Posts Tagged 'material engineering'

Graphene-Fed Silkworms Produce Super-Strong Silk That Conducts Electricity

graphen-s

According to Futurism.com

The researchers sprayed mulberry leaves with aqueous solutions containing 0.2 percent by weight of either carbon nanotubes or graphene, and then collected the silk after the worms spun their cocoons. Collecting the as-spun silk fibers is standard in silk production, so feeding the silkworms the carbon nanotubes and graphene was a much simpler method than treating regular silk with the nanomaterials dissolved in chemical solvents after collection. According to the study, the carbon-enhanced silk was twice as tough as regular silk and could withstand at least 50 percent higher stress before breaking.

Continue reading HERE.

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Silkworms Spin Super-Silk after Eating Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene

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Scientific American reports –

Silk—the stuff of lustrous, glamorous clothing—is very strong. Researchers now report a clever way to make the gossamer threads even stronger and tougher: by feeding silkworms graphene or single-walled carbon nanotubes. The reinforced silk produced by the silkworms could be used in applications such as durable protective fabrics, biodegradable medical implants, and ecofriendly wearable electronics, they say.

Continue reading HERE.

Vantablack – A Material Too Black To See

vantablack-sAccording to The Independent –

A British company has produced a “strange, alien” material so black that it absorbs all but 0.035 per cent of visual light, setting a new world record. To stare at the “super black” coating made of carbon nanotubes – each 10,000 times thinner than a human hair – is an odd experience. It is so dark that the human eye cannot understand what it is seeing. Shapes and contours are lost, leaving nothing but an apparent abyss. Actual applications are more serious, enabling astronomical cameras, telescopes and infrared scanning systems to function more effectively. Then there are the military uses that the material’s maker, Surrey NanoSystems, is not allowed to discuss.

Continue reading HERE.

 

 

‘Terminator’ Polymer Spontaneously Repairs Itself

healingpolyPhys.org reports –

Scientists in Spain have reported the first self-healing polymer that spontaneously and independently repairs itself without any intervention. The new material could be used to improve the security and lifetime of plastic parts in everyday products such as electrical components, cars and even houses. The researchers have dubbed the material a ‘Terminator’ polymer in tribute to the shape-shifting, molten T-100 terminator robot from the Terminator 2 film.
Scientists in Spain have reported the first self-healing polymer that spontaneously and independently repairs itself without any intervention. The new material could be used to improve the security and lifetime of plastic parts in everyday products such as electrical components, cars and even houses.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-09-self-healing-polymer-spontaneously-independently.html#jCp

Stretchable Gold Could Radically Advance Electronics

str-goldAccording to Gizmodo –

Have you ever thought about the possibilities of bendable, stretchable electronics? They’re amazing. From a circuit attached to your brain to a pacemaker that sticks to your heart, these are the stuff that medical sci-fi dreams are made of. There’s only one problem: Stretchable electronics are notoriously impossible to make. At least until now they were. A team of engineers from the University of Michigan are currently perfecting an unassuming but incredible invention. It’s an elastic gold conductor. Made up of gold nanoparticles and stretchy polyurethane, the material just looks like a piece of foil to the naked eye. But after watching it stretch out four times its normal size, it’s obvious that this conductor is something else.

Continue reading HERE

Urchin Teeth May Lead To Tools That Never Need Sharpening

ScienceDaily reports –

To survive in a tumultuous environment, sea urchins literally eat through stone, using their teeth to carve out nooks where the spiny creatures hide from predators and protect themselves from the crashing surf on the rocky shores and tide pools where they live. The rock-boring behavior is astonishing, scientists agree, but what is truly remarkable is that, despite constant grinding and scraping on stone, urchin teeth never, ever get dull. The secret of their ever-sharp qualities has puzzled scientists for decades, but now a new report by scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and their colleagues has peeled back the toothy mystery. Writing in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, a team led by UW-Madison professor of physics Pupa Gilbert describes the self-sharpening mechanism used by the California purple sea urchin to keep a razor-sharp edge on its choppers. The urchin’s self-sharpening trick, notes Gilbert, is something that could be mimicked by humans to make tools that never need honing. “The sea urchin tooth is complicated in its design. It is one of the very few structures in nature that self-sharpen,” says Gilbert, explaining that the sea urchin tooth, which is always growing, is a biomineral mosaic composed of calcite crystals with two forms — plates and fibers — arranged crosswise and cemented together with super-hard calcite nanocement. Between the crystals are layers of organic materials that are not as sturdy as the calcite crystals. “The organic layers are the weak links in the chain,” Gilbert explains. “There are breaking points at predetermined locations built into the teeth. It is a concept similar to perforated paper in the sense that the material breaks at these predetermined weak spots.”

Continue reading HERE.


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