Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cincinnati Streetcar 1/16/14 Liberty St Thermite Weld (night)

This thermite reaction isn't really any better than any of a dozen other ones you can see on YouTube, but it's in my hometown, and I've seen the weld after the fact. My wife and I happened to be down in that area a few days after this was posted online, and I was able to see the weld shown here. To me, that's pretty cool.

I've been curious for a while how these welds worked - not the chemistry of them, that I understand, but rather how the molten iron was finished into the final weld. So I went hunting an explanation and found this animated video of the weld process.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Nitinol Teaspoon That Bends!

Someone fetch me the Great Randi...or at least Uri Geller.

C'mon, those references aren't that old, are they?

Whatever...some people just don't appreciate culture. Everyone, though, can appreciate this wonderful demonstration of a fun application of nitinol, a shape memory alloy of NIckel-TItanium (from the Naval Ordinance Lab).

For a scant $50 or so, I'd actually be pretty tempted to order one myself if they weren't currently out of stock.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Book review request

I would like to add a topic for book reviews to the blog to cover books that could be useful for the teaching of material sciences. The books could be useful as teacher background reading, student reading sources, lab manuals, historical materials connections, anything, really.

I don't, however, have a whole lot of time to do the semi-in-depth book reviews that I would like to do. Are there any folks out there who might be interested in helping out and writing any sort of review of one of your favorite books with a material science connection, something you might already have read and are using in your classroom, perhaps? Or maybe there's a book you particularly enjoyed and that has some material science content but haven't found how to use in the classroom.

I already have a partial list of books that I would like to review (but would be very much willing to add in new ones):

Casting a Fire Ant Colony With Molten Aluminum

Wow, chatty fellow, eh?

There may not be any words in the above video, but there is a gorgeous technique for casting a model of a fire ant colony. Yeah, it's just heat metal, dump metal, let cool, dig, but it's amazing to see the finished product with all the chambers interlaced throughout the colony.

The next video is longer and shows a bit more background of a different artist who is working in a similar medium, that of melting aluminum cans to cast sculptures of ant colonies. I particularly like the images of the blazing fire at 2:55. I also like the music (by Cake, a fun band, lemme recommend), but I will tell you that the music has a seriously Not Safe For Work (NSFW) word in the lyrics. The product in the end is far more delicate in this video, but that might not be something that the artist knows going in.

There's also a video from CBS's Sunday Morning program a while back interviewing an artist who also casts anthills out of aluminum.

Oh, and I don't see any dead ants in the sculptures, but they have to be there (or totally carbonized) right?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Hexagonal Pewter Stool

Why's it gotta be hexagonal? You never see anybody casting a nonagonal stool anymore. Why did we lose the art of nonagonal casting? Heck, I'd settle for dodecagonal casting for a change. Sheesh...

I've done sand casting once at Ohio State University in ASM's year-two camp and a few times using moon sand as a medium in the classroom, but I would've never thought of heading out to the beach to make my mold and cast directly into the playa. There are probably two main reasons for this: one, the closest big body of water to my house is the Ohio River, not exactly know for its fine, sandy beaches; and two, I'm not an artist.

This time-lapse video of sand casting is pretty impressive, though, with the artist (assumedly Max Lamb) maxing a stool that I'd be happy to have in my home.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Can you walk on water? (Non-Newtonian Fluid Pool)

Oobleck knows to nationality.

These Malaysian folks mixed up 8000 (or so) liters of cornstarch and water and had a blast with it.

There's really nothing revolutionary to see here, but there's a lot of fun in watching the folks try to ride a bicycle, dance, flip, do a jig on the surface.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Super Hydrophobic Surface and Magnetic Liquid

The Slow Mo Guys make videos showing actions in - shockingly, I know - slow motion.

Here they're in a GE lab showing 'how water reacts on a superhydrophobic surface,' in their words. Personally, I'd've liked to have seen a single drop on the surface, but the beauty of the two differently-colored streams coming together and showing almost no interaction with the white surface is pretty cool, too.

The last part of the video also shows a ferrofluid attracting to a magnet.