Sunday, April 27, 2014

Concrete Stress Strain Curve (early age 4 days)

We're working on understanding the stress-strain curves today at master teacher training at the ASM dome (love this place), so I'm searching for examples of a tensile test being performed at the same time that a stress-strain curve is being generated.

First find...a concrete pillar being tested.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Paper microscope can be made in minutes

We've been through various electronic microscopes through the years - from Ken-a-Vision, primarily, and also through some other makers. As electronics have shurnken and cheapened, though, the market has opened up.

Last year we got to see - and I had a student of mine make me - a microscope support for your smartphone. That took some plexiglass, a few long bolts, an LED flashlight, and a couple of laser pointer lenses.

That's cute, and all, but now there's a similar project that can be made for only fifty cents.

The plexiglass stand can't top that.

New Magnetic Material Could Boost Electronics

Some materials are magnetic.

Other materials aren't magnetic.

I've seen non-magnetic items changed into being magnetic.

I've even seen magnetic items changed into being non-magnetic.

The idea of having an item changing back and forth from being magnetic to non-magnetic with a simple temperature change is pretty foreign to my experiences, but that's exactly what Ivan Schuller, of the U of California, San Diego has done.

To quote from the article at,
The material combines thin layers of nickel and vanadium oxide, creating a structure that is surprisingly responsive to heat.

"We can control the magnetism in just a narrow range of temperature - without applying a magnetic field. And in principle we could also control it with voltage or current," said Prof Schuller.

"At low temperatures, the oxide is an insulator. At high temperatures it's a metal. And in between it becomes this strange material," he said.
Oh, and that's Dr Schuller there to the right. 

Materials for a better planet

Wired magazine isn't always useful for material science, but every couple of months they publish an outstanding, multi-page or single-page article on the topics.

In the March 2014 issue they provided a one-page summary of four environmentally-friendly building materials.

How to make Magic Mud

Yes, making your own 'Magic Mud' instead of just buying cornstarch and mixing it up sounds like a whole lot of extra work.

Yes, it's certainly cheaper to buy a box of conrstarch than to buy a whole five-pound bag of spuds.

But think of all the hasbrowns you can make (in case there isn't a Waffle House close enough to where you live.)

Honestly, though, I might offer this up as an extra credit opportunity for some of my students.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Metamaterials...a cartoon

Admittedly, today's post isn't anything research-based or anything. It's a webcomic that mentions metamaterials. It's chucklesome but only if you look really closely at the final panel's reveal of the flowers' true colors.

Not surprisingly (if you're a regular xkcd - the source of the comic - reader) metamaterials are real. I need to do more research before I find out whether the effect shown in the comic is possible.

Here's what I've found so far in thirty seconds of research...