Saturday, April 22, 2017

Forged in Fire: Bladesmithing 101: The Quench | History

"Fighting the Dragon"?

In our summer materials camp, we heat treat steel (bobby pins and paper clips) including quenching them in water. For the work we're doing, quenching in water works just fine. The mass of the materials is tiny. We're not looking for precise, perfectly repeatable work and products. Water's all good...

But there are a lot of other options for quenching materials. There's air quenching, noble gas quenching, salt quenching, oil quenching, quenching your thirst, quenching your curiosity, quenching in quince.

Wait, those last few aren't really anything with material science.

NOVA's Secret Life of Scientists and Enginners

I'm not entirely sure why BB-8 is in the center of NOVA's banner photo. I'm assuming that somehow Lucasfilms is endorsing the need to make our scientists and engineers look cool.

That's kind of where NOVA's The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers Facebook page is doing. They post daily news and reports about what scientists do. It's sort of like an ongoing This is What a Scientists Looks Like campaign but a little more professionally done.

Here are a few examples - most of which are available on their YouTube channel...

ASM Summer Camps - 2017

The summer ASM teacher camp schedule is up and posted on the ASM Foundation website - link here.

The teachers camps - in case you weren't aware, and the majority of you folks visiting here are probably familiar if not intimately so - are phenomenal. Check out the testimonials and news reports from the camps here.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Toxic Vanity & Fatal Beauty

Eleanor Ryder has two gorgeous photos posted on the National Geographic's website.

The first one, shown above but in much higher resolution on the NatGeo site, is titled Fatal Beauty. Here's what she has to say about it...
A magnification of plastic particles in lip-gloss. The irony of the image is in its intrinsic contradiction; that a product coveted for its ability to beautify is also capable of illimitable harm. The transient nature of a beauty product, once released unbounded in to the marine environment, has the ability to cause infinite damage and contamination. As we lick the gloss from our lips and ingest it, particles enter the sewerage systems to infest our oceans at every level.
The other photo is titled Toxic Vanity and shows similar particles in eyeliner.

Ryder's website has further photos from her Forever Project,
The Forever Project is a portfolio of images focusing on marine debris and micro-plastics. 
Being in my final year of university I wanted to study something I was passionate about and marine welfare is set deep within my heart. 
The images of nano plastics in the Forever Project are a study of the uneasy dichotomy which I feel exists between beauty and marine pollution. These images of micro and nano plastics in cosmetics explores the transient nature of beauty products and their ability to impact upon and do illimitable harm to the marine environment.
I'm thinking we might want to use a little less plastic or make sure it'll actually degrade in something approaching a human lifetime.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

What Captain America Can Teach Us About Science

It was my understanding that Cap's shield was made entirely of vibranium, but I guess it's a vibranium/steel alloy.

I appreciate that Dr Mathaudhu doesn't go into the fictional element vibranium's history and existence. Instead he just mentions that a 'mystery element' falls into the experiment and solidifies into what would later become Cap's shield.

Mathaudhu then goes into the connection that he "seeks to design materials that can live in these extremes" - just like Cap's shield. He mentions the switch from a steel to an aluminum alloy in the F150 frame.

He also explains that if a material scientist creates an awesome material but can't reproduce it - like the creator of Cap's shield did - then that wouldn't be a very successful material scientist.

The shield, by the way, is not quite unbreakable in the Marvel universes, but it's certainly a scientific marvel.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Adding A Funny Form Of Carbon To Silly Putty Creates A Heart Monitor

Silly putty is apparently miraculous.

It doesn't walk down stairs - along or in pairs. It doesn't roll over your neighbor's dog.

But it does appear to be usable as a pressure sensor when graphene is added to it. The graphene turns the silly putty into a conductive mass, the precise conductivity of which is highly sensitive to changes in pressure - to the point where it can be used to monitor the blood pressure and pulse in the carotid artery.

Source - NPR and Science

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Indestructible Coating?!

If it impresses Dr Derek, then it impresses me.

I've shown you Line-X before, but I wasn't able to show you the science between the two components of Line-X before. In this video, we get to see modeling of the polymerization at 2:00 using plastic, molecular models (by the way, does anybody know the specific plastic model set that they show up close at 3:34? I really dig that set and wouldn't mind getting my hands on a set to see if they're worth buying.)