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Articles tagged with: plastic

WATER, WOOD »

[10 Jan 2012 | No Comment | 10,507 views]
Radiant Light Film: Learning to Make Rainbows from Butterflies

 
Sometimes the beginning of the year is a little bit … well … boring. Everyone is working out at the gym and eating healthy green foods, and even though the sun still sets at an ungodly hour, all the festive holiday parties are over.  This admirably disciplined January attitude is great for working off all the pfeffernüsse you shoved in your face and chased with rum-laced egg nog at your Aunt Betty’s house in December, but if you’re not careful all of this new-found rigidity and focus could negatively affect …

WOOD »

[5 Sep 2011 | One Comment | 7,734 views]
Actuated Matter Workshop Part 2: Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic

 
Even thinking about glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) makes me itchy. The reason for this is that the glass strands involved with this material are so fine (by which I mean that they are extremely thin and tiny, rather than that they are really really ridiculously good looking) that they get caught in your skin and clothes and become profoundly irritating, after the manner of a wood splinter or Brett Favre.

Image courtesy taiwan.xpshou.com
At the Actuated Matter Workshop in Zurich, we were introduced to a particular configuration of GFRP developed by …

EARTH, WOOD »

[21 Apr 2011 | 2 Comments | 5,538 views]
Stronger than Kevlar: Plastic Reinforced with Nanocellulose Fibers from Pineapples!

It’s always a shock to find out that something you thought you made up is actually (or at least mostly) true.  Take the post I wrote for April Fool’s Day about a new plastic made from pulverized Tulip leaves: I thought that heating and then pulverizing plant fibers into a fine powder and suspending them in a polymer matrix to make a super-strong material was a crazy idea of my own making that sounded faintly feasible.  As it turns out, Brazilian researchers at Sao Paulo State University are at this very moment working on a new plastic …

EARTH, FEATURED, WOOD »

[1 Apr 2011 | 2 Comments | 34,760 views]
Stronger than Steel! Amazing New Super Plastic Made from Tulip Leaves

In the early 1600’s, the Dutch found themselves completely overcome by Tulip mania. Demand for these perennial flowers skyrocketed to the point where you could have fed six modest families for thirty seven years on what some people paid for a bulb.  People were making fortunes trading rare species.  Had the flower joined Twitter, it would have made Justin Bieber look profoundly unpopular.  But within a short period of time the “tulip bubble” burst, leaving fields of flowers to rot and leaving many merchants as ruined as victims of a …

WOOD »

[24 Mar 2011 | No Comment | 3,658 views]
A Machine that Converts Plastic Bags back into Usable Oil

Sometimes I think that discarded plastic bags have the same kind of dangerous beauty as poisonous tree frogs, toxic waste, or Courtney Love. Have you ever spotted a lone grocery store bag tumbling down the road or lodged in the topmost branches of a tree? They tend to billow and pulse with currents of air, and to produce subtle crackling noises like a slow-burning fire. But most of the time I don’t feel poetic, and it just seems like trash is everywhere around us and I grow disheartened.

Image courtesy dartfrog.co.uk
As it turns out, there …

METAL »

[3 Mar 2011 | One Comment | 6,157 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 …

FIRE, WOOD »

[22 Feb 2011 | No Comment | 3,333 views]
Alert! New Plastics Capable of Conducting Electricity

Isn’t it delightful when materials demonstrate unexpected capabilities? It pleased me to no end to discover that plastic, which is normally such a poor conductor of electricity that it is used to insulate copper wires, can practically lead Beethoven’s Ninth under the right conditions. The feeling is similar to what I imagine I’d experience upon finding out that a block of cheddar cheese can be MacGyvered into a supercomputer.

Image courtesy www.samcooks.com
Australian researchers at the University of Queensland and UNSW School of Physics have managed to manufacture cheap, strong, flexible and conductive plastic films by placing a thin film of metal onto a …

METAL, WOOD »

[7 Feb 2011 | 2 Comments | 6,845 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 …

FEATURED, Uncategorized »

[10 Jan 2011 | 5 Comments | 29,157 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, WATER, WOOD »

[5 Jan 2011 | No Comment | 2,896 views]
Lightweight, 1/4″ Thick, Blast-Resistant Glass for the Masses!

Let’s assume for a moment that you are the Pope (because hey, this is the Internet and we can pretty much assume anything that suits our purposes, right?)  Okay, so let’s say your Holiness wants to head out of the Vatican and take a brief vacation at a villa that the Church happens to own on the Italian Sea Coast.  The ride out there shouldn’t be much of  problem danger-wise, because everybody knows that the “Popemobile” is bulletproof and “thicker than a 300 page novel” (Verrico).  But what if someone wants to cause trouble …

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