surfaces, without the need for any other power sources.
If you're not up on your fish-cum-metal news, then you might be forgiven for finding the idea of using fish sperm to recycle rare earth elements entirely bizarre. But no, fish sperm has a real albeit weird little niche in materials science. Let us be your guide through it.
Your gadgets contain tiny specks of precious and rare earth metals—we rely on these dust-sized particles, which are so small they're often not recycled because the cost of recycling outweighs the value of the metals. But according to the American Chemical Society, the overall value of these minute materials is massive.
Deep sea hydrothermal vents, home to exotic forms of life that exist nowhere else on earth, are very close to being commercially mined for precious and rare-earth metals. This could have profound effects on the isolated ecosystems surrounding the vents, some of which have existed for millennia.
Making metal is a dirty business, and we don't just mean in terms of getting your hands dirty. Creating useable metals from the ores that are dug from the ground is a heavily polluting endeavor—but it might be about to get a whole lot cleaner.
An international team of researchers has just published a paper confirming the existence of element number 117—ununseptium. It's the heaviest element ever created, with an atom of ununseptium outweighing an atom of lead by 40 percent. Make some room on your periodic table, there's a new metal in town.
Plants that eat metal sound like a biological impossibility. But these hungry little guys exist, sucking tiny bits of toxic metal from the soil. They don't just clean the Earth, either—they can actually mine bits of gold and nickel for use by humans.
Apple has just published its supplier responsibility report, which audits its contract workers who produce and assemble hardware in factories outside the US.
Rust is the worst enemy of any classic car owner, but it's also evidence of nature in the industrial age—an urban rot with occasionally beautiful side effects.
Rust. It's the product of metal oxidation, which we interpret as everything from a ruined car to a highly sought antique patina. And for this week's Shooting Challenge, you'll capture the beauty (or horror) of rust.
You have likely never paid much attention to tantalum when you've gazed at the periodic table. It sits there, in the middle of a sea of transition metals, kind of out of the way and in the corner.
There are six alkali metals: Lithium (Li), sodium (Na), potassium (K), rubidium (Rb), caesium (Cs) and francium (Fr). You're probably familiar with lithium, since it's inside the batteries of all your electronic devices.
This recently designed super-elastic iron alloy has two very different potential applications. It can be used to prevent blood vessels from collapsing and to return earthquake-deformed buildings to their original state.