Latest Solid Stories

Mother Nature Inspires 1-pound Boat That Could Float 1,000 Pounds
2012-03-26 02:23:42

Combining the secrets that enable water striders to walk on water and give wood its lightness and great strength has yielded an amazing new material so buoyant that, in everyday terms, a boat made from 1 pound of the substance could carry five kitchen refrigerators, about 1,000 pounds. One of the lightest solid substances in the world, which is also sustainable, it was among the topics of a symposium held Sunday at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical...

Liquid-like Materials May Pave Way For New Thermoelectric Devices
2012-03-24 02:49:43

In the continual quest for better thermoelectric materials–which convert heat into electricity and vice versa–researchers have identified a liquid-like compound whose properties give it the potential to be even more efficient than traditional thermoelectrics. Thermoelectric materials have been used to power spacecraft ranging from Apollo to the Curiosity rover now headed for Mars. Recently, however, scientists and engineers have been turning to these materials to use wasted...

2012-03-09 02:17:21

An international team of physicists has developed a method for taking ultrafast “sonograms” that can track the structural changes that take place within solid materials in trillionth-of-a-second intervals as they go through an important physical process called a phase transition. Common phase transitions include the melting of candle wax before it burns and dissolving sugar in water. They are purely structural changes that produce dramatic changes in a material´s physical...

2012-03-09 00:24:10

"Lucky" combination of chemicals and laser pulses enables high-resolution, 3D patterning for futuristic optical materials Researchers in applied physics have cleared an important hurdle in the development of advanced materials, called metamaterials, that bend light in unusual ways. Working at a scale applicable to infrared light, the Harvard team has used extremely short and powerful laser pulses to create three-dimensional patterns of tiny silver dots within a material. Those suspended...

Image 1 - Scientists Uncover The Mystery Of Nanoscale Crop Circles
2012-03-04 06:04:14

[ Watch the Video ] In strange patterns of a gold-silicon alloy, Berkeley Lab scientists uncover unsuspected secrets and promising routes to nanoscale semiconductor processing Almost three years ago a team of scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy´s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) was performing an experiment in which layers of gold mere nanometers (billionths of a meter) thick were being heated on a flat silicon surface and then allowed to cool. They...

2012-02-20 11:46:05

AAAS presentation: Charles Clark Just as NASA engineers test new rocket designs in computer studies before committing themselves to full prototypes, so physicists will often model matter under various circumstances to see whether something new appears. This is especially true of atomtronics, a relatively new science devoted to creating artificial tailored materials consisting of neutral atoms held in an array with laser beams, or atoms moving along a desired track under electric or...

2012-02-13 23:22:02

In the effort to convert sunlight into electricity, photovoltaic solar cells that use conductive organic polymers for light absorption and conversion have shown great potential. Organic polymers can be produced in high volumes at low cost, resulting in photovoltaic devices that are cheap, lightweight and flexible. In the last few years, much work has been done to improve the efficiency with which these devices convert sunlight into power, including the development of new materials, device...

2012-01-18 00:42:27

To better understand the fundamental behavior of molecules at surfaces, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are combining the powers of neutron scattering with chemical analysis. Scientists have a fundamental interest in how molecules behave at solid surfaces because surface interactions influence chemistry, such as in materials for catalysis, drug delivery and carbon sequestration. Understanding these interactions allows researchers to tailor...

Word of the Day
  • To stammer.
  • Present participle of maffle, to stammer.
  • A simpleton.
The word 'maffle' may come from a Dutch word meaning 'to move the jaws' or a French word meaning 'having large cheeks'.