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Articles Archive for June 2011

METAL »

[24 Jun 2011 | No Comment | 4,682 views]
Got Heat? Got Metal? MAKE ELECTRICITY!

I admit that my understanding of generators is pretty hazy, but I think the general idea is to wave magnets in front of conductive wire in an orderly fashion in order to produce a flow of current.  Once you have an electric current the door to a world of unmitigated awesome opens up and all of a sudden you have light when the sun has set and the ability to microwave popcorn.

Image courtesy todayifoundout.com
A fascinating new metal alloy material under development by researchers at the University of Minnesota, led by Professor Richard James, works …

EARTH »

[21 Jun 2011 | One Comment | 10,066 views]
TAKTL: Ultra High Performance Concrete

When the Romans were messing around with chemicals and rocks, looking for something that would allow them to construct barrel vaults and the odd aqueduct, I doubt they imagined that unreinforced concrete could one day achieve a level of refinement that would make the supremely elegant (late) Princess Grace look like a bit of a pig.

Image courtesy newcritic.com
But yes, the day has dawned: TAKTL is a new ultra high performance concrete (UHPC) with seemingly “unlimited potential in the architecture, landscape and product design industries” (Source: TAKTL).  This new material is similar to GFRC (Glass Fiber …

METAL, WATER »

[17 Jun 2011 | One Comment | 4,514 views]
Reynobond with Ecoclean: Smog-eating Metal Cladding

When I sat down to write this post I realized that it’s the 100th installment of materials information that I have submitted to the Interwebs, which, if this were a sitcom, would mean that I’d have a sheet cake with “Congratulations – 100 Posts!!!!” written in frosting set set out on a table, and the key grip would be elbowing the best boy out of the way for the corner piece with the biggest frosted rose on it.

Image courtesy ursulinesmsj.org
But since there’s no cake, I’m going to write about a …

METAL, WATER »

[14 Jun 2011 | No Comment | 2,356 views]
Metals that go from Hard to Soft on Command! (No Jokes, Please)

“The firmness of a boiled egg can be adjusted at will through the cooking time. Some decisions are, however, irrevocable – a hard-boiled egg can never be reconverted into a soft-boiled one. There would be less annoyance at the breakfast table if we could simply switch back and forth between the different degrees of firmness of the egg.
Similar issues arise in the making of structural materials such as metals and alloys. The materials properties are set once and for all during production. This forces …

WOOD »

[8 Jun 2011 | No Comment | 5,917 views]
Tensotherm with Nanogel: for Light, Insulated Tensile Roof Structures

Despite the fact that I usually run away screaming when faced with difficult calculations, I loved my structures classes in school. I liked building and destroying model bridges and learning how to manage earthquakes, but what I loved the most was thinking about tension and compression because I could feel those forces act on my body.
No really – it isn’t like learning about the War of Jenkins Ear, where you have to imagine being alive in the 1700’s and fighting with a large group of Spanish and British soldiers and …

EARTH, FIRE »

[3 Jun 2011 | One Comment | 6,361 views]
Glowcrete: Luminescent Concrete by Vergelabs

There’s something magic about things that glow – they’re suprising and delightful.  Think of that moment at the aquarium when you turn a corner and encounter a darkened tank illuminated by a school of luminous fish darting hither and yon, or nights spent staring up at a bedroom ceiling covered with constellations of glowing stick-on stars.
VergeLabs, an architecture and design practice based in the United Arab Emirates founded as a partnership between Ginger Krieg Dosier and Michael Dosier, brought some of that magic to concrete with their development of Glowcrete.

Image courtesy Vergelabs
The researchers used phosphorescent …

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