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Articles in the METAL Category

EARTH, METAL »

[21 Nov 2011 | No Comment | 6,794 views]
The Lightest Material in the Entire World

 
Things are heavy right now, man. People are fighting wars, Wall Street is occupied, a large percentage of the workforce can’t find jobs, airport security procedures intensify in complexity by the minute, the rainforest is shrinking as I type … and that’s just the tip of the rapidly melting iceberg. So if you’re already feeling like Atlas with the weight of the world on your shoulders, you’ll be glad to find out that scientists recently invented a material so lightweight it makes styrofoam seem as heavy as a lead ingot.
In …

METAL »

[24 Jun 2011 | No Comment | 4,686 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 …

METAL, WATER »

[17 Jun 2011 | One Comment | 4,516 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 | 2,360 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 …

METAL, WOOD »

[12 Apr 2011 | No Comment | 2,584 views]
NASA’s “Magic Skin” for Airplanes Could Improve Building Envelope Tech

Most buildings don’t fly – well, I suppose that somewhere there may be some that do – but for the most part our built environment tends to touch down in one place and stay there.  In contrast, airplanes carry large groups of people at high speed, hurtling through the air over great distances; and the design of a plane must overcome a host of messy, complicated issues relating to flight with which your house or office building will never contend. Modern airplanes, like modern buildings, are functional and getting the job done, but I think …

METAL »

[3 Mar 2011 | One Comment | 6,161 views]
Metal Alloys you can Blow Mold like Plastic #biwinning

“I got tiger blood, man. My brain…fires in a way that is – I don’t know, maybe not from this particular terrestrial realm.” – Charlie Sheen
Until this week I thought that Charlie Sheen was your ordinary aging Hollywood actor. Really, if I thought about him at all, I assumed he was working on a TV show, staying tan/undergoing the occasional face lift, failing at some marriages, and I believed that human blood and maybe some high-quality cocaine were flowing through his veins. But now I have a completely different perspective.  Now I know that …

METAL, WOOD »

[7 Feb 2011 | 2 Comments | 6,865 views]
Materials in Motion: Super Elastic Plastic

 
I ordered a sample of super elastic plastic from Inventables, and when it came in I decided that it would be a lot easier to physically demonstrate how stretchy it is, rather than merely describing the elastic qualities of the material. Also the plastic came a lovely shade of pink (which may or may not have influenced my decision to order it in the first place) and I thought you might like to see the pinkness of it. All this is to say that I just made my first Materials in Motion video post, and …

METAL, WOOD »

[1 Feb 2011 | One Comment | 15,292 views]
Stretch Fabric Ceilings: Flexible, Light, and Fantastic

Depending on your approach, a ceiling can be a tricky proposition. Most of the time ceilings conceal the jumble of tangled wires, structure, ductwork, plumbing, and insulation that allow building systems to function. If you’re organized about it, you can leave the ceiling out altogether and simply expose the entrails. But if you’re looking to hide the mess up there, a gyp board, plaster or acoustic tile ceiling are probably among the systems you’re considering. But what happens when you want to do something a little different? What if you want your ceiling to glow?
I bring this …

METAL, WOOD »

[27 Dec 2010 | One Comment | 3,662 views]
Metaflex: Flexible Sheets that Bend Light, Making Objects Invisible

It’s the holiday season and people everywhere are wishing they had the power of invisibility.  Just imagine what you’d overhear at the office holiday party if you could mingle with your coworkers sight unseen!  You might also wish to disappear from time to time during Christmas dinner, in order to prevent being cornered by Aunt Sally or a similar relative given to detailed descriptions of bunion surgery and reports on the latest arrests and obituaries.  And maybe the power of invisibility could extend from people to objects; what would life be like if you …

FIRE, METAL »

[12 Nov 2010 | No Comment | 4,406 views]
Gold Nanoparticles Could Turn Street Trees into Street Lights!

Remember King Midas from Greek mythology?  Everything he touched turned to gold.  At first this was completely awesome and Midas ran around excitedly touching pots, spoons and incidental house cats, turning them all into gold so that he’d be able to trade the newly be-goldened objects for other things he wanted, like a quart of the very best EVOO or a deluxe chariot with side-impact airbags.  But Midas soon realized, much to his chagrin, that turning everything he touched into gold made simple actions like eating, hugging his significant other, or putting on a clean tunic highly problematic. 

Image courtesy pakrockerx.com
I was reminded of the …

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