The study of how the properties of matter arise from its structure at all scales and of how processing can be used to modify those properties (often in pursuit of a specific application).

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Origin of Elasticity

Why is it that not all bodies possess Elastic behavior? What is the origin of elasticity or plasticity? I mean, it's a physical property. So, how does it relate to atoms or molecules in different ...
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60 views

Why is it easier to glide on sharp ice skates than on dull skates?

There have been previous questions (e.g. here and here) on Physics.SE about the mechanism that makes ice skating possible. Reviewing these, as well external references, it seems pretty clear that the ...
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1k views

Physical meaning of elastic constants of a monoclinic crystal

For the elasticity of a material, Hook's law can be written in tensorial form as: $$\sigma = \mathsf{C}\, \varepsilon$$ where $\sigma$ is the Cauchy stress tensor, $\varepsilon$ is the infinitesimal ...
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278 views

Do amorphous metals undergo conchoidal fracture?

Amorphous metals are often referred to as metallic glasses due to their quenched atomic disorder. Do they fracture in the same fashion as silicate glasses? If not, what failure mode(s) do they have?
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Stress tensor in a cube with shear forces

I want to calculate stress matrix in a cube with two faces parallel to x axis and perpendicular to z axis (sorry I don't know how can I put a picture in this post). There are two force uniform ...
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143 views

What is the difference between material fatigue test with 1 sec cycle and 1 hour cycle?

Assume I have two pieces of metal. I want to test the material fatigue (e.g. how many cycles can the material stand before it will break). Onto one of them I apply a tension force every second. Onto ...
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189 views

(Botanical) branch bending under gravity

I'm a PhD student in maths, and attended my last physics class some 15 years ago, so you can imagine my competences in the field. My supervisor (also not a mechanist) cant tell me how to proceed ...
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131 views

Can a minimum ultimate tensile strength (UTS) for an asteroid be established based on its diameter and rotation?

I found it fascinating that many asteroids rotate with a period of just seconds. For this fast of a rotation on this size of object, I thought that would actually cause significant acceleration on the ...
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Why does foam dull knives?

I have recently taken up prop making and just started my first foam-built costume from a video game. These kinds of costume armour builds are often built out of the various foam floor mats you can buy ...
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185 views

Why are there direct bandgaps?

This Question has been bugging me for sometime. Some semiconductors have direct bandgaps and indirect bandgaps. So what causes a direct bandgap to occur? The physics behind ,why there are direct ...
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136 views

Why does the overhand knot jam but the figure-8 knot doesn't?

After tensioning a rope with an overhand knot in it, it is often very hard if not impossible to untie it; a figure-8 knot, on the other hand, still releases easily. Why is that so? Most "knot and ...
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946 views

Inflating a balloon (expansion resistance)

I am doing a quick calculation on how to calculate the pressure needed to inflate a perfectly spherical balloon to a certain volume, however I have difficulties with the fact that the balloon (rubber) ...
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Vibration as a means of passing through solid objects?

First of all, I think this is a weird question but I still want to know whether it's possible. There is a character in a cartoon network series who is really really fast. Sometimes he lets his own ...
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126 views

How is graphene a 2D substance?

How is graphene a 2D substance? It has length, width and some thickness to it, else it would be invisible. Why is it considered a 2D substance?
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451 views

Why does glass break at the line where you score it?

Why does it take such a small incision for the glass to break at that spot? Why is the structural strength of the material influenced by such a small imperfection?
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252 views

Why magnetic monopole found in spin ice don't modify the Maxwell's Equations?

Magnetic monopole predicted by Dirac nearly a century ago was found in spin ice as quasi-particle(2). My question is Why magnetic monopole found in spin ice don't modify the Maxwell's Equations? (I ...
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Optimal technique to tear perforated paper along the perforation [closed]

My daughter's coloring book has perforated pages, so you can easily rip out the pages for easier coloring action. Great. Trouble is, the perforation isn't enough, and it's almost impossible to rip ...
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2k views

Which metals can cause magnetic interference (passively)?

I am developing an application that uses the magnetometer inside smart-phones to detect orientation w.r.t. the Earth's magnetic field. I have noticed that when the phone is held close to a metal ...
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195 views

Effects of surface roughness on specularity

Say you have a piece of glass, which looks specular if propery cut/polished. But if you sand the surface using say sand paper, it will look hazy and glossy. I'm wondering how much surface roughness ...
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3k views

Why is copper diamagnetic?

Cu has an unpaired electron in 4s, but it is diamagnetic. I thought that it has to be paramagnetic. What am I missing?
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649 views

How is the stickiness of a fluid measured?

How does one compare the "stickiness" of different substances on a certain surface? For example: Does glue A stick better to steel than glue B? Does water stick better to steel than oil?
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131 views

What materials focus EM radiation in the 2.4GHz range

If glass and similar materials refract visible light effectively, what materials would be best for focusing lower frequencies of EM radiation, if any? If not, what other methods exist for focusing ...
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348 views

Why do non-stick frying pans work?

Modern non-stick frying pans use a mixture of titanium and ceramic that is sandblasted onto the pan surface, and then fired to 2,000 °C (according to Wikipedia). Can anyone explain (at the molecular ...
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563 views

Mnemonics to remember various properties of materials

I'm trying to figure out how to remember that hardness: how resistant it is to deformation toughness: how resistant it is to brittle failures stress: force on a surface area strength: ability to ...
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105 views

How to determine what an object is composed of?

Heads up: This question has never been asked (here) before the way I will ask it here, so let's shed some light on it a bit. Prelude and anecdote(can be skipped): The other day I was walking home, ...
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149 views

What made the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake?

