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.


Cosmic rays sound like something out of sci-fi, but they're helping scientists unlock the secrets of one of the oldest human-made structures in the world.

Old books smell a lot like chocolate and coffee, thanks to certain chemical compounds.

The ancients were able to devise a mix for concrete that actually gets stronger over time thanks to chemical reactions. If only we could rediscover the recipe...

New research delves into the impact of our immense technological footprint.

Add Philadelphia to the list of cities testing out paint that repels pee back on the urinater as a deterrent. Good call or unnecessary humiliation?

A new fabric that can block visible light and let out body heat could have more important applications than just new workout clothes, researchers say.

If Jalila Essaidi's company Mestic has anything to do with it, the future of fashion — and basically everything else we use in our daily lives — is poop.

If you give us a tunable polysiloxane-based material, 21st century Americans can’t resist going full-on Kardashian with it.

Researchers have figured out how to turn agricultural byproducts such as gelatin, keratin and casein into "slaughterhouse yarn."

Decay-resistant, antimicrobial plastic teeth could be the wave of the future, as dentistry moves into the age of 3-D printing.

Welding isn't the only way to make metals, like the ones on your aviator shades, meet up. Brazing can do the trick, too, with a little heat, some filler and some capillary action.

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.

Glass ionomer cement is a kind of cement used in restorative dentistry. Learn what glass ionomer cement is in this article.

Sports injury taping has undergone a quiet revolution over the last 30 years. How can a pattern of tape stuck to your body help you heal from (or prevent) an injury?

Dyneema is trademarked as the world's strongest fiber. Find out how this high-strength synthetic is capable of protecting an individual (or an entire vehicle) from IEDs or even shots fired from an AK47.

You probably know that high pitched or high frequency sounds can break materials apart. But did you know that high frequency sounds can be used to bond materials together?

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.

Versatile and efficient, electroluminescent (EL) wire is widely used by artists to illuminate clothing, bicycle spokes, turntables and even cars. But how does this cool product work with so little power and without a visible energy source?

This not-so-new material looks like a hologram and could play a valuable role in the future of insulation, electronics, oil spill cleanup and green energy. So why don't aerogels have the A-list name recognition they deserve?

Nanotechnology is one of the hot buzzwords of the 21st century. You know that it has to do with things that are very small, but just what are the implications of technology on the molecular scale, anyway?

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?

If people could create nanomachines, they might be able to help fight diseases on the molecular level. They might even be able to replicate themselves. But what happens if that process gets out of hand?

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?

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?

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?