Explore how the use of natural and manmade materials further technology. Read articles on subjects such as nanotechnology, iron steel and reverse osmosis.

How Welding Works

For a process that simply bonds two pieces of metal, welding affects a lot of our world and some stuff that's out of this world, like the International Space Station. What's it like to man the torch?

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  • 10 Crazy Uses for Completely Frictionless Surfaces

    10 Crazy Uses for Completely Frictionless Surfaces

    Just imagine the possibilities: a world free of gum walls and full of bartenders speeding drinks along the bar. But that's really just the tip of the (super-slick) iceberg. See more »

  • Are food-based plastics a good idea?

    Are food-based plastics a good idea?

    Once upon a time, food was used for one thing: eating. Today, it has a much more complicated role. And one of those roles might be serving as an upstart in the world of plastics. See more »

  • Are there natural nanotechnologies?

    Are there natural nanotechnologies?

    When most people talk about nanotechnology, they're referring to tiny machines built by humans. Could any molecules found in nature qualify as natural nanotechnology? See more »

  • Can a swimsuit make you swim faster?

    Can a swimsuit make you swim faster?

    Wouldn't it be cool to blow past that swimmer in the next lane who always leaves you eating her watery dust? Could a bathing suit help you do it? See more »

  • Can nanoscopic machines manipulate atoms?

    Can nanoscopic machines manipulate atoms?

    Engineers have gotten good at making very small things. We're already talking about building at the nanoscopic scale. Is it possible to build tiny machines that can move even tinier atoms? See more »

  • Everyday Science: Iron Quiz

    Everyday Science: Iron Quiz

    One could safely say that we've built civilization itself on iron and it's seemingly infinite uses. From early tools to trains, iron is responsible for thrusting humanity into rapid advancement. But how much do you know about the extraction process? See more »

  • Everyday Science: Lead Quiz

    Everyday Science: Lead Quiz

    Although we've understood the usefulness of lead since ancient times, it's taken us until recently to fully understand the danger lead poses to our health. What else should we know about this metal? See more »

  • Everyday Science: Rubber Quiz

    Everyday Science: Rubber Quiz

    The unique elasticity and durability of rubber makes it ideal for scores of important uses. Although you may be familiar with the use of rubber, how much do you know about the history and processing of this special substance? See more »

  • Everyday Science: Timber Quiz

    Everyday Science: Timber Quiz

    When European settlers arrived in North America in the 1600s, they found vast forests stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. Nearly 40 percent of the land north of Mexico lay beneath tree cover. So how much has changed? See more »

  • How a Cold Heat Soldering Iron Works

    How a Cold Heat Soldering Iron Works

    As an invention, Cold Heat seems to have everything. But reviewers -- both professionals and average users -- either love the tool or hate it, and some people question whether it's really "new" at all. See more »

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