Eastman Innovation Lab
 
Get Our Newsletter
Submit

Sign-up for your monthly fix of design news, reviews and stuff to make you smarter.

Follow Core77
Twitter Facebook RSS

 

Materials

The Core77 Design Blog

send us your tips get the RSS feed
 
Posted by Christie Nicholson  |   4 Jun 2014  |  Comments (2)

0PHOTO1_t-shirt.jpg

Think that pure white, organic cotton tee shirt is environmentally friendly? Hm, most likely not. People might jump to the bleaching chemicals and yes, those are toxic and can be polluting. But another problem is the huge amounts of energy required to bleach out the natural color of cotton. But a new study, published this week in the Journal of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Resarch, has a solution.

0PHOTO1a_field.jpg

Currently the cotton industry requires bleaching the natural cotton fiber with hydrogen peroxide at extremely high temperatures. We've grown to love bright whites but this process compromises the quality of the cotton material. And when we realize that there are 7.3 billion pounds of cotton produced in just the U.S. this process uses too much energy for it to be sustainable.

continued...

Posted by erika rae  |   4 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)

BacteriaArt-Lead2.jpgStephen Fry, in bacteria form

Fan art is one thing, but bacteria-cultivated portraits capturing the faces of the world's most well-known? That's straight-up dedication—not to mention innovation. Microbiologist-turned-artist Zachary Copfer has devised a way to induce bacteria growth in predicted patterns to form some familiar faces.

BacteriaArt-Artist.jpg

BacteriaArt-Comp6.jpgSee if you can match the bacteria to the celebrity—you can see if you're correct here.

By exposing specified sections of microscopic organisms to radiation, Copfer is able to create temporary halftone portraits in Petri dishes and other scientific vessels. In some instances, like Stephen Fry's, the image is made up of bacteria that invaded the subject's body in real life.

continued...

Posted by erika rae  |   3 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)

TeaBags-Package.jpg

For some reason, tea manufacturers seem keen on the idea that thoughtfully worded phrases of motivation are the cherry on top of our drinking experience. Maybe there's hope in the idea of the tiny, squares of paper inspiration that physically keep our tea bags grounded have some sort of psychological correlation to the mantras we use to get through the day. (Whew, deep.) I'd much rather see a rad use of packaging materials than some sweet sentiment that I look forward to tossing out. So I'm all for BOH's clever use of the steeping process with their Chamomile tea bags.

TeaBags-Options.jpg

Using edible tea ink, the brand created an eye-catching tea bag with a clear "before and after." Pre-water, the tea bags feature a silhouette of shapes and animals that are anything but relaxing: a grimacing grizzly, a taloned bird, lightening projecting from a storm cloud and more. Give the bag a dip, let it steep for a bit and the silhouettes soften, the grizzly's face turning into a smile, a song bird appears in lieu of its predatory predecessor and the lightening dissolves. The ad agency behind the packaging concept M&C Saatchi, is focused more on marketing solutions, with the interactive design being a bonus—which is why this video makes sense (not to mention it's a good excuse to see the bags in action):

continued...

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   2 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)

0internalhoneycomb-001.jpg

Back in '09 we showed you an Ultimate Factories clip of an IKEA factory revealing what's inside their lightweight tabletops. That clip has since been rendered unembeddable, so we'll grab the new code and show it here:

As you can see, by adapting the technology used by hollow-core door manufacturers, Ikea was able to create a lightweight, yet reasonably sturdy tabletop surface at a pricepoint that attracted consumers.

The honeycomb construction isn't only in their tabletops, of course; anytime you see something chunky at Ikea that seems lighter than it ought, there's probably honeycomb inside. UK-based Physicist Lindsay R. Wilson—a man who built "a prototype double-layer luminescent solar concentrator module" for TU Eindhoven--is the kind of guy who has high-end optical imaging technology lying around his house, so after he recently bought a soon-to-be-obsolete Expedit, he X-rayed the thing to show you what's inside:

continued...

Posted by Christie Nicholson  |  28 May 2014  |  Comments (0)

0PHOTO1_droplet.jpg

Water might be good for our bodies, but it's terrible for our stuff. Our smartphones, the walls in our home, the precious documents we're carrying—water can ruin all of it. So when a material is created that can repel water so perfectly that whatever it covers essentially never gets wet, we take notice.

