Saturday, August 29, 2015

ESG Secure glass video

What does that guy have against that panel of glass?

Doesn't he understand that he can just slide the aluminum frame out of the way and get to the bricks underneath?

Heck, he could probably just undo the C-clamps, slip the 2x4 blocks, and shift the glass panel off to the side.

ESG glass has all sorts of product options including their Secure line, shown up above. They describe themselves as "the UK's premiere glass processor, toughener, and laminator for the professional trade."

I see all sorts of cool material science happening in that sentence.

3D printing materials: plastics, metals, ceramic, and more - Shapeways

3d printing allows for some pretty amazing, intricate products, things that could never be made from casting or forging or just about any other method than via 3d printing.

Only I'm not an expert 3d printer.

But Shapeways is a company of expert 3d printers ready to print up whatever you can dream up in just about any material you can dream up. And they have a page listing all sixteen materials they can print in with good comparisons of their various strengths and weaknesses.

They have a lot of pretty amazing products available, and you can have a whole lot of them printed to order in a whole lot of different materials.

Want a very cool ruler in plastic? A deathly hallows pendant in sixteen different metals? A heart/apple sculpture in what they call sandstone? A $61,662 platinum mosaic egg? Or about ten thousand other things all 3d printed to order...

Slicing ice with your fingers (and a bit of graphene)

The 'knife' can't possibly be a single layer of carbon atoms, right? I can see the 'knife', so it clearly must be more than one atom thick (as the video says at 0:55, it's a quarter of an inch thick.)

How is it, then, graphene? Is graphene truly graphene is it's multiple layers thick?

Graphene is one layer thick, but if you stack those multiple layers, don't you get good ol' graphite?

Is graphene really that awesome a conductor of heat? Apparently, yeah.

Bulletproof glass | Outrageous Acts of Science

I do believe it goes without saying, "don't try this at home."

At 1:40 the host of Outrageous Acts of Science goes through the idea of bulletproof glass, alternating layers of glass and polycarbonate.

Then, at 1:55 we get the money quote, "composites are used when you want the properties of two different materials, and you want to put them together for different purposes."

Monday, August 24, 2015

3D Printing In Glass

Holy crap is that awesome or what?

I've seen 3d printing with polymers, chocolate, cement, metals, sugar, even poop (don't ask), but glass clearly is off limits because of the required high temperatures.



The above video goes through watching an object from computer-aided design through glass melt to printing and annealing, resulting in gorgeous works of art.

The video below explains the process a little more than does the wordless video above.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Making silica aerogel at home

I've mentioned my lack of success with owning aerogel before. I can't even imagine what it would take to make some of my own - nor how awesome it would be to do so.

Yeah, this video goes through the process step by step, but it also uses a bunch of chemicals and equipment that I very much don't have.

Cool to see, though, just how aerogel is made.

Monday, August 17, 2015

'Smart implants' dissolve after healing - Science Nation

I don't get what's so impressive. I implant ice cream directly into my body with some frequency, and my body takes care of that all the time.

Too much ice cream, actually...

I'm hoping that they take any magnesium implants out of the bodies before they get cremated... sheesh.

That would be pretty cool, though, if medical implants could be absorbed into the body after the structural support is necessary.

Clean Cut Metal Works

That's certainly one way to make a rainbow permanent.

This series of photographs of gorgeous welds (rainbows caused by layers of oxidation) was attributed to the same metal artist who makes sculptures are Clean Cut Metal Works.

I'm skeptical because none of the work on CCMW looks anything like the photos above (gorgeous thought they may be in their own rights.

If anything, those above look more like the ones on TheFabricator website.

Never let a [material scientist] read your romance novel

From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Saturday, August 15, 2015

DIY Fashion ♥ Toothbrush Bracelets

How cute are those?

It took me a while to get the different between thermoplastic and thermoset polymers down. Then I realized it's nothing but word origins.
  • thermoplastic...thermo = heat...plastic = change thermoplastics are things that, when heated, change shape...
  • thermoset...thermo = heat...set = not changing thermosets are things that, when heated, don't change shape...
Clearly, whatever cheap, pretty, translucent polymer these toothbrushes are made of are thermoplastic.

