Where electronics are concerned, the future is two-dimensional and very, very thin. One molecule thin, to be exact. That’s not quite as thin as a sheet of graphene, but new research from MIT shows that while one-atom-thick graphene shows exceptional strength and other novel properties, the future of electronics lies with materials like molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) that are a couple of atoms thicker but much, much easier to work with.
We've been impressed in the past by aerogel, a lattice-like solid that's almost entirely made of air but can support weight and also has tremendous insulating properties. Then last year an ultralight metal caught our eye, weighing in at 99.99 percent air, which leaves 0.01 percent solid.
Now we are excited to meet aerographite, a sponge grown of carbon nanotubes that's the least dense solid ever: a cubic centimeter of it weighs just two ten-thousandths of a gram.
One of the most fascinating threads running through The Kitchen As Laboratory, a collection of essays edited by a trio of food scientists and published earlier this year, is the application of rigorous testing and measurement to a realm that has classically been very subjective. In the test pictured above, after egg yolks are poached at a constant temperature for a varying number of minutes, a rheometer is used to precisely measure the resulting texture, in pascal-seconds.
Metamaterials research has generally focused on media with strange or unique electromagnetic properties, like the ability to bend light or sound in an unnatural way, but materials scientists at Northwestern University are experimenting with an entirely new kind of material with unique mechanical properties. A team there has designed materials with “negative compressibility” that in theory will compress when they are pulled and expand when they are compressed.
Dr. David Edwards, of Harvard University's Wyss Institute, is the man behind the controversial (as in, the FDA plans to investigate its safety) breathable caffeine and other vitamins, has been working on a new futuristic food item: edible containers. They've already created tomato containers with gazpacho inside, among other treats.
Invisible warriors: the engineering breakthroughs that will make everything from planes to subs to soldiers...disappear
By David HamblingPosted 01.04.2012 at 10:03 am 55 Comments
The youngest active stealth bomber in the U.S. turns 15 this year, and the other 19 B-2s in the Air Force fleet are nearly five years older. Meanwhile, the integrated defense systems they face have become much more sophisticated. Multi-static radar, which is now relatively common, is so sensitive that it can detect certain stealth craft. To stay ahead of such defense systems, the Air Force has budgeted $3.7 billion over the next five years to develop a successor to the B-2 that could be active by 2020. Actual designs of the new bomber are classified, but some secrets are already out.
In the latest issue of Soft Matter, a team of biochemists from Kyoto University show off their latest creation: a crab shell that came from a normal crab, but which has been made as clear as glass. The hapless crustacean's chitinous exoskeleton was treated with hydrochloric acid, lye, and ethyl alcohol, which removed all the pigments, proteins, and whatnot while leaving the chitin substrate intact.
A collaboration of researchers from HRL, CalTech, and UC Irvine have created the new world's lightest material--some 100 times lighter than styrofoam. It's even lighter than aerogel, one of our favorite ultralight materials.
The Bible has at least a little to say about how to construct a building, but mostly in Proverbs and mostly not having anything to do actually building a structure (metaphor!). So without rock solid instructions, officials overseeing the Christchurch Cathedral--the one in Christchurch, New Zealand, that was all but leveled in February’s 6.3-magnitude earthquake--plan to build a 700-seat cardboard cathedral as a temporary replacement.