This kind of material is called superhydrophobic. That means that water droplets remain in their spherical shape, sit on top of the material, and then roll off of it like pearls from a necklace. The droplets never really touch the material in the first place. Check out the photo below. The angle between the bottom of the droplet sphere and the surface will be more than 120 degrees. If it were 180 degrees the droplet would not touch the surface.

0PHOTO2_angle.jpg

There have been many variations of superhydrophobic materials and most involve embedding structures within the material that prevent the water from coming into contact. For instance in a recent study researchers from Brigham Young University used material that either had microscopic long ridges or posts (see photos below) that prevented the droplet from penetrating through the fibers.

0PHOTO3_ridges.jpg

continued...

Posted by erika rae  |  22 May 2014  |  Comments (0)

Fordite-Pieces.jpg

There are all kinds of ways to take in the colorful history of American car culture: museums, photo series, coffee table books, a tour through a decrepit GM factory, the list goes on. Diehard automobile enthusiasts are likely already familiar with the motor vehicle memorabilia known as fordite imagery, a rock-hard material that's made from years' worth of automobile paint that dripped onto racks in the oven of the paint shop. Because of the oven's extremely high temperatures, the layers of paint were baked time and time again (sometimes over the course of up to 100 trips, according to Fordite.com), hardening into rock-like formations. The fordite growths were only removed once they became a nuisance to production.

Fordite-Lead.jpgUncut fordite (left) and a group of polished specimens (right)

Fordite-Comp2.jpg

Today, the paint is applied with an electrostatic process in which the color is magnetized to the car bodies, making fordite—also called motor agate—a waste product of the past.

continued...

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 May 2014  |  Comments (2)

0fiskamin-001.jpg

When he was introducing the iPhone 5C, Jonathan Ive referred to it as "beautifully, unapologetically plastic." The subtext being that plastic, these days, is a material whose use ordinarily warrants an apology. But if we go back in time, it is interesting to see how some of the earliest industrial designers to work the material first wrangled its newness into a form consumers could appreciate.

0fiskamin-002.JPG

Even for those of you designers who took History of Industrial Design as students, there may be a gap in your design timeline knowledge. In design school many of us were taught that Massimo Vignelli's plastic tableware for Heller, circa 1964, was the first such mass-market design success; but in fact we have to go back a bit further in time, and move north from Italy to Finland, to find an earlier example of a plastic diningware design sensation.

By 1961 Fiskars had already been in the metals business for over 300 years, starting off as an ironworks and gradually transitioning to the refining of steel. But when the then-futuristic material known as plastic came around, the company saw opportunity. The question was, What to do with the stuff? They certainly didn't have the expertise in it that they did with metal, but they did have a talented industrial designer named Olof Bäckström.

Bäckström was tasked with creating tableware from plastics, specifically melamine. But he wouldn't do it alone. As we saw in our History of Braun Design, Dieter Rams worked alongside new hires plucked from the Ulm School of Design. Fiskars, too, availed themselves of locally-available, young design talent: Bäckström had encountered two gifted designers, one from each gender, at the Helsinki School of Art and Design in Mattias Ingman and Gittan Landström. After helping them secure jobs at Fiskars, he now had his design team in place.

The result of their collaboration was Fiskamin, a line of over 130 pieces of tableware including virtually everything you could possibly put onto a dining table: Plates, bowls, cups, mugs, saucers, serving platters, marmalade jars, egg cups, ashtrays, et cetera.

0fiskamin-003.jpgFiskamin collector and author Mikko Aalto, photographed by Lauri Rotko

continued...

Posted by erika rae  |  20 May 2014  |  Comments (0)

LightSaberKnife-CloseUp.jpg

It might only be a concept, but this knife design from National Taipei University Of Technology student Chia-yu Yeh is something for our inner sci-fi and culinary nerds to get excited about. The Lightsaber Knife was an entry in this year's Electrolux Design Lab competition and brings in a few sci-fi aspects past its namesake, starting with a "liquidmetal" blade that can be interchanged with the press of a button.