Now I just need to find the absolute cheapest way to buy a few hundred of these for my classes.

Thanks, by the way, to Jen Donaldson for sending in today's project video.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The power of the mini arc furnace

There is a level of do-it-yourself project that is within my grasp.

Tighten up the hardware on the kitchen cabinets? Sure

Cut down the bushes out front? Got it

Even making the King of Random's mini metal foundry? Probably

But I'm the first to admit that I very quickly reach projects that are our of my depths, like making and then using the King of Random's mini arc furnace.

This one scares the mess out of me, and I'm going to strongly recommend that you only step into these depths if you know what you're doing.

But if you do know what you're doing, the one looks pretty awesome, using a homemade arc reactor to power an arc furnace, producing molten aluminum or copper for casting.

Be careful out there, folks...

Shift Happens 2014

Be careful when enunciating the title of today's video.

I used to show Shift Happens when I taught the ASM teacher camps. It's a nice, tidy, five minute educational bomb, and it spurs a decent amount of conversation about how we need to teach our students, something that isn't the overt purpose of our camps but that is certainly subtly embedded in the course of the week.

But the statistics in that original is nearly ten years old now, and the statistics we becoming dated when I started using it in 2010.

Here's an updated version from 2014. No citations are provided, of course, so take any facts with a grain of salt.

Edisto Island, South Carolina and Alexander Bache's

My wife and I took a trip to Edisto Island, South Carolina this June, camping a couple of miles from the beach in a rented, teardrop camper. The campsite adjoined Botany Bay, a plantation-cum-nature-preserve with gorgeous beach access.

In hiking Botany Bay's grounds, just past the Bleak Hall Ice House, we followed a sign for the Bache monument, neither of us having any idea what the Bache monument was - or how to pronounce Bache. After a fair number of twists, turns, spider webs, and uncertain left and right turns, we came upon a two and a half foot tall, four-sided, low-slope peaked granite monument inscribed with the name Bache and a few other things that meant nothing to us.

Heck, we didn't even take a photo, the monument was so uninteresting and unassuming.

Until we hiked through Edisto Beach State Park the next day, finding ourselves at the education center in the far, western edge of the park. There we found a second Bache monument, thankfully along with educational placards explaining just why that unassuming granite tower was remarkably important and interesting.

I'll start with the informational placards then follow up with my explanation and interpretation.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

EPA says it released 3 million tons of contaminated water into river

That's not how the Animas River should look.

No, this is how the Animas River should look.

But then, as the post title says, the EPA released 3 million tons of contaminated water in the Animas River...accidentally, at least.

Another article, this by the Washington Post, does a nice job explaining just what was happening when the accident happened...
When underground water runs through a mine, it picks up traces of the minerals that are buried there, explains Colorado Public Radio station KUNC. When it mixes with mineral pyrite, it reacts with air to form sulfuric acid and dissolved iron. It also picks up other heavy metals, like copper and lead, as well as any of the chemicals that miners have been using to extract the resources. By the time it trickles out of the mountain and into nearby waterways, it’s an acidic, often-toxic brew.


The Animas River Stakeholders Group that was set up to deal with the issue after the mines were closed, which includes Sunnyside Gold Corp., didn’t have the estimated $12 million to $15 million it would take to treat the contaminated runoff. And for years, Silverton residents resisted EPA involvement out of fear that the “Superfund” label given to the nation’s worst hazardous waste sites would jeopardize the tourism industry — the only source of income that could replace the vanished mines. A few even hoped that the mines would reopen one day.

Meanwhile supporters of EPA intervention accused Sunnyside of stonewalling the cleanup attempt to avoid liability.

The two sides reached an agreement of sorts this year. The mines would not be designated a Superfund site, and the EPA would provide $1.5 billion to plug the problematic Red and Bonita mine, where polluted water drained at a rate of 500 gallons per minute, according to the Durango Herald.
But water has a habit of finding its way downhill, and plugging one mine often means it simply leaks from others, so the agency had to excavate and stabilize the Gold King mine upstream.
That’s what they were up to on Aug. 5, when the loose material holding the mine together finally gave way. The water that had accumulated in the mine’s long-abandoned tunnels went tumbling into Cement Creek.

