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Materials and Nanotechnology

aerogel protecting crayons from a flame


Materials science brings together multiple sciences, including chemistry, in the study of materials and how we can use them. We can study existing materials to learn about their bonding, structures, and properties, and think about how we might use them. We can also develop new materials that have properties we want.

Nanotechnology is a hot research area in which scientists use atoms and molecules to build materials that can be used in many areas, such as health care, clean energy sources, and shrinking electronics. These nanomaterials, which typically measure between 1 and 100 nanometers, can have surprising properties.



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  • Ferrofluid Fun
    These dark spikes and patterns will make you think you're in an art gallery—see ferrofluid science at work.
  • Can You Build Ships Out of Ice?
    Could it happen back in the 1940s? What about now? Mythbusters puts it to the test.
  • AlgiKnit
    Step into sustainable seaweed fashion with AlgiKnit. Learn about this biopolymer and how it might find a future in your closet.
  • Science of Innovation: Smart Concrete
    Concrete gets smart—with carbon.
  • Getting More Heat Out of Sunlight
    Hot on one side, cool on the other. How can it help your home?

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(all sites accessed July 2019)