Saturday, May 30, 2015

Thermal Protection System Facility

We've seen the miracle of shuttle tile insulation systems before, even the ability for edge heat to be shed very, very quickly while the core holds the heat amazingly well.

Here we get a more impressive and confident demonstration of that at about 2:14.

The quote at 3:40 says, "it has very, very low specific heat and very low conductivity." That phrasing alone is worth the price of admission and watching the lower-quality video and audio of the first 2/3 this video.

At 4:12, then, we get, "it's a little counter-intuitive, but it sheds heat really quickly from the outside, but it's insulating, so it holds heat in."

Later in the video we get a demonstration of the ceramic's ability to absorb huge amounts of water due to its "microporosity"

It's not necessarily a flashy video, but it's very nice at explaining what makes this material so brilliantly special.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hendrik Marius Jonkers - Self-healing concrete containing bacteria

Expensive, ugly, sometimes dangerous? I feel like there's a joke to be made there...maybe something about a mother-in-law...or a political opponent...something...

Let's put a pin in that and come back to it.

If we do put a pin into some of the self-healing concrete that Hendrick Jonkers is developing, that pin just might get cemented into place from the limestone-excreting bacteria.

Jonkers is up for a self-described "prestigious" European Inventor Award. Feel free to throw a few votes his way if you read this before June 4, 2015.

Sapphire vs Gorilla Glass - Bending and Impact

At 1:27, we get the straight-up answer: "sapphire is marginally stronger than Gorilla Glass, about 25% stronger, to be exact. In other words, it would take 25% more force to break sapphire glass than Gorilla."

But then things get more complicated, as Gorilla Glass is far more flexible meaning that the Gorilla Glass will likely be better.

I do wish I had a four-point bend tester like that. My guess, though, is that I would probably get in some pretty unpleasant trouble with just trying to test anything lying around.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Gorilla glass tests (2, 3, 4)

Admittedly, this is an advertisement, but at least it's an advertisement with some hard data.

Gorilla Glass was impressive, but Gorilla Glass 2 is light years ahead of it. I'm sure they'll never come out with anything more impressive.

Ok, color me corrected. Gorilla Glass 3 is stunning. That's the best I will ever see. It'll never be topped.

Polymers - Crash Course Chemistry #45

How can you not love the Green brothers, John and Hank?

Yeah, Mental Floss with all its list videos is pretty cool, but it's the Crash Course video series that absolutely rocks my world.

In fact, I may just kick back for the next chapter and make my students watch this polymer video four times each day and take all the notes over and over and over and over and over again.

Then we'll do a lab.

Thanks, by the way, to Brian Wright for sending this video my way...

...and for making my lesson plans so easy for the next week.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Blowing step by step

I think it's a longshot that I ever get my hands on a blow-molding machine like those we see up there. The prices for even used machines are a little out of my school budget. I can certainly afford the preforms, though.

I've tried warming up the preforms in boiling water, but that appears not to be hot enough to allow the plastic to be inflated.

Luckily, Ed Escudero, one of our ASM master teachers and a fellow Cincinnatian, recently came up with a way that we can model the injection molding of the preforms in the classroom.

Ed uses soda bottle caps with tire stems glued through them (available from Flinn Scientific individually or in bulk) and a bicycle pump to generate pressure inside the bottle. He wraps the bottle in a flameless ration heater (FRH) (available from military surplus stores or from ZestoTherm here in Cincinnati - developed at the University of Cincinnati, by the way - or simply given out to ASM camp attendees every summer) with a corner cut off to allow water to be poured in but hopefully not to pour back out. The FRH is held horizontal long enough to allow water to thoroughly soak the magnesium powder before being secured by rubber bands around the preform.

Once the preform is hot enough - something that takes a couple of minutes, the bicycle pump is pumped to increase the internal pressure and inflate the 'bottle'. The procedure doesn't produce anything really resembling a traditional 2L bottle, but it works pretty well as a proof of concept for the students.

Check out Ed's set-up below...

What really happens to the plastic you throw away - Emma Bryce

Don't throw away plastic bottles.

Heck, don't throw away much of anything at all, in fact. We have to stop landfilling pretty much everything that we currently throw away.

Don't throw plastic bottles into the stream because otherwise it'll find its eventual way to one of the gyres.

Recycle your plastic.

Recycle everything, in fact.

I appreciate the tracking of the three different outcomes for the triplet of identical plastic bottles in this video.

Athletics Engineered: Hockey sticks, a material issue

So, Professor Daehn, we meet again.

Admittedly, that three-point bend tester at 2:40 isn't exactly the death laser from Goldfinger, but it would probably sting a bit.

Here we get to see one aspect of the overlap between the world of athletics and the materials engineering department at Ohio State University, showing us some of the work that students get to do in the program.

Admittedly, I was looking for a bit more of how hockey sticks are made, either the old-school, wooden ones...

...or the more modern, graphite reinforced kind...

And you're welcome for the 'you'll want to stick around for this one' from that second video.

