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.


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Why Your Hair Is Tougher Than Razor Blades

You think stainless steel is a strong metal. So would it surprise you to learn it can't hold an edge when it comes to your hair?

That Black Stuff on the Road? Technically Not Asphalt

If you think asphalt is what hot tar roads are made of, you'd be wrong. Asphalt is only one ingredient in the recipe that makes up our roads. And it has a very long, very interesting history.

Printing With Sound: The Wave of the Future

Researchers at Harvard University have developed a method of printing objects using the pressure of sound waves on even the most viscous liquids.

Recycled Plastic Waste Creates Roads

Plastic road materials-maker MacRebur is paving the way to a greener environment, using recycled waste to build roads.

Smart Wallpaper Contains Fire Alarm

Researchers in China have developed a non-toxic "smart" wallpaper that won't burn and triggers an alarm when it gets hot.

How Cosmic Rays Revealed a Secret Void in the Great Pyramid

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.

Researchers Create Odor Wheel That Breaks Down the Smell of Old Books

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

We Finally Know Why Ancient Roman Concrete Outlasts Our Own

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...

Human Technology on Earth Weighs a Massive 30 Trillion Tons

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

Pee-resistant Paint: Coming to a Train Station Near You

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?

Cool Off and Save Energy by Wearing This New Plastic Fabric

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.

Manure Goes Couture: This Clothing Used to Be Cow Poop

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.

The Possible Uses of This ‘Second Skin’ Are Pretty Amazing

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

You Might Be Knitting With Gelatin Soon

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

Scientists Develop Antimicrobial Plastic for 3-D Printing Teeth

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

How Brazing Works

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.

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.

What is glass ionomer cement?

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

How Kinesio Tape Works

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?

How Dyneema Works

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.

How Ultrasonic Welding Works

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?

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.

How Electroluminescent (EL) Wire Works

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?

How Aerogels Work

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?

What is nanotechnology?

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?