Category archives: Materials

Biological solutions for architectural problems

Biological solutions for architectural problems

MaterialsMechanical Engineering

By Silvia Román

Materials science is becoming more and more an interdisciplinary field in which almost every traditional subject has its say. Disciplines such as biology, medicine, computational design, architecture or even music, painting or sculpture converge on this open-minded host. As a result, new inspiring research is coming from so many different fronts, brought together by their […]

Sieving at the nanoscale: desalination of seawater through nanoporous graphene

Sieving at the nanoscale: desalination of seawater through nanoporous graphene

MaterialsPhysics

By Silvia Román

Perhaps the most repeated words in the last few years when talking about graphene – since scientists Geim and Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for their groundbreaking experiments – are “the material of the future”. There are some risks regarding so many expectations about everything related to materials science, since […]

Stuck like a gecko

Stuck like a gecko

BiologyMaterials

By Silvia Román

We all know the story of that Swiss engineer who came up with the hoop-and-loop fastener system (also known under the brand name Velcro) just by paying attention to the burdock burrs stuck in his clothes and his dog’s fur after a walk in the Alps. When he put these burrs under the microscope a […]

Bamboo bikes are better for your buttocks

Bamboo bikes are better for your buttocks

MaterialsMechanical EngineeringPhysics

By Carlos Casanueva

Bicycles are usually regarded as the most sustainable mean of transport for urban environments. Now, when talking about sustainability, there are usually two different discussions: on the one hand, there is energy sustainability, as the fossil fuels won’t last forever and their secondary products are quite unhealthy. Bikes, being powered by people, fully comply with […]

Superparamagnetic nanoparticles and the separation problem

Superparamagnetic nanoparticles and the separation problem

MaterialsPhysics

By Silvia Román

It has been a long time since we have learned that “going nano” leads to new properties arising from matter. One of those size-dependent properties that promises huge benefits due to its potential applications is magnetism. Magnetic materials are classified according to their susceptibility to magnetic fields into diamagnetic, paramagnetic and ferromagnetic materials, the first […]

Carnivorous plants inspire novel liquid repellent surfaces

Carnivorous plants inspire novel liquid repellent surfaces

ChemistryMaterialsPhysics

By Mireia Altimira

Natural non-wetting structures, particularly lotus leaves (Fig. 1a), have inspired the development of synthetic liquid-repellent surfaces. These surfaces rely on the formation of a stable air–liquid interface, but present limited repellency to oils with high contact angle hysteresis, failure under pressure and inability to self-heal. The paper by Wong et al. presents a novel approach […]

Melodies of proteins

Melodies of proteins

BiochemistryMaterials

By Silvia Román

The way in which nature manages to create functional diversity in matter is probably the wisest guide for biomaterials engineers, who are always looking for new creative processes to come up with new materials. The conventional way of designing complex materials with new functionalities is explained by the so-called top-down approach, in which a new […]