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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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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4answers
3k views

Graphene space elevator possible?

I just read this story on MIT working on industrial scale, km^2 sheet production of graphene. A quick check of Wikipedia on graphene and Wikipedia on space elevator tells me Measurements have ...
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2k views

How to know what materials are good conductors of electricity?

I'm not asking a question like "Is the wood conductive?". No. I'm asking what properties do they have to have to be good conductors. Theoretically I mean. Thanks.
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338 views

How to calculate the highest theoretical artificial hill?

The biggest peak in the world is Mount Everest. Imagine someone starting to make an artificial hill (like pyramide) from soil (earth). So, when starting with an 200x200 Km base area, with 45degree ...
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534 views

BCS theory, Richardson model and Superconductivity

I'm studying Richardson Model in second quantization. There are many initial points that I don't understand: We supposed that an attractive force between 2 electrons exists, due to electron-phonon ...
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101 views

Thermal conductivity affected by electrical current

Does anyone know of any materials whereby the thermal conductivity can be changed by passing an electrical current through the material?
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1k views

Transparency of solids using bandgaps and relation to conduction and valence bands

I think I understand how a solid can appear transparent as long as the energy of the photons travelling through it are not absorbed in the material's bandgap. But how does this band gap relate to ...
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117 views

limits of diamond anvils for high pressure research

in this wikipedia article regarding diamond anvils, it mentions that the pressure peaks roughly at 300 GPa. My question is why is this so? is the diamond crystal structure collapsing if higher ...
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393 views

What properties would the ideal material for spacecraft construction possess?

Assuming we develop the capability to send a robot to study Gliese 518, or any of the Earth-like planets discovered in the neighbourhood; the spacecraft would need to travel through the Solar System ...
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546 views

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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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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285 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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908 views

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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92 views

Why is powdered sugar less dense than granulated sugar?

The density of powdered sugar is about 20% lower than that of granulated sugar. There is small composition difference between the two - about 3% cornstarch and 0.5% water in powdered sugar, but that's ...
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38 views

What keeps objects made of the same plastic apart?

I have two objects here which are made of the same plastic. When I hold them together, they remain separate objects: I can pull them apart with no resistance. How does each atom/molecule “know” which ...
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213 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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155 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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197 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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143 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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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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981 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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2answers
3k views

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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3answers
4k 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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57 views

What makes a material a good lens for CO2 lasers?

I read on Wikipedia that zinc selenide and germanium make good lenses for $\mathrm{CO}_2$ lasers. My question is, Why?
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533 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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260 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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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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200 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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129 views

Can Aluminium be softened

I have an aluminium baking plate that I did put in a very hot oven and now it is soft, so I can bend it or almost roll it up. Why?
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786 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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148 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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397 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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603 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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81 views

Not-so-hot black shirt

As it is getting warmer here by the minute I was asking myself: Are there materials, that are black (in th visible range) but reflect (most) invisible light? Furthermore, I asked myself what ...
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65 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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157 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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159 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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Why does a spring lose its energy when compressed for a long time?

Why does a spring lose a part of its energy when compressed for a long period of time? Is it because the material gets bent?
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1answer
223 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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332 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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203 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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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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1answer
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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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1answer
529 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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1answer
897 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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47 views

How can one reasonably theoretically model polycrystalline materials?

Many techniques are taught in advanced solid state courses but they are almost all derived for perfectly crystalline materials. For example, band structure really only appears theoretically when you ...
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28 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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56 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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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 ...