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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Degree of anisotropy of crystal tensors

Does there exist a scalar that can describe how anisotropic the elasticity of a crystal is? What about other tensors such as the permittivity or susceptibility? I found a Wikipedia article that was ...
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97 views

Why nano indentation is used to test bulk material?

I am curious why nano indentation is used? I can understand when material size goes to micros or below, conventional hardening methods can become difficult to use. However many papers say that ...
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1answer
812 views

Divergence of Cauchy Stress Tensor

On the wikipedia page for the Cauchy Momementum Equation, it's stated that the equation can be written as $$\rho \frac{D\,\textbf{v}}{D\,t} = \nabla \cdot \sigma + \textbf{f}$$ Where $\sigma$ is ...
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422 views

Malleability in metals

I am trying to understand malleability in metal as a result of the micro structure. I am focusing on the metals of antiquity (in order of decreased malleability): Gold, Silver, Copper, and Iron. While ...
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Why can thermal shocks damage/break materials?

When an object is heated a lot and then brutally cooled down or vice-versa, it can crack or even break spectacularly. What happens inside that makes it do that? Is it only because the hot core swells ...
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What are some examples of non-Lambertian light scatters/radiators in everyday life?

What are some examples of non-Lambertian light scatters/radiators in everyday life? How to easily demonstrate their difference from Lambertian ones?
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323 views

Is there a difference between spring fatigue and plastic deformation in springs?

Is there a difference between spring fatigue and plastic deformation in springs? Plastic deformation means permanent deformation in springs caused due to stretching in springs.
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5k views

Is ice a type of glass?

It's kind of a tricky concept I assume, on one side you got those neat shared vertices of SiO2, on the other (water) you don't really have shared vertices, only kinda (but they still want to align ...
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Tensorial version of Hooke's law

It is well known that $${\boldsymbol F} = k {\boldsymbol x}$$ for isotropic media. Also, according to Wikipedia $$F_k = k_{jk} x_j$$ for some elastic tensor $k_{jk}$. I'm a bit confused as to how ...
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221 views

Why do we have Indirect bandgap semiconductor?

If the energy of an electron is proportional to square of the momentum k, how come we have a Indirect Bandgap material in which the minimum of the energy in conduction band is not at k not zero. P.S. ...
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48 views

How can I get some conductive polymer (silicone like), with 1 Ohm/cm resistance? [closed]

I'm looking for a silicone-like (flexible, stretchable) conductive polymer with 1 ohm/cm resistance. Does anyone happen to know where/how can I acquire some? Thank you very much for your time.
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151 views

Martian space elevator from the vulcano Olympus Mon to the moon Phobos?

In my fascinating imagination, I am seeing a space elevator from the vulcano Olympus Mon to the moon Phobos. Phobos also seems to keep spaceships - while a smaller shuttle attaches itself to the ...
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160 views

Software for analysing SEM or TEM images

I am looking for a software to analyse SEM and TEM images of some PLD experiments because I want to characterize the samples, like calculate the concentration of nanoparticles, size, and do some ...
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1answer
177 views

Cold welding of a metallic surface

I have heard of cold welding, it's said that it's only possible if the surface is very clean. Can cold welding be accomplished by shearing a metal object and then immediately touching the newly ...
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7answers
698 views

Is it possible to cut harder material with a less hard material?

Is it possible to cut harder material with a less hard material - for example cut a steel rod with iron blade ?
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15 views

What are the factors affecting transparency and color of a substance [duplicate]

What is the reason behind visual properties like color and transparency of different substances? I have always heard that the structure of the substance is responsible for these properties. I always ...
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1answer
21 views

Material for moisture moderation

Do you know of any material that can moderate the level of moisture of its local environment? Example: if the desired moisture level is 30% and the local environment of the material is at 6% the ...
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30 views

Material that can provide soft flexibility, while maintaining conduction “accuracy”

I hope material search may be valid here. Is there a material that can be shaped as a few millimeters thick sheet, that can be placed on top a touch surface (e.g. iOS/Android tablet, Wacom drawing ...
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2answers
773 views

Why is steel-reinforced concrete stronger than ordinary concrete?

Is it only because steel has higher elasticity? What other factors are involved?
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91 views

What is the yield strength of a bar of different cross sections?

Will the yield strength of the combination will be same as that of the rod of uniform cross section?
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271 views

Does induced current affect the permeability of a material?

For electromagnetic wave propagation, we can typically characterize a medium by conductivity $\sigma$, permeability $\mu$, and permittivity $\epsilon$. Consider if this material had current passing ...
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389 views

How many molecules rub off when I press a key?

I have a lot of questions below but my overarching questions are: Do surfaces rubbing lightly together always strip molecules off of each other? and How can we model that? Clearly the answer to the ...
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3answers
18k views

How does a knife cut things at the atomic level?

