Author archives: Silvia Román

Image of Silvia Román

Silvia Román graduated in Physics in 2005 and got her PhD in Materials Physics in 2010 from the University of Valladolid. Since then her research has been focused on polymeric materials, ranging from flame retardant polymers to new composites based on biopolymers, always attending both to the composition-structure-properties relationships and to the impact that all these materials have on the environment.

Bio-inpired self-healing materials

Bio-inpired self-healing materials

Materials

By Silvia Román

Plants and animals are provided with startling self-healing and defence mechanisms. Think of how trees achieve wound closure after losing a limb through callus formation, or the ability of the chameleon to adapt the colour of the skin according to its surroundings through reversible muscle control. These are very well-known examples where living nature teaches […]

Using machine learning to discover new metallic glasses

Using machine learning to discover new metallic glasses

Computer scienceCondensed matterMaterials

By Silvia Román

Metallic glasses are a unique class of materials whose properties combine some of the irreconcilable properties of both metals and polymers. They consist of a combination of metals which, in the solid state, present an amorphous atomic structure, in contrast to common metal alloys, which present a highly ordered microscopic pattern. This lack of crystalline […]

The 3D-printing hype: expectations vs. reality

The 3D-printing hype: expectations vs. reality

Materials

By Silvia Román

After years of watching manufacturing plants relocating offshore, hundreds of thousands of jobs gone and deindustrialization creeping up, policy makers and investors from high-income countries are finally willing to bring the manufacturing sector back. But they won’t get this done just competing globally for mass, low-cost production; those days are long gone. On the contrary […]

Origami, the art of folding

Origami, the art of folding

Materials

By Silvia Román

Origami, the ancient art of creating intricate sculptures from a flat sheet of paper, is no longer just a Japanese curiosity, but a cutting-edge manufacturing technique. Just through bending and folding a given material, we can obtain complex 3D structures with applications in electronics, bioengineering or architecture, just to name a few that are currently […]

Dealing with fire in microgravity

Dealing with fire in microgravity

ChemistryPhysics

By Silvia Román

All we know about fire under Earth´s gravity must be questioned in microgravity. In fact, most of the well-known characteristics of fire behavior are driven by the effects of gravity. That´s why the science of combustion in low-gravity environments is an important field of knowledge for NASA studies when evaluating spacecraft safety. And, contrary to […]

Is nature “natural” anymore?

Is nature “natural” anymore?

BiotechnologyEthics

By Silvia Román

It seems that we are definitely heading towards the bio-based society, a new way of interacting with the environment where fossil fuels won’t be needed anymore and “more natural” processes for producing energy, food and materials will prevail. Remarkably, this bio-turn often involves highly advanced biotechnology and strict competitive targets, both facts that challenge our […]

Mapping interdisciplinarity

Mapping interdisciplinarity

Philosophy of scienceSociology

By Silvia Román

Some decades ago, the American social scientist Donald T. Campbell imagined interdisciplinary research as a fish-scale structure according to which scholars should make an effort to create links between disciplines, spanning areas ignored by others, in an overlapping pattern aiming to cover the entire web of knowledge. He suggested that scholars should overcome the “ethnocentrism […]

Critical materials: The missing piece of the “green economy” puzzle

Critical materials: The missing piece of the “green economy” puzzle

EconomicsGeosciencesMaterials

By Silvia Román

It is widely accepted that low carbon technologies will contribute to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mostly those coming from carbon dioxide, and thus slow down the global warming. That’s why most of the largest economies in the world have committed to reduce their gas emissions by supporting an unprecedented transition from the current fossil-fuel based […]