June 10, 2010
Purple Passion Like frost on your window in winter, some polymers crystallize in a similar way, starting from a central point and growing outwards in all directions. They are roughly spherical in shape, and, hence, are called spherulites. To fill space, they grow into each other, forming the polyhedrons (multi-sided objects) that you see. If you look at them in a polarizing microscope, a Maltese cross pattern can be seen. The different colors of light can be used to provide information on the spatial arrangement of the crystals. More about this ImageThis imagery provides a unique avenue by which an interest and appreciation of scientific research can be nurtured. It is precisely this concept that underpins VISUAL (Ventures in Science Using Art Laboratory), a recently launched educational outreach program of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center on Polymers (MRSEC) (supported by the National Science Foundation's Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers Program) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. VISUAL is based on the premise that the visual arts can serve as an effective means to stimulate, educate and promote materials science research to the general public and to students of all ages.
Topics: Spherulite, Materials science, Petrology, Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers, Polarization, Polymer, Technology Internet, Materials Research Science and Engineering Center on Polymers, Engineering Center on Polymers, Science Using Art Laboratory, University of Massachusetts Amherst, National Science Foundation