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Articles tagged with: nano

FIRE, WATER, WOOD »

[10 Nov 2011 | No Comment | 11,909 views]
New Fully Stretchable OLED Will Make You Crave Taffy

 
Yesterday I bent over in the attempt to tie the absurdly bright purple shoe laces on my almost offensively bright purple sneakers and made a startling discovery: I’m not as flexible as I used to be.  In fact, the overwhelming tightness of my hamstrings makes your standard British upper lip look positively floppy; and as I fired up my smartphone to schedule some emergency yoga I was reminded that I had yet to share an amazing new fully stretchable OLED display recently developed at the University of California, Los Angeles, …

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 …

FIRE, WOOD »

[2 May 2011 | One Comment | 4,514 views]
New Color-changing Microsensor Material Detects Volatile Organic Compounds

When I think about a gas mask, for some reason my mind flits to a memory of a series of drawings by British sculptor Henry Moore, which I encountered at the Hirshorn while wandering through the Smithsonian one afternoon during college. The London Underground functioned as a shelter during WWII, and Moore made a series of dark gray moody drawings that convey his experiences sleeping in the tunnels along with thousands of other Londoners at the height of the Blitz.  I’m not really sure if any of the drawings actually depicted people wearing gas masks, but that feeling …

FIRE »

[27 Apr 2011 | No Comment | 2,736 views]
MIT Scientists Enlist an Army of Viruses to Improve Solar Cell Efficiency

For a long time I believed all viruses to be evil due to their pernicious habits: causing common colds, infecting people and spreading influenza and other viral diseases, and wiping out hard drives with grim efficiency.  A group of researchers at MIT decided to give viruses a chance to show a softer side, and they found out that “going viral” can benefit solar cell technology by improving its efficiency by one third.
Scientists have been working with carbon nanotubes (essentially, rolled up sheets of graphene) to encourage solar cells to convert …

FEATURED, Uncategorized »

[10 Jan 2011 | 5 Comments | 29,153 views]
10 Awesome Materials from 2010 and Reasons They are Awesome

ARCHITERIALS is a year old now, and like most healthy, well-adjusted one-year-olds it needs to be changed constantly, crawls all over my apartment, and makes strange burbling noises.  No, really – it does.  It’s terrifying.
Over the past year I’ve profiled approximately 65 materials and learned about blogging, bacteria, and biscuits, although I must confess that the biscuts were a side project.  A delicious, buttery side project.  Anyhow, to celebrate the birthday of ARCHITERIALS and the fact that the tagline “Investigating architectural materials since 2010” has finally attained temporal legitimacy, I’ve compiled for this, …

FIRE, METAL »

[12 Nov 2010 | No Comment | 4,400 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 …

METAL »

[29 Sep 2010 | No Comment | 2,044 views]
Chemically-activated Microtools: Grab Something Tiny!

Generally speaking, architecture is kind of a big deal.  What I mean is that architecture is large in size; it accomodates enormous objects like people, cars, eighteen-wheelers, and the occasional overfed cat.  The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, for example, is 2,717 feet tall; that’s just over half a mile by my calculations.  (I’ve seen entire hills shorter than the Burj Khalifa).  But the thing about BIG things is that they tend to result from organized aggregation of small things.  And so today I’d like to take a moment to explore the implications of the recent development of some really really ridiculously tiny …

FIRE »

[15 Sep 2010 | One Comment | 2,003 views]
Nanowire Matrix Skin for Robots, Artificial Limbs, (and Architecture?)

Sometimes human beings want to go to outer-space, or into a volcano, or all the way to the bottom of the sea.  The problem is that human beings are not particularly adapted to these environments, and without a lot of really intensive preparation and fancy gear, they will die spectacularly on arrival (if not before).  Robots designed to survive in these horrible places can go in our stead, and send back useful information about conditions there.  But it’s hard to create a robot that can survive adverse conditions and still respond to them like a human being …

EARTH »

[23 Jun 2010 | 3 Comments | 4,849 views]
Is Graphene Elvis or the Russell Brand of Materials?

Say what you will about Elvis Presley and his rhinestone-studed white jumpsuits, the man definitely made waves in movies and the music world.  Even half a century after his heyday I still catch Blue Hawaii airing on TV and even incurious millenials know Heartbreak Hotel.  In contrast to Elvis, I offer you Russell Brand: a man who appears to live life like a young Bret Michaels, and whose notoriety stems from a certain abrasive yet undeniable charisma.  Will Russell Brand’s … er … brand … stand the test of time?  Is he another Elvis?  I think …

FIRE »

[15 Jun 2010 | 3 Comments | 5,448 views]
Butterfly Wings, Colors, and Solar Cells

While I was in New York a few weeks ago I stopped by the American Museum of Natural History – mostly in order to pay a visit to @NatHistoryWhale – which, in case you’re not familiar, is a 1:1 replica of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling.  As I went to enter the gigantic hall of enormous ocean life I stopped short to examine a back-lit wall bedazzled with a fascinating array of taxidermied creatures including a 7 pound lobster from New Jersey. 

Images courtesy amnh.org and vipnyc.org 
Pinned up along one side of the wall was a row of brilliantly …

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