The Ocean Drilling Program recently published results indicating that the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake produced a maximum co-seismic slip of more than 50 meters near the Japan Trench. This is the ...
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207 views

What states of matter are possible at lowest temperature?

Near absolute zero, some materials are superconductors. Other materials are superfluids. Others are Bose-Einstein Condensates. Is there a complete list of possibilities? Or is this still a research ...
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Why can glass absorb ultraviolet light?

Please see the following photos. (I cannot post them...) http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/q554/startanewww/CIMG4545.jpg http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/q554/startanewww/CIMG4546.jpg From the ...
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316 views

How much does a steel spring wire bend due to it's own weight?

I'm working on an art project and I need to know how much a steel spring wire bends dependent on it's diameter. It's point of support is in the middle and it's lengths is ...
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60 views

Tensile strength of a braided steel wire vs. a solid steel bar?

I am wondering which one is the strongest between a steel rope and a steel bar with same diameter and made of the same steel? EDIT : The test could be: attach rope/bar to ceiling and suspend a mass ...
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42 views

Can zinc nitride be used as light emitting material?

I cannot manage to find any journal papers about the applicability of zinc nitride as active layer of an light emitting diode (LED). But certain papers got mention that zinc nitride with a direct ...
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1k views

Space Elevator on Mars with Today's Technology Possible?

I know it's not possible with Earth today, but With today's level of material science technology, would it be possible to make cable strong and light enough to make a space elevator system connecting ...
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1k views

Penetration of armor plate

Is there a simple mathematical expression for the stopping power of a given thickness of armor, given the thickness of armor plate, the radius of a cannon ball, the density of the cannonball and the ...
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445 views

Is there any way to increase a rubber-bands lifetime?

Rubber-bands are simple, yet very useful. Old rubber bands(5 years?) get brittle? Why is that?
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713 views

What causes stress concentration (aka stress risers/raisers) at corners?

I've read a few explanations about why stress concentration occurs at sharp corners but I don't find the explanations intuitive. Can anyone explain it perhaps using an analogy such as atoms "holding ...
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33 views

Wall stress of a hexagonal pressure vessel

Problem: I want to calculate the stress in the walls of a hexagonal pressure vessel but I can't manage to get coherent results. For long vessels, cylinders are supposed to have the lowest hoop stress ...
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26 views

Aerosol size distribution

When the size distribution of particles in an aerosol is obtained, there is always a bimodal distribution. The small peak accounts for the particles that are in sub-nanometer size range and the larger ...
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46 views

in Science materials, what is difference b/w E and G?

I'm studying Science Materials on Callister's Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction. I've never studied Mechanics (except for basic Physics courses), so I was wandering: when talking ...
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105 views

What is the theoretical upper limit on the rigidity of a material?

Take a perfectly rigid metal rod of length $\ell$ and some uniform linear density. Place one end at $(0,0)$ and the other at $(0, \ell)$. Over some reasonably short time interval $t$, perhaps on the ...
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79 views

Where does one find pair-correlation functions for various materials?

What is the canonical source for finding pair-correlation functions for atoms in various materials? I am interested in both numeric computations and experimental measurements (like might be obtained ...
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93 views

Why Does Germanium Spontaneously Extrude Long Screw Dislocations?

Pure germanium is known to spontaneously extrude very long screw dislocations. They are one of the primary reasons for the failure of older diodes and transistors made from germanium; depending ...
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55 views

Does graphene actually remain strong for macroworld engineering?

I heard that people envision strong structural materials made out of graphene, but I heard it may weaken when being stack in layers. Is graphene viable for macroworld structural engineering or is it ...
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228 views

Semiconductor problem: how much Boron is required to establish a certain amount of charge carrier density

The problem description is as follows: Boron is used to dope 1 kg of germanium (Ge). How much boron (B) is required to establish a charge carrier density of 3.091 x 10^17 / cm^3. One mole of ...
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99 views

What ring weave disposition should be the most resistant against stabbing and/or how to determine it

In a website that I am studying so I can build a Chain Mail, I have found a page featuring a lot of different Ring Weaves to build them. I want to determine which one is the best to provide ...
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3answers
218 views

Material resistency to lasers beam

Keeping the average power constant, why some materials are more eager to be damaged by pulsed laser with respect of C.W. lasers, or viceversa? When i talk about pulsed lasers i think for examples of ...
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344 views

Is there a simple approximation to calculate the index of refraction of water?

A very rough approximation from first principles, from the elementary charge and hbar, would suffice. But is there such an approximation at all? (Alternatively, if water is too difficult: is there ...
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2answers
99 views

Can a liquid shrink as something is dissolved into it?

Not much more to add. By shrink, I mean become more dense at the same pressure and temperature. And I don't mean vol(A+B) < vol(A) + vol(B). I'm sure this is possible. Is it possible to ...
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1answer
288 views

Intuitive description of what a “Fermi Gas” really is?

This question is based in the area of material equations of state. I am wanting to know what a Fermi Gas really is. I have searched in several places for a decent description, but I have not found ...
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3k views

Will the hole on a metal disc expand or contract upon heating? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Will a hole cut into a metal disk expand or shrink when the disc is heated? The metal disc of diameter D1 has a hole in it and the diameter of the hole is D2 (D2 Now, ...
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Do all impacts create a wave-like disturbance in the medium through which they travel?

There is a scene in the first Matrix movie, where a helicopter strikes a skyscraper. The most interesting part is the 'slow-motion' bit where, as the helicopter strikes the building, a wave first ...