As the title says. It is common sense that sharp things cut, but how do they work at the atomical level?
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1answer
134 views

Demagnetisation by throwing a magnet

I tried to answer this question in a book about electrodynamics: How to demagnetise a permanent magnet, ie. described by $ D_T$ change into described by (0,0) I figured out about heating it up ...
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1answer
365 views

If atoms have specific energy levels, why do opaque solids absorb all visible light, not just some? [duplicate]

Here's my question: if atoms have well defined energy levels and those differences correspond to the frequencies of light that can be absorbed, how is it that opaque objects absorb all or most visible ...
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1answer
256 views

Question about supercooling

During the cooling of a liquid, if no impurity of site of nuclearation, an appreciable solidification will begin only after the temperature has been lowered to below the equilibrium solidification (or ...
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119 views

A physicists perspective on a material science/engineering problem

I am looking into some research that involves engineering and material science. As a physicists I wondered what other physicists would think of this problem and how they would approach it. Much of the ...
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1answer
134 views

intermetallics and solid solution

For some systems, discrete intermediate compounds rather than solid solutions may be found on the phase diagram, and these compounds have distinct chemical formulas; for metal–metal systems, they are ...
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451 views

Grain boundary sliding in creep

To prevent grain boundary sliding so that creep is less likely to occur, usually engineers would design components of larger grains or have columnar grain structure to prevent grain-boundary sliding. ...
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Does extreme cold make **everything** extremely brittle?

First of all, I'm genuinely sorry if this question isn't "serious" enough for this forum! A common cliche in movies and tv is that a very tough object (eg the villain) is frozen, and then hit with ...
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110 views

A question about residual stress

Shot peening is a process of inducing residual compressive stress on the surface layer of metal parts. When shooting particles are colliding on the surface of metal there is a compressive stress. My ...
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4answers
344 views

Surface area of glass (or general material) and strength

How does the surface area of a piece of glass (or any general material; sapphire isn't technically glass) correlate with strength? Strength as in resistance to pressure concentrated at a small point? ...
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754 views

Where I can find information about how helium gas diffuses through different polymer materials

I need more experimental information about helium gas diffusion in solid materials such as different plastics, metals, ceramics etc. For example I am scientifically curious about what is the polymer ...
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2answers
222 views

How absorption coefficient determines which material is used to make solar cells?

Does the knowledge of the material absorption coefficients aids engineers in determining which material to use in their solar cell designs? If yes, how?
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1answer
55 views

What is the meaning of $\%E$ on a graph?

I'm reading the book The New Science of Strong Materials by J.E. Gordon. He writes when we plotted (...) breaking strain, against thickness, we found it did not matter what the whiskers were made ...
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411 views

What factors cause the velocity saturation to occur at different electric fields for different materials?

In semiconductors the velocity of carriers gets saturated after a certain value of electric field. In silicon it occurs at around $10^4 kV/cm$ and in GaAs at some other value. What factors are ...
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66 views

Where will a board break when weight is added to the end?

If you have a board, say a standard 2x4 of finite length, where one end is fixed in a cement wall and the other end is free, and you begin adding weight to the free end until it breaks, where will the ...
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3answers
5k views

Is there a substance that doesn't reflect OR absorb light from the visible light spectrum?

Is there a substance that doesn't reflect or absorb visible light but may reflect light from another spectrum? Is there a theoretical substance that would have these properties? EDIT: Sorry I wasn't ...
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1answer
92 views

Is there a textile like material that can act as a spring? [closed]

Imagine some sort of textile (as in very light, not metallic) that is tightly rolled up, can be easily unrolled by applying some force (i.e pulling it) but when released will eventually return to it's ...
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3answers
200 views

Does Mohs scale of mineral hardness always hold?

According to Wikipedia's article on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, materials / minerals with a higher rating cannot be "visibly" scratched by materials with a lower rating. It goes on to admit ...
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2answers
115 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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Is Sapphire crystal flexible?

It is widely rumoured that the next iPhone's screen cover will be a sheet of synthetic Sapphire crystal. A video purporting to show a leaked part has emerged. The chap in the video (Marques Brownlee) ...
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668 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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Melting and Boiling Points of Odd Materials

In Chemistry, I was taught that there are three main states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas, and that heat and pressure determine that state. For some substances, the line is blurry between them. ...
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841 views

How does a fabric containing 10% stretch material make it stretchy?

Why should adding a small amount of a stretchy material make an otherwise non-stretchy fabric stretch? Shouldn't the non-stretch fibres still constrain the maximum stretch of the fabric?
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3answers
2k views

Which is stronger, wire rope or chain?

Assume they are the same material with the same weight, which is stronger?
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1answer
97 views

What keeps objects made of gold apart? [duplicate]

I was told the following basic facts: Objects made of the same metal don’t fuse in the atmosphere because they form an oxide layer. They do fuse in space. Gold doesn’t oxidize. Yet, gold nuggets ...
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61 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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2answers
204 views

Does the Night Mode of the screen display (LCD) save more energy? [closed]

In some cases, we can enable the Night Mode (reversing the bright and dark color of the display; such as White Text, Black Background) for the screen display. LCD(Liquid-crystal display) seems to be ...