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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12
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3answers
843 views

Can the speed of light become complex inside a metamaterial?

The speed of light in a material is defined as $c = \frac{1}{\sqrt{\epsilon \mu}}$. There are metamaterials with negative permittivity $\epsilon < 0$ and permeability $\mu < 0$ at the same time. ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
384 views

Extracting water out of silica gel [closed]

From my preliminary research I've learned that desiccants are a good (best?) method to absorb water from air. Assuming I'm using silica gel (or kitchen salt, or rice) then what is the best way to ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Why can one bend glass fiber?

Why can one bend glass fibers without breaking it, whereas glasses one comes across in real life is usually solid? Is there also a good high-school level explanation of this?
-1
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3answers
379 views

Are we crystals?

Can we say that we are crystals because just like crystals we are made up of very small unit (cell) making up almost the same shape (our body) everywhere.
3
votes
3answers
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
134 views

Current Physical Applications of Elastic Fractals

Are there any known uses of modeling with elastic fractals in current physical applications? (Especially uses concerning with self-similarity)
4
votes
1answer
558 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
965 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
409 views

Will tensile strength keep a cable from snapping indefinitely?

Trying to secure a wall hanging using magnets; me and a coworker came up with an interesting question: When the hanging is hung using 1 magnet, the weight of it causes it to quickly drag the ...
17
votes
3answers
4k 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. ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Why are materials that are better at conducting electricity also proportionately better at conducting heat?

It seems like among the electrical conductors there's a relationship between the ability to conduct heat as well as electricity. Eg: Copper is better than aluminum at conducting both electricity and ...
21
votes
1answer
760 views

Why is tape so hard to rip when it is not broken, but so easy once there is the tiniest cut in it?

Question says it all. Ripping a piece of tape along the width is tough, stretches the tape, messes it up, etc, but if you put the tiniest nick at the top, it rips without any problems. Why is that?
9
votes
3answers
3k views

What determines the color of a pure substance and is it possible to predict it?

I have always wondered why salt is white, water is clear and gold is, well, gold. What determines the color of a substance? Does it have something to do with the electrons? And is it possible to ...
2
votes
3answers
241 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
652 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 ...