LightSaberKnife-HowTo.jpg

The tool features a fingerprint scanner that identifies the user—helping keep sharp objects out of the hands of children. Just imagine the damage they could do with a bit of Force:

continued...

Posted by erika rae  |  20 May 2014  |  Comments (3)

CYQL-SideView.jpgCYQL's exhibit set-up at last weekend's WantedDesign Launchpad showcase // Photo by Alex Welsh

All it took was a fashion show, a particularly inspiring Halloween and a little bit of stolen style from a Greek goddess. Sophie Hones—CYQL designer and DesignLaboratoire owner—had her first go-around repurposing bicycle inner tubes while crafting a Medusa headdress for a Halloween-themed fashion show and has since been hooked on the material. Soon after her repurposed debut, she found herself with a group chair assignment based on the simple brief of incorporating "fun materials." With all of the leftover inner tubes taking up space at home, Hones decided to put them to good use in her seating design.

CYQL-ThenAndNow.jpgThen and now: Hones' first encounter with bike tube design (left) and the CYQL exhibit at WantedDesign (right)

By taking a ball and wrapping the residual tubes, she came up with a design that nailed what she was going for aesthetically, but fell short in performance. "I just glued the tubes around the ball," she says. "I had to develop the process a little further because it just fell apart." It turned out to be an easy switch from gluing the tubes together to creating one long spool of sewn tubing to get the hold she was looking for.

CYQL-TopShot.jpgPhoto by Alex Welsh

After a bit of networking with local bike shops, she was able to source more material for her rubber chairs. Aside from machine washing the tubes and sewing them together, Hones keeps the rubber looking just as it had on it's last ride. "I always try to show the prints, wear and tear of the inner tubes," she says. "If they have been broken, I sew them to repair them, making a scar. If they've been repaired by the bicycle owner and there's a patch, I leave it. I try to take advantage of the tube's character."

continued...

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   9 May 2014  |  Comments (0)

0airplaneslide.jpg

While we hope to never have to see one of these in real life, we spotted this mesmerizing video of airplane emergency slides deploying over on DoobyBrain:

The question is, how the heck do they design and make these things? How is it possible that one little pressurized tank can blow the entire thing up in six seconds? What material are they using that it's strong enough to withstand the process, not to mention the thereotical hundreds of people that might slide down the thing? We did a bit of hunting and found the video below, where you'll see everything from a vacuum table fabric-flattening machine to a CNC cutter to a lot of handwork:

continued...

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   8 May 2014  |  Comments (9)

0carbonlitewrenches001.jpg

When I think of carbon fiber, I think of its automotive applications, like F1 guys making monocoques out of the stuff. But it never occurred to me that carbon fiber could be used to make the hand tools we use to work on cars. A company called CarbonLite Tools is now producing a line of carbon fiber box-end wrenches.

The wrenches are, of course, insanely light; a set of five weighs just 6.7 ounces (190 grams), which the company reckons is lighter than your average steel single 15mm wrench. And yet they're not made completely from carbon fiber—the teeth are made from hardened stainless steel inserts, which you can see in the photo below, so that stubborn nuts won't shred those expensive layers of fiber.

0carbonlitewrenches002.jpg

And yes, they are expensive: A set of five—metric on one side, Imperial on the other, from 3/8" & 10mm up to 5/8" & 15mm—will set you back US $140. Beyond the price, the only thing that might give you pause is this caveat from the company: "We recommend using gloves as there is a small possibility the carbon fiber can leave splinters in your hand if the carbon fiber is damaged. The possibility of splinters from the carbon fiber wrench is about the same as with a wood handle on a shovel or hammer."

Posted by Christie Nicholson  |   7 May 2014  |  Comments (4)

Graphene-Photo1.jpg

In the world of material science graphene might be considered its Superman, Einstein and Edison combined. In the lab, it has proven itself to be nothing short of magical and amazingly useful time and time again.

Graphene-Photo2.jpg

The single-atom slice of pure carbon is crazy strong, yet lightweight and very flexible. While it is not yet used in commercial applications, it is under very active development for potential use in photovoltaics, energy storage, electronics and filtration, among many others. We're not talking about it just being part of such applications—it will radically change everything. If it lives up to promise, we'll be able to charge our phones in about five seconds, clean up huge amounts of radioactive waste, make salt water drinkable, create unbreakable touch screens, insert bionic devices in human tissue—the list goes on.

