In beautiful, Science, technology on April 29, 2014 at 7:25 am
Here’s a three-fer of recent acoustics news:
From Physics World, a story about a structure that can block certain sound frequencies. But even cooler, the researchers can change their mind about which frequencies get blocked, and change the material in less than a second: Acoustic metamaterial can be reconfigured in a jiffy.
Meanwhile, from Scientific American, the acoustic equivalent of an optical isolator makes it possible for sound to go from point A to point B, but not back from B to A. This might seem simple, but it hasn’t been done before. A One-Way Street for Sound.
And finally, courtesy of the American Physical Society, we get a story about another metamaterial — foam — which can also block certain frequencies. Although I suspect this was already known to many a garage band, who were asked to muffle their sound by putting rigid foam insulation against the walls. Still, the researchers made a thorough scientific study of what works and how. And probably not playing covers of the greatest hits of Nirvana. Physics – Stopping Sound with Foam.
In beautiful, technology on April 22, 2014 at 7:30 am
A while back, I wrote an article about the teeth of sea urchins, which are extraordinary. The teeth, which are fairly standard calcium compounds, manage to chew through much harder rock as the urchins grind protective holes for themselves. The trick lay in both the macro-structure of the teeth (with a strong dense keel) and the micro-structure (with a cutting edge that fractured to expose new sharp cutting edges).
This related work on another calcium-based material shows how controlling fractures with microstructure can strengthen relatively brittle materials. Mother-of-pearl inspires super-strong material.
In beautiful, hilarious, technology on April 15, 2014 at 7:16 am
Two of my favorite things! Cooking and 3D printers! NPR’s “The Salt” discusses the confluence of the two. Spinach Dinosaurs To Sugar Diamonds: 3-D Printers Hit The Kitchen.
By the way, years ago I was promised that I’d soon be offered breakfast cereal encrusted with sugar holograms… I suspect the plan was brought low by either a price point or a humidity calculation. So sad, I was looking forward to the view of a cheery breakfast bowl of diffraction gratings, if not the super-sweetness that would be involved.
In beautiful, technology on April 8, 2014 at 7:08 am
In beautiful, hilarious, technology on April 1, 2014 at 7:50 am
Ridiculous and whimsical, but real:
Chefs and Scientists Design Bioinspired Cocktail Gadgets – Scientific American.
An in honor of April Fool’s Day, The American Chemical Society has a released a short video with a lot of element jokes. A *lot* of element jokes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5RZRkhk0OM
In beautiful, energy on March 18, 2014 at 7:48 am
There’s ample evidence that sometimes a roof with plants on it — or a roof painted white — reduces the heat load of a building compared to a standard black tar roof. But is it always so? Is it enough? The solution of which type of roof works best for a particular building or in a particular location is not simple. Still, with the hope of reducing urban heat islands, it’s worth experimenting. Scientific American has an update on the state of the (still an) art:
Cool Roofs Might Be Enough to Save Cities from Climate Overheating
In beautiful, Science on March 11, 2014 at 7:46 am
In beautiful on February 18, 2014 at 7:20 am
In beautiful, technology on February 4, 2014 at 7:58 am
The Slow Mo Guys are two fellows with an ultrafast camera (which provides high quality slow motion footage). They recently had a chance to play with both a superhydrophobic surface and with a ferrofluid. Pretty! Take a look:
In beautiful, technology on January 14, 2014 at 7:19 am
Most materials expand when heated. Each grows at a characteristic rate. If you attach two materials with different rates of expansion together, then when they heat up, one materials pushes or pulls the other so the bilayer bends. None of that is a surprise: expansion in metal bilayers has been used for many decades in thermometers and thermostats. But a group of researchers at Rice are expanding the concept to new materials, allowing a polymer bilayer to change shape when heated. Because the materials can be used in our bodies, they might be used to carry and then release drugs, or to put a flat device into the body (say, with minimally invasive surgery) that then expands to a 3D structure that could act as a scaffold for cells. Watch the video, or read more about it here: Composite material has mighty potential w/ Video.