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.


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.

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?

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?

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

The centuries-old art of sword making involves incredibly intricate metal work, and it's still being practiced today. Get a rare glimpse into the creation of this ancient weaponry.

The refining of iron ore is one of our most historically significant achievements. The element is so important that primitive societies are measured by the point at which they learn how to refine it.