But it looks like the first doubt has been cast upon the darling of materials science. Two studies published this month have found some negative side effects.

continued...

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   7 May 2014  |  Comments (0)

0gesmash.gif

G.E. might bring good things to life, but sometimes they'll also take a moment to destroy the things you love. To promote their Global Research Center in New York, they took a bunch of everyday items like wristwatches, sunglasses, skateboard wheels, etc., and ran them through a few of their industrial testing machines to see how they'd do:

The baseball was kinda surprising, no?

continued...

Posted by erika rae  |   5 May 2014  |  Comments (0)

DrinkableBook-Lead3.jpg

Finding clean water for the entire world to enjoy has been an ideal that's gone unsolved, but not for lack of trying. Scientists, chemists and designers have been on the challenge for years, coming up with solutions that technically work, but might not necessarily fit into the budgets of those really in need of a tall glass of the good stuff. Non-profit Water is Life teamed up with scientists and engineers from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Virginia to come up with a solution that's a little more wallet-friendly than a water generator: the Drinkable Book.

DrinkableBook-Comp2.jpg

The 20 corrugated pages in this booklet are actually filters that block harmful water-borne bacteria like cholera, E. coli and typhoid from getting into your water. Dr. Theresa Dankovich was able to create a paper coated with silver nanoparticles—tiny pieces of silver between 1 nm and 100 nm in size—which gets rid of more than 99.9% of dangerous bacteria. While the Drinkable Book's primary intention is to provide safe drinking water, it also covers another very important link that's been missing from the equation: education. Most people who catch water-related diseases have no idea that the drinking water is unsafe to consume. Each page of the book displays different water safety facts and tips for readers/drinkers.

Check out Water is Life's video for the project:

continued...

Posted by core jr  |   1 May 2014  |  Comments (0)

Coalesse-CarbonFiberChair-MY_Stacked.jpgMichael Young and his aptly named Carbon Fiber chair

While Salone headlines tend to be dominated by news of the latest and greatest collections from European manufacturers—and the biggest European names in design—plenty of exhibitors hail from further afield. We're always keen to see what San Francisco-based Coalesse has to offer and they didn't disappoint. The new Michael Young-designed Carbon Fiber chair is something of a marvel, weighing in at <5lbs and available in fully custom paint for maximum versatility.

We had the chance to catch up with Design Director John Hamilton, who shared the story behind the chair. The transcript below has been edited for length and clarity.

We do projects both internally and with partners—Michael's our latest one; I've been working with Michael for a couple of years now. We started the process thinking we don't just want to make a carbon fiber chair, we don't want to make a gallery piece—we want to make a real, industrialized solution, at a pricepoint that will enable it to be used for a variety of applications.

So when we started, we set a couple of bars for ourselves: 1.) Make sure it's under five pounds and 2.) make sure you can stack it at least four high. We hit both of those marks—we're at 2.2 kilos or right thereabouts, which is 4.8 pounds... and it does stack four high. Four of them in a box will weigh less than 25 pounds, which is pretty amazing—I have photos of people holding four on each arm smiling, which you can't do with any other chair.

The other interesting thing was working with Steelcase engineering—we were able to leverage their expertise in seating and FEA modeling to be able to understand how to utilize the material in the most efficient way possible in order to reduce the amount of carbon fiber needed to pass all of the business contract solution testing. They have these very, very high standards for what a chair has to be able to do, and this chair passes all of those tests.

Coalesse-CarbonFiberChair-2x.jpg

Since carbon fiber is so expensive, optimizing for as little material as possible brings the cost down. When you add more material and have a big surface of carbon fiber, you're going to end up with a $5,000 chair, or you add a lot of labor to it by having to polish this huge object and it becomes more expensive. The way we've done this chair allows it to be (again, that metric that we set for ourselves) more affordable. It's not going to be the least expensive chair on the market, but it's not going to be the most expensive. I think it's going to be one of the lightest chairs on the market, and I think it's going to be one of the funnest chairs, because it allows the designer to participate in its final step.