“It was known that there was a pool of water back in the mine, and EPA had a plan to remove that water and treat it, you know, slowly,” Peter Butler, who serves as a co-coordinator of the stakeholders group, told KUNC. “But things didn’t go quite the way they planned and there was a lot more water in there than they thought, and it just kind of burst out of the mine.”
And there you go..."it just kind of burst out of the mine."

I've written about the remnants of mining before and was lucky enough to see how it's dealt with at Berkley Pit in Butte, Montana, particularly in the Silver Bow Creek area.

In the long run the scars left by our mining sites are going to take a very long time to heal, but it's tough to ever look at not mining because we need what's in those hills.

That being said, often times it's even tougher to look at the consequences of our mining.

If We Want to Keep the Gadgets Coming, Let's Mine Greenland

We need heavy metals. Without the continued influx of Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Kiss, and others like them, our supply of disaffected, midwestern teenage boys may dry up at any time.

(I'm sorry, but I swear that I'm contractually obligated to tell a corny joke at the beginning of every post. Them's the rules.)

This Wired article from February, 2015 opens by explaining the usefulness of many of the rare earth metals (or lanthanides as they point out) and then to point out that current Chinese supplies look to run out soon, America's supply isn't profitable right now, Australia's deposits need to find a refiner, but Greeland's deposit, the second largest in the world, is sitting right there under 1.3 miles of ice.

The article also points out that Denmark's environmental stewardship record would give us hope that the mining would be done in as environmentally friendly way as possible.

I doubt the last paragraph's assertion, however, that, "There are no native populations to displace, no salmon runs to despoil." The macrofauna under the ice may be minimal to nonexistant, but I would venture to wager that the microfauna is pretty well balanced there under the ice sheet.

Until then, I'll go for the fist of rock with lead.

Strong, machinable aerogel now available

I had a piece of areogel. It was identical to the piece of 'classic silica aerogel' that the video shows at 0:20 in the video above.

The Becky Heckman got ahold of it.

Then I had a whole bunch of pieces of aerogel. That stuff is incredibly fragile.

 Must be Italian.

I want Rebecca to buy me a piece of airloy to make up for her lack of delicacy.

Will you sign my petition to get Rebecca Heckman to buy me a piece of airloy? If so, please click the link.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Head Room: The Department of Chemistry Glassblowing Shop

I warn you in advance, these videos contain glassblowing that is slightly more difficult and glassblowers that are slightly more skilled than what we see in our summer workshops.

But they also contain pretty awesome career options for students with a material and an artistic bent.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Face-Centered Cubic (fcc) Unit Cell Earrings for Material Scientists

Yeah, it might be worth buying these $16, face centered cubic unit cell earrings (made of nylon impregnated with aluminum - an fcc metal, itself - particles), but really only if you had a friend who wore them at the same time so you could put your heads together to show how they repeat to form the face centered cube.

Or you could take 'em off and put them right up next to each other, but who wants to go through the effort of taking earrings on and off to teach? Isn't that why we have unions so we don't have to do that anymore?

Oh, and I don't understand how this person doesn't also have at least body centered cubic, simple cubic, and hexagonal close packed earrings.

Or tongue studs.

Maybe stick pins for eyebrow piercings.

I'd buy a couple of those.

2015's summer ASM teacher camps

Last summer when I made the map of summer camps, I had to pay $10 a month for get access so I could add in enough layers to get each week's camps to be a different color...because that's how I wanted the map to look.

This summer, though, it appears that Google has shifted to a free service with - if not unlimited layers - at least enough free layers for my needs.

Check out the full map if the above embed doesn't work for you.

And, now that you've checked out the above map, head over to the ASM Educational Foundation website and sign the heck up.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

Teaching the teachers: how a unique summer program is helping Tennessee teachers tackle science instruction.
Posted by Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

It's always nice to hear good things about our summer teacher camps, especially from folks who aren't part of the when the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

Congrats to Lisa and Ogiemwonyi and Mort Schaffer who took our show on the road to Spring Hill, TN to not a high school or exactly a university but rather the Northfield Workforce Development and Conference Center.