PITTSBURGH (July 11, 2019) -- Glass for technologies like displays, tablets, laptops, smartphones, and solar cells need to pass light through, but could benefit from a surface that repels water, dirt, oil, and other liquids.Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering have created a nanostructure glass that takes inspiration from the wings of the glasswing butterfly to create a new type of glass that is not only very clear across a wide variety of wavelengths and angles, but is also antifogging.The team recently published a paper detailing their findings: "Creating Glasswing-Butterfly Inspired Durable Antifogging Omniphobic Supertransmissive, Superclear Nanostructured Glass Through Bayesian Learning and Optimization" in Materials Horizons (doi:10.1039/C9MH00589G).They recently presented this work at the ICML conference in the "Climate Change: How Can AI Help?"The nanostructured glass has random nanostructures, like the glasswing butterfly wing, that are smaller than the wavelengths of visible light.The glass also has low haze, less than 0.1%, which results in very clear images and text.
Imagine smart materials that can morph from being stiff as wood to as soft as a sponge - and also change shape.Rutgers University-New Brunswick engineers have created flexible, lightweight materials with 4D printing that could lead to better shock absorption, morphing airplane or drone wings, soft robotics and tiny implantable biomedical devices.4D printing is based on this technology, with one big difference: it uses special materials and sophisticated designs to print objects that change shape with environmental conditions such as temperature acting as a trigger, said senior author Howon Lee, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering."We believe this unprecedented interplay of materials science, mechanics and 3D printing will create a new pathway to a wide range of exciting applications that will improve technology, health, safety and quality of life," Lee said.The engineers created a new class of "metamaterials" - materials engineered to have unusual and counterintuitive properties that are not found in nature.The word metamaterials is derived from the Greek word "meta," which means "higher" or "beyond."
A new type of cellulose nanoparticle, invented by McGill University researchers, is at the heart of a more effective and less environmentally damaging solution to one of the biggest challenges facing water-based industries: preventing the buildup of scale.Formed by the accumulation of sparingly soluble minerals, scale can seriously impair the operation of just about any equipment that conducts or stores water - from household appliances to industrial installations.Most of the anti-scaling agents currently in use are high in phosphorus derivatives, environmental pollutants that can have catastrophic consequences for aquatic ecosystems.In a series of papers published in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Materials Horizons and the American Chemical Society's Applied Materials & Interfaces, a team of McGill chemists and chemical engineers describe how they have developed a phosphorus-free anti-scaling solution based on a nanotechnology breakthrough with an unusual name: hairy nanocellulose.Lead author Amir Sheikhi, now a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, says despite its green credentials cellulose was not an obvious place to look for a way to fight scale."Cellulose is the most abundant biopolymer in the world.
Researchers from Virginia Tech and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed a novel way to 3D print complex objects of one of the highest-performing materials used in the battery and aerospace industries.But Virginia Tech engineers have now collaborated on a project that allows them to 3D print graphene objects at a resolution an order of magnitude greater than ever before printed, which unlocks the ability to theoretically create any size or shape of graphene.Because of its strength - graphene is one of the strongest materials ever tested on Earth - and its high thermal and electricity conductivity, 3D printed graphene objects would be highly coveted in certain industries, including batteries, aerospace, separation, heat management, sensors, and catalysis."Now a designer can design three-dimensional topology comprised of interconnected graphene sheets," said Xiaoyu "Rayne" Zheng, assistant professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering and director of the Advanced Manufacturing and Metamaterials Lab."This new design and manufacturing freedom will lead to optimization of strength, conductivity, mass transport, strength, and weight density that are not achievable in graphene aerogels.""With that technique, there's very limited structures you can create because there's no support and the resolution is quite limited, so you can't get freeform factors," Zheng said.
Bacterial cellulose (BC) nanofibers are promising building blocks for the development of sustainable materials with the potential to outperform conventional synthetic materials.BC, one of the purest forms of nanocellulose, is produced at the interface between the culture medium and air, where the aerobic bacteria have access to oxygen.Biocompatibility, biodegradability, high thermal stability and mechanical strength are some of the unique properties that facilitate BC adoption in food, cosmetics and biomedical applications including tissue regeneration, implants, wound dressing, burn treatment and artificial blood vessels.In the study published in Materials Horizons researchers at Aalto University have developed a simple and customizable process that uses superhydrophobic interfaces to finely engineer the bacteria access to oxygen in three dimensions and in multiple length scales, resulting in hollow, seamless, nanocellulose-based pre-determined objects."The developed process is an easy and accessible platform for 3D biofabrication that we demonstrated for the synthesis of geometries with excellent fidelity.Fabrication of hollow and complex objects was made possible.
AMES, Iowa - A new smart and responsive material can stiffen up like a worked-out muscle, say the Iowa State University engineers who developed it.Stress a muscle and it gets stronger.This new composite material doesn't need outside energy sources such as heat, light or electricity to change its properties.And it could be used in a variety of ways, including applications in medicine and industry.The material is described in a paper recently published online by the scientific journal Materials Horizons.The lead authors are Martin Thuo and Michael Bartlett, Iowa State assistant professors of materials science and engineering.
Material scientists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum are able to determine if a new material remains stable under temperature load within the space of a few days.They have developed a novel process for analysing, for example, the temperature and oxidation resistance of complex alloys that are made up of a number of different elements.Development of novel high-performance materialsThis method is ideally suited for so-called high-entropy alloys - materials that have recently been of great interest to researchers.Unlike traditional alloys, they do not consist of one main element and several additional elements in lower concentrations, but rather of a homogenous mixture of several elements.With an almost unlimited number of different material combinations, it is quite likely that materials will be discovered that surpass current materials with regard to certain properties," says Ludwig.
Arachnophobia is ingrained into our collective psyche, and few spiders are feared as much as the brown recluse.But recluses have more on offer besides their neurotoxic venom — they also spin the strongest silk of any spider and may help inspire a next generation of tough materials.Intrigued by the strength of the recluse s silk, researchers from Oxford University and William & Mary studied the spider and discovered they use a unique ribbon geometry not found in any other arachnid.The unique characteristic of the recluse s silk are periodically placed loops, Hannes Schneipp, a William & Mary professor who co-led the study, told Digital Trends.This process, which we named strain cycling, surprisingly can enhance the energy absorption of the material many times.They published a paper detailing their findings last week in the journal Materials Horizons.