Basically, you can do any paint you can imagine with the paint methodology used in the automotive, bike, boat, etc. industries, because it's the same material. If you send me a chip that's the color of your shirt, we can do it. For the chairs at the show, we did an ombre effect on the legs to show that you can actually do a transition. We did one in metallic, to actually have a depth to it—a copper color—which we did it kind of as a play, because you look at it and think, "Oh, it's a metal chair. Oh look, it's made out of copper." But then you touch it and there's this surprise and delight that you get because you pick it up and go, "Oh, it's not. It's balsa wood... but it's strong."

continued...

Posted by Christie Nicholson  |  30 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

03dprintyarn-001.jpg

When I think of 3D printing, I think of objects that are hard, made of plastic, metal, or some synthetic material. I imagine there will be a lot of soft products made with 3D printers, but I was curious how they might be made. Recently a new kind of printer produced by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Disney is printing soft things. Their printer turns woolen yarns into objects.

03dprintyarn-002.JPG

The actual printer looks a lot like a sewing machine and can produce objects that look hand-knit. Scott Hudson, professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, said in a press release that he sees "...this material being used for things that are held close. We're really extending the set of materials available for 3D printing..."

It doesn't take a lot to think about what these materials will be: Clothing, accessories, little bunnies and teddy bears. But Hudson also says that this printer could also make soft robots—making such robots touchable.

03dprintyarn-003.JPG

continued...

Posted by erika rae  |  25 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

Mosaic-Lead.jpg"Did You Hear That?"

We're big fans of Star Wars, if you couldn't tell. (See: snowy Star Wars photography, our recent forum discussion on Star Wars design vs. Star Trek design, our breakdown of the opening scene text crawl—the list goes on.) New York artist James Haggerty has created another one to add to the list: Star Wars themed staple mosaics. He recreates the classic characters using thousands of the colored office supply pieces.

Mosaics-CP3ODetail.jpgDetails from "Did You Hear That?"

Haggerty is strategic with his staple-use—by using the dark background of the canvases, he's able to create a bit of depth that offsets the sheen given off by the staples. Taken out of context, bits and pieces of this series could easily come off as unrelated abstract artwork.

Mosaic-Darth.jpg"The Side

continued...

Posted by erika rae  |  23 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

Trollskyy-Lead.jpg

The newest video from Polish knifemaker Trollskyy couldn't have come at a better time, considering Earth Day has barely passed us by. "I love to make something out of nothing," he mentions on his YouTube page—well said considering his designs feature abandoned metal scraps. Trollskyy's most recent YouTube upload follows the process of a knife he made from the leaf spring off of an old Jeep. The end result is a dangerous-looking blade that bears no resemblance to its past life. Take a look:

The Lord of the Rings-esque music just adds to the oh-so-epic transformation (Let your nerd flag fly high and feel free to imagine Trollsky standing at the edge of Mordor, knife in hand—I did.) From railroad spike to old bearings, Trollskyy spotlights rejected metal in a whole new functional way. Check out more of his video documentations:

continued...

Posted by Ray  |  21 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

Formafantasma-BartHess.jpg

Along with the nearby ECAL exhibition, Studio Formafantasma's "De Natura Fossilium" at Palazzo Clerici was one of the most buzzed-about projects in the Brera District this year—after all, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin consistently present excellent work during at the Fuorisalone, and this year was no exception. The Eindhoven-based pair often look to their Italian heritage for inspiration; this time around, they took inspiration from the November 2013 eruption of Mount Etna, creating a beautiful collection of tablewares, textiles and small furniture items from the byproducts of volcanic activity.

Formafantasma-DeNaturaFossilium-2-Stools.jpg

The project page for "De Natura Fossilium" does a far better job of explaining the work than I ever could, including striking photos by Luisa Zanzani; the "Process" section in particular illustrates the depth of Formafantasma's practice.

Formafantasma-DeNaturaFossilium-1-Vessels.jpg

Volcanic glass, procured by remelting Etna's rocks, has been mouth-blown into unique vessels or cast into box-like structures that purposefully allude to the illegal dwellings and assorted buildings that have developed at the foot of the volcano. Drawing on their own vocabulary, these solitary glass boxes and mysterious black buildings have been finished with such archetypal Formafantasma detailing as cotton ribbons and Murano glass plaques.

