JOSEPH KACZMAREK/AP PHOTO Recent car crashes and airline fires have made it abundantly clear: Lithium-ion batteries, which power most portable devices and electric vehicles, are dangerous. If crushed and twisted, the porous plastic membrane that separates the electrodes inside can instantly shred and cause a short circuit, igniting the battery’s highly flammable […]

Repellency of different liquids on polyester fabric coated with H1F7Ma-co-DVB: soy sauce (black drop), coffee (brown drop), HCl acid (top left transparent drop), NaOH (bottom right transparent drop) and water (remaining transparent drops). Image: Varanasi and Gleason research groups Fabrics that resist water are essential for everything from rainwear to […]

The positions of atoms in a ferroelectric-like metal that contains barium titanate, strontium titanate and lanthanum titanate. Credit: Zhen Wang and Yimei Zhu; image obtained at Brookhaven National Laboratory In 1965, a renowned Princeton University physicist theorized that ferroelectric metals could conduct electricity despite not existing in nature. For decades, […]

The structure of ZIF-62, ( zinc imidazolate, benzimidazolate) showing the tetrahedral structure in two dimensions. Credit: Ang Qiao, Penn State Lightning and volcanos both produce glass, and humans have been making glass from silicon dioxide since prehistory. Industrialization brought us boron-based glasses, polymer glasses and metallic glasses, but now an […]

(Credit: Nataliia K/Shutterstock) The question of how much wood a woodchuck can chuck may need to be reevaluated — new research published today in Nature reveals a process that can create wood with a strength-to-weight ratio stronger than most metals. Harder, Better, Stronger Many of the high-performance structural materials available today have at least […]