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Materials Science

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? See more »

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 »

How Rubber Works

Charles Goodyear was obsessed with this stretchy material, and we are, too. It's weatherproof, shockproof and entertaining, and it's found in more products than you can shoot a rubber band at. See more »

How Timber Works

Log cabins may be a historical footnote and fossil fuels may reign supreme, but forests remain critical natural resources. What does the future hold for Paul Bunyan's favorite industry? See more »

How Reverse Osmosis Works

Turning saltwater into tasty, drinkable H20 at desalination plants like this one is probably the biggest selling point of reverse osmosis, but let's back up a minute. What's osmosis, and why -- and how -- is reversing it useful to us? See more »

How Steam Technology Works

Steam technology powered the Industrial Revolution, transformed the global shipping industry and revolutionized modern warfare. But how do steam engines actually harness the power of steam? See more »

How Plastics Work

Plastics can be shaped or molded into any form, and they're everywhere -- in your car, computer, toys and even bubble gum. But because they don't degrade, they cause big problems when it's time to throw them out. See more »

How Nanowires Work

Welcome to the wonderful and weird world of nanowires. Scientists can adapt this incredibly thin material for a number of uses, whether as a fiber-optic nanowire or to build increasingly smaller microprocessors. They're even used in medical implants. See more »

How Nanotechnology Works

Nanotechnology is so new, no one is really sure what will come of it. Even so, predictions range from the ability to reproduce things like diamonds and food to the world being devoured by self-replicating nanorobots. See more »

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 »