Monday, May 12, 2008

Bye Bye Titanium

Not too long ago, titanium was known as a revolutionary material for its lightness and its use in composites. This time might be over. Researchers from Caltech have produced metals they call "metallic glass" composites. These metals are reported to be twice as tough and elastic as titanium. A 3mm rod of the composite can support a 2 tons truck. The new composites could be used in the making of lighter vehicles and consumer electronics. For more details, please visit

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Send your name to the Moon

NASA announces that we can send our name to the Moon with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. A database on a microchip will carry the names. Having your name in the database includes the possibility of printing a certificate. If you are interested in sending your name, please visit before June 27.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Polycarbonate made using CO2

A good news for the environment. It is apparently possible to make polycarbonate (commonly used for lenses and bottles) using CO2. Two scientists presented their work on the subject at the American Chemical Society annual meeting. For more details on the two presentations, please refer to the proceedings and look for the following authors: Thomas E. Muller and Thoshiyasu Sakakura

Friday, March 28, 2008

Short Courses at UC Riverside June 23-24

In conjunction with the 68th Annual Physical Electronics Conference at UC Riverside, the SCCAVS will be offering the following 4 short courses:

- Operation and Maintenance of Production Vacuum Systems
- Sputter Deposition
- Surface Analysis, Interface and Thin Film Analysis: The Major Methods
- Analysis of Residual Gas Analyzer Spectra

For more information, please visit the following link:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Single-Crystal Semiconductor in an Optical Fiber

They came up with a device that will add new electronic capabilities to optical fibers. They managed to grow a single-crystal semiconductor inside the tunnel of a hollow optical fiber. If you would like to know more about this device, the article is in "Advanced Materials" vol. 20, Issue 6.

Strange Matter Exhibit

There is an exhibit "on tour" that your little ones, or yourself, might find interesting. It is called "Strange Matter Exhibit". It is currently in San Diego and Seattle. For more details, the website is

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New ASTM Tribology Manual

For the ones interested in tribology, ASTM has a new publication. It is manual 56 "Guide to Friction, Wear, and Erosion Testing".

Monday, March 3, 2008

Cars made of Biomaterials

I was glad to read today that it appears there are some advantages to the price of oil going up. The automobile industry is trying to lower their use of petroleum-based plastics and composites; to replace them with biomaterials which are lighter and "greener". A lighter car consumes less fuel, a greener car generates less carbon dioxide. It is reported that substituting 1 tonne of conventional plastics with its "bio" equivalent eliminates 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide. WOW! It is predicted that in 2015, each car will have approximately 200 pounds of biomaterials... I am telling you, the "organic" car is just around the corner :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Self Healing Rubber

I read in the news that a professor in Paris came up with a self-healing rubber. They think its applications could range from adhesives to tires for bicyles. One can break a piece in parts and put them back together over and over... I don't know why, but it reminds me a popular toy back when I was a kid. I believe its name was "slime", it was green. You could not have made a tire with it, but you were able to put it back together over and over... :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More Space Debris

It’s been established for a while that something had to be done about the growing number of space debris... man made space debris. I find it astonishing that after all these years, the course of action for taking care of a defective satellite is shooting it down. They say that destroying the satellite at such a low altitude will minimize the amount of generated space debris. I guess they assume that not much of the debris will “fly up”.
It is obviously not an environment friendly decision … but most probably the most cost efficient way of dealing with the problem, making sure nobody else will put their hands on the satellite.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Conventional Micro Hardness versus Instrumented Indentation

Many people rely on “conventional” micro hardness measurement technique to obtain hardness values, in which case, hardness is computed using the diagonals of an imprint. While the technique works well for bulk materials and thick coatings, it is not appropriate for small features, thin coatings and materials such as glass and ceramics that crack under too much load. Also, the smaller the indent, the greater the error on the measurement.
Instrumented indentation is based on the analysis of the load-penetration curve measured while doing an imprint. It is computer-controlled and it is not influenced by the operator’s judgment of the imprint’ shape. Properties such as hardness and elastic modulus can be determined with a single indent. Many are mistakenly using conventional measurement techniques when they should use instrumented indentation.
When time comes to choose a proper technique to measure the hardness, keep the following in mind:
• A hardness value is invalid if an indent shows sign of cracking or pile up.
• Ideally an indent should not be deeper than 1/7 to 1/10 of the coating thickness.
• When measuring the hardness of a coating using a cross section, the distance between the edge of coating (surface/interface) and the indent itself should be at least 3 times the size of the diagonals.
•The hardness of most samples can be measured using instrumented indentation without the need to have a polished cross-section.