from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Civilizations were previously categorized by the materials they used: copper, bronze, iron, steel, plastic, etc. The advancements in material science haven't quite had as much of an impact on society as they used to. Still, there are plenty of really cool materials now that didn't exist just a few decades ago. Here are just a few examples.
- A metallic lattice is the current record-holder for being the lightest solid material -- beating out aerogels and low-density foams. This material is made up of hollow struts (up to 500-microns wide, made from a nickel-phosphorous alloy) that form a 3D lattice that looks like tiny scaffolding. [url]
- Aerogels used to be the lowest-density solid material for many decades, and it has several practical applications. Aerogels generally have very low thermal conductivities, so they can be useful for anything from cryogenic insulation to insulating shoe insoles. [url]
- Common metals, like steel, contain metal grains that can move along grain boundaries, but these boundaries can be made immobile by adding defects such as small particles. Nanometals are made with really small grain boundary defects -- which can create super strong materials that are also lightweight. Material scientists are constantly working on making metal alloys and composites to further understand how these nanostructures can be created. [url]
- To discover more interesting science-related stuff, check out what's currently floating around the StumbleUpon universe. [url]