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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Glass Hardness and Pressure

How is glass hardness defined? I understand that ordinary kitchen knives cannot scratch most toughened glass, such as the ones found on cell phones. However (I once tried) - with enough pressure, one ...
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334 views

What makes materials hard and strong?

This is something I have wondered for a long time. Why are some materials like steel, diamond, and even light materials like graphene stronger than others? Is it due to the strength of the ...
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2answers
133 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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1answer
155 views

Reducing Friction between 2 abs plastic bodies [closed]

Here at the company we've been working on a new product, and it will more than a few times a day and with a considerable force, slide on a plastic surface, being itself, another plastic body, roughly ...
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5k views

Why can't a piece of paper (of non-zero thickness) be folded more than $N$ times?

Updated: In order to fold anything in half, it must be $\pi$ times longer than its thickness, and that depending on how something is folded, the amount its length decreases with each fold differs. ...
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1answer
121 views

How does tempered glass work?

I've read that tempered glass work by heating and then rapidly cooling the glass so that the outer layer 'freezes' (stops expanding/contracting) but the core contracts further as it cools. I'm told ...
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204 views

Ashcroft Mermin Solid State Eq. 22.15

I recently read a paper on Specific heat of a Classical Crystal: Dulong-Petit law. In Eq. 22.15, I don't understand why the ionic displacement $\mathbf{u}$ and ...
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5answers
30k views

Yield Strength versus Ultimate Strength

What is the qualitative difference between these two: As seen on the table Typical yield and ultimate strengths. I am trying to resolve the meaning of the phrase "contact yield stress" from C. ...
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70 views

Is there quantitative theory of cutting with edge or blade

I wonder if there is some simple theory of what determine efficiency ( speed, energy end force required ) of cutting by edge ( blade , knife, sword ) At least something phenomenological like in ...
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4answers
3k views

Why will clay, when heated to high temperatures, harden and become waterproof?

I have a question Why will clay, when heated to high temperatures, harden and become waterproof?
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2answers
100 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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2k views

Equation describing magnetic hysteresis

So when you're looking at B-H curves for ferromagnetic substances, you often see these magnetic hysteresis curves, which occur, I gather, largely because of domain formation which has some reversible ...
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5k views

Why does paper become translucent when smeared with oil but not (so much) with water?

When I smear oil onto a scrap of paper and rub it in, the paper becomes quite translucent; but when I attempt the same with water it doesn't as much. Why?
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222 views

What are the relative permeability and electrical conductivity of GaAs?

I am doing some simulations in COMSOL with the material GaAs. The COMSOL built-in models require me to input the relative permeability and electrical conductivity of GaAs. I have tried hard to search ...
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2answers
218 views

A few questions about the Fermi Level/Energy

My first question is, how is the Fermi Energy for a material actually determined? I know this derivation, but it seems to say that the Fermi Energy is just based on the electron density (and maybe ...
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3answers
780 views

Graphene +1 extra carbon bond

I'm not a physicist just a curious mind, so please go easy! I was just watching a BBC Horizon Documentary that featured a piece on the recently discovered material Graphene. One of the facts ...
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1answer
569 views

Limits of Poisson's ratio in isotropic solid

For an isotropic solid, Poisson's ratio can be expressed in terms of stiffness constants as: $$\sigma = \frac{c_{11} - 2c_{44}}{2c_{11} - 2c_{44}}$$ Alternatively we may express Poisson's ratio in ...
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237 views

Why Negative refractive index is negative

$n=\sqrt{\epsilon \mu }$ Negative refractive index happens when permittivity ($\epsilon $) and permeability ($\mu $)of a material is negative. My question is, if permittivity and permeabilitity of a ...
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2answers
135 views

When a wire is stretched by a load, is there any change in its volume? [closed]

When a wire, or a rod(whose diameter is not negligible) is subjected to a tensile stress, is there any change in its volume? If yes, does the volume increase or decrease? Take into consideration both ...
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855 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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1answer
193 views

What does (001) Silicon mean?

If someone gives me a thin film of Si, and they tell me it's (001) Si, does that mean that the (001) planes of Si are the ones making up the surface of the film?
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3answers
651 views

Is there a physical reason steel balls are not suitable to play billiards with?

Steel is an elastic matter and is often used when demonstrating elastic collisions. We also make springs from it. Due to these properties and for its relative low price, it seems obvious to me to ...
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1k views

physics of wet hair

I'm curious about the physics behind the clumping of wet hair. More specifically, how the amount of water in hair and distance between hairs affect the clumping process. I know intuitively that when ...
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60 views

What physical properties of silver would contribute to the sound of a musical instrument?