Materials Choice Award

The April 2015 issue of Advanced Materials & Processes announced the creation of a new award, the Material Choice Award, sponsored by the ASM Education Foundation. I'll let Foundation Director of Development and Operations, Nichol Campana, introduce the award as she did in her monthly column.
[T]he intended to familiarize middle and high school students with the materials profession and show the importance of materials in "cool" products or applications.
I like the idea. It's easy enough to point out basic materials to students - iron, cement, steel, PVC - but the world of materials is radically more interesting than that. We have carbon fiber, glass filled polymers, shrilk, graphene, aerographite, pykrete, and even thinking putty.

Interested teams will have to compete in an essay contest to winnow down the initial numbers to ten, a Facebook like contest to turn ten into six, and finally a three-minute "elevator pitch" video to find the final winners. Initial essays will be due December 4, 2015.

Personally, I'd recommend buckyballs. They're funny to say.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Forging Advantage

Sometimes in our summer workshops, things don't work exactly as we'd planned. Technology doesn't work quite as we expected. The spot plates we planned to use aren't on the shelf where we'd left them the year before. Heck, the FIERF bags with the forging cd don't show up in time for Tuesday's day of metals to show the above video in camp.

No matter what, though, we forge ahead.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

2003 OSU PSA's GSD

I feel like the commercial is lacking in a dramatic arc for the guy listening to Glenn Daehn. Yes, Dr Daehn is dropping some serious knowledge, but the guy listening doesn't really respond with anything more than a slightly-glazed stare. He could yell, scream, even just saying a simple, "whut?" to earn his SAG paycheck.

My thought is that Dr Daehn has been on the weight loss kick for a lot longer than his new endeavor, LIFT, has been around. We'll get to more about LIFT in the next few posts, but for now let me just say that it's an effort to help us save money and energy by lightening up our materials a bit.

Dieting is always so hard...

3D printers print ten houses in 24 hours

Wait, what?

The 3d printing material here looks disgusting, like an grey, industrial version of pink slime. It just builds up the walls layer by layer in some kind of unholy mortar between bricks that are never to show.

I guess the efficiencies can certainly move this process well into profitability, but the manufacturers are going to have to find a way not to show the building process to the folks eventually to live in the houses.

What Manufacturing Means to America

We are what we make. If we make poor materials...if we make sub-standard products...if, heaven forbid, we don't make anything, then we have to seriously question our value as a nation.

This is one of the undercurrents that most of us teaching material science teaches through the course of a semester, a year, or - in a few cases - two years.

Along the same lines, check out this Jeep commercial.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

This 1,600-Year-Old Goblet Shows that the Romans Were Nanotechnology Pioneers

The Romans were genius.

The had the baths, the vomitoria, the toga parties, the aquaducts, the fingers.

And they had goblets that change color as light went through them and as different liquids are filled into it. In fact, the science is pretty stunning...
researchers in England scrutinized broken fragments under a microscope and discovered that the Roman artisans were nanotechnology pioneers: They’d impregnated the glass with particles of silver and gold, ground down until they were as small as 50 nanometers in diameter, less than one-thousandth the size of a grain of table salt. The exact mixture of the precious metals suggests the Romans knew what they were doing—“an amazing feat,” says one of the researchers, archaeologist Ian Freestone of University College London.


[T]he researchers ... imprinted billions of tiny wells onto a plastic plate about the size of a postage stamp and sprayed the wells with gold or silver nanoparticles, essentially creating an array with billions of ultra-miniature Lycurgus Cups. When water, oil, sugar solutions and salt solutions were poured into the wells, they displayed a range of easy-to-distinguish colors—light green for water and red for oil, for example. The proto­type was 100 times more sensitive to altered levels of salt in solution than current commercial sensors using similar techniques.
Clearly, the lead hadn't kicked in just yet when these goblets were being made.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The SECOND Official Ultra-Ever Dry Video - Superhydrophobic coating - Repels almost any liquid!

The look on the face of the Ultra-Ever Dry shirt-wearing guy is priceless (at about 3:20 and onward).

And, honestly, if you have to wear a shirt and tie while running the risk of being mud-bombed, you might want to spray the heck out of your clothes before heading into the fields.

This video gives us some entertaining and impressive demonstrations of ultra-ever dry on notebook paper, ceramic tile, a digital stopwatch, tissue paper, tissue paper (with a thoroughly gross ketchup demo), bread (no, don't eat the bread afterwards), cotton ball, and finally an explosion of mud.

Rain works

How cool is that? It rains, and 'magically' a design appears on the cement. Maybe it's a hopscotch board (is that the right term, is it a board, Google suggests that it's a board, anyway), maybe it's a reminder to save water, maybe it's a chucklesome commentary on the weather.

In the Tacoma, Washington-area (check out the specific locations on their website), a group of guys from Peregrine Church are using Nanex's Always Dry to spray on superhydrophobic coatings in fun designs. They're calling their program Check 'em out.

Heck, make one yourself in your town. Apparently it's legal, "as it’s temporary, which it is since the messages come and go, and isn’t commercial."