Discoveries within Materials Engineering Revolutionize Scientific Knowledge

Materials engineers and scientists have been working on a variety of projects and creating the “Renaissance of Materials” in recent years. For instance, R&D Magazine reported on one scientist, Perry Gerakines, who is developing a truly remarkable substance – a type of ice that requires a much colder and lower pressure environment than is found anywhere on Earth.

In particular, the material called amorphous ice is so revolutionary because it is made of a layer that is thinner than the size of a pollen grain. The ice will be utilized in future chemistry experiments taking place in space. Researchers from the Cosmic Ice Lab at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center will be using the substance for recreating the solar system’s history including the origination of life.

“This is not the chemistry people remember from high school,” Reggie Hudson, head of the Cosmic Ice Lab, told the news source. “This is chemistry in the extreme: bitter cold, harsh radiation and nearly non-existent pressure. And it’s usually taking place in gases or solids, because generally speaking, there aren’t liquids in interstellar space.”

Amorphous ice has been found in comets and moons within cold environments. Gerakines has formed the ice using amino acids, especially those involved with water interaction. Radiation is also conducted to create the final product.

“We find that some amino acids could survive tens to hundreds of millions of years in ice near the surface of Pluto or Mars and buried at least a centimeter deep in places like the comets of the outer solar system,” Gerakines told the source. “For a place that gets heavy radiation, like Europa, they would need to be buried a few feet.”

At the University of Utah, however, researchers have worked on a different material that is able to conduct electricity on its edges but partake in insulation through its center. The organic topological insulators, as they are called, are being used to transfer data through high-speed electronic devices and quantum computers.

The research behind this invention has been published in the journal Nature Communications. The engineers were able to create an interface between two films in order to produce the topological insulation in which electrons move along the alloy.

“This is the first demonstration of the existence of topological insulators based on organic materials,” senior author Feng Liu said in the press release. “Our findings will broaden the scope and impact of these materials in various applications from spintronics to quantum computing.”

These new discoveries are making an impact on the world of science as well as the many sectors delving in materials production, such as plastics, automotive, aerospace, biomedical, and education.

The aeronautical industry, for example, has made great use of composite materials in the building of airplanes, according to the AzoM Journal of Materials Online. The major reason for using these substances is due to the ultimate goal of improving lift to weight ratios of aircrafts. Composite materials are made up of two or more different parts, often including plastic and carbon fibers. The weight reduction from composites is as high as 50 percent and often provides higher strength at lower weight. Of course with all materials, whether traditional or leading edge innovative breakthroughs, the problem of testing remains an issue to be solved.

ADMET offers a variety of different materials testing machines to ensure that the products brought to market by the aerospace, automotive, foam, and plastics industries stand the test of time. Take a look at our website for great stories on how we are working across sectors to improve our customers’ ability to launch products. The type of tests that ADMET systems conduct include tension, compression, fatigue, shear, flexure, torsion, puncture, and peel strength. To learn more about ADMET products, please contact [email protected].


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By |March 14th, 2013|News|0 Comments