Sorry if this is off-topic. A question was recently asked on Musical Practice & Performance, asking what physical properties of silver would contribute to the sound of percussion instruments. It ...
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61 views

band gaps in tight binding model

What happens at the zone boundaries of the brillouin zones in the tight binding model? How does the band gap originate in the TB model?
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515 views

How does a Photocell/Photoresistor work? [closed]

I'm just curious highschooler beginning an interest in electronics and this concept of light detecting resistance component is really intriguing to me. I assume it's an application of the ...
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0answers
47 views

What metals much harder than steel can be met in real life? Like pins in clothes security tags [closed]

Once I bought a piece of clothes and forgot to remove magnetic tag in the store. I found, that it consists of two disks, connected with thin pin (of some metal). I was sure it is possible to break ...
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71 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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2answers
4k 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
21k views

Hollow Tube Stronger than Solid bar of same Outside Diameter (O.D.)?

I was listening to some co-workers talking about problems meeting stiffness requirements. Someone said that even with a solid metal rod (instead of the existing tube) we could not meet stiffness ...
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1answer
162 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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6answers
3k views

Is there any anti-gravity material?

I want to know if there is any anti-gravity material. I am thinking of making flying vehicles which are made up of anti-gravity material so that they will not experience any gravity on them and can ...
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3answers
783 views

Why does diamond have lower tensile strength than Iron?

Let me first give you the tensile strength of both substance: Diamond: 16000 MPa Steel : 2617 MPa As you guys should know, tensile strength is how much a ...
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78 views

Reasons to consider the coefficient of restitution velocity independent - conditions when this does apply

In high-school mathematics textbooks a bouncing ball is often considered as an example of an exponential decay. One can easily derive this if one assumes that the coefficient of restitution is ...
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2answers
65 views

Optical refocusing efficiency

What is the material for optical focusing that produces the less diffraction losses? Suppose one have a sequence of serial optical elements $R$ that keep refocusing a beam of collimated light, each a ...
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76 views

Whether Au-Ga-Bi ternary phase diagram be calculated theoretically

Currently, my experiment involves the three elements: Au, Ga, Bi, and I need Au-Ga-Bi ternary phase diagram to explore the ...
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32 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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3answers
4k views

Is it possible to avoid the radiation that caused the American flag turned into white on the Moon? [closed]

While lunar images have proven that the American flags planted during the Apollo missions are still standing on the moon, lunar scientists have now said that they probably no longer hold the iconic ...
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47 views

Types of semiconductor relaxation

Ok, so you've basically got tensile and compression strain in a lattice mismatched material right? So as you're epitaxially layering the material, the strained material is deforming more and more ...
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1answer
139 views

Pressure applied to flat plate

I have a question about the pressure placed on a plate of material X, how the force is distributed and what would be the material property that would determine its failure. To simplify things ...
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1answer
58 views

The resolution limit for lithography in practice?

For a given wavelength of light $\lambda$, and a given numerical aperture (NA), I always see the statement in papers/etc. that we can perform lithographic patterning at the Rayleigh limit given by ...
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1answer
68 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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127 views

Is it possible for a material to shift the frequency of all light reflected off of it by a specific and constant value

Without reducing the energy more than necessary due to the frequency decrease? And if this happens/works, is there an index of such materials and their optic properties?
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27 views

Microscopic origin of optical transmission

When light interacts with matter, it is abosrbed, reflected and transmitted. With repect to the UV-Vis range, electronic abosrptions occur, where if the incident photon mode matches the energy ...
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33 views

Heat Sink considerations for thermionic generators

I recently read an article describing thermionic generation. I am considering building a TG for a science fair experiment. I was thinking about surrounding my heat source with a spherical emitter and ...
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2answers
100 views

Need an intermediate resistivity part/material

I need a part or material for a planned experiment (the experiment is similar to those described in my articles http://arxiv.org/abs/1208.0066 and http://arxiv.org/abs/1109.1626 ). The problem is that ...
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3answers
195 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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1answer
67 views

Determining of Fracture Toughness without fatigue pre cracking, is it possible? [closed]

Determining of Fracture Toughness without fatigue pre cracking, is it possible? I want to find the consistent method for determining fracture toughness values without fatigue test for creating ...
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0answers
86 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 ...