Formafantasma-DeNaturaFossilium-3-Tables.jpg

In homage to Ettore Sottsass, the great maestro of Italian design and an avid frequenter of the volcanic Aeolian islands, this new body of work takes on a linear, even brutalist form. Geometric volumes have been carved from basalt and combined with fissure-like structural brass elements to produce stools, coffee tables and a clock."

continued...

Posted by Christie Nicholson  |  16 Apr 2014  |  Comments (3)

0mirrorwindow-001.jpg

A group of MIT scientists have created a new material that can be both a mirror and a window, and no it's not a one-way mirror.

This new material can filter light depending on the direction of the light beams. In the image above light that hits from one angle goes straight through (white beam) but light that hits the material at different angle is reflected back (red beam). For designers it might make for interesting new tricks for walls or new forms of windows.

To filter light one must alter either it's frequency or polarization. In terms of frequency, stained glass windows are a good example, where the glass lets specific wavelengths pass through.

0mirrorwindow-002.jpg

Polarized glasses, like the 3D glasses you wear at the movies, are able to let light through that oscillates in a specific way. But the idea of filtering light based on the direction it comes from has always been tough.

0mirrorwindow-004.jpg

continued...

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  16 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

0restorationheadware-001.jpg

A Core77 reader wrote in to ask about the provenance of this enormous horse made from wood cut-offs, which we spotted at Holz-Handwerk.

0restorationheadware-002.jpg

Called the "Workhorse of Peace and Hope," it was made by Italian furniture outfit Riva to symbolize the dedication and perseverance of Italian craftsmanship.

And speaking of wooden animals, here's something I never expected to see being sold by Restoration Hardware: A line of Hand-Carved Game Trophies made out of basswood.

0restorationheadware-003.jpg

continued...

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  15 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

0endur.jpg

Polypropylene is one of your go-to plastics for injection molding, and being both flexible and tough, you can do sexy things like making living hinges out of the stuff. But you are of course limited to what you can produce in a mold.

Stratasys is hoping to remove this barrier with Endur, a simulated polypropylene material that can be 3D-printed in their PolyJet machines.

Just like the name implies, Endur is tough. The polypropylene-like material offers both high impact resistance and superior elongation at break. Endur has a heat-deflection temperature up to 129°F/ 54°C, excellent dimensional stability and comes in a bright white color. It also features an excellent surface finish to make it easier to achieve a smooth look and feel.
These properties make Endur attractive for 3D printing prototypes that need the flexibility, appearance and toughness of polypropylene for a wide range of form, fit and assembly applications. This includes moving parts, snap-fit components, and small cases and containers with lids. The white tone and smooth surface finish make it ideal for consumer goods, electronics and household appliances, lab equipment and automotive parts.

Take a look at the stuff in this amusingly stilted video:

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   9 Apr 2014  |  Comments (2)

0alasept.jpg

Your correspondent was recently laid up for four days with the flu, an inevitability in an urban world where one must touch subway turnstiles, doorknobs and handrails used by millions. And while germ-spreading is a mere inconvenience for your average healthy blogger, it's a potentially deadly problem for heathcare environments.

Recognizing this, and reasoning that a fair amount of their fixtures are going into medical facilities, fixtures manufacturer Häfele has addressed the problem by developing Alasept, an antibacterial and antiviral coating that they can use to coat stainless steel fittings. Doorknobs, window handles and furniture components can be treated with Alasept, which not only prevents the adhesion of the germs, but actively kills off what bugs do stick to the material.

continued...

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   3 Apr 2014  |  Comments (2)

0hasenkopffrescata-001.jpg

One of the cooler materials we saw at Holz-Handwerk wasn't really a material at all, but a process. German industrial manufacturer Hasenkopf's booth drew a steady stream of visitors all reaching out to touch the weird-looking totems, like the one above, that they had on display; I eagerly checked the product tag to find it was nothing more than Corian.

So what gives? Hasenkopf was showing off their bag of new material-processing tricks called Frescata, whereby they hit Corian, Parapan, and even wood with four different bits in a five-axis CNC mill to create the intricate patterns you see here.

0hasenkopffrescata-002.jpg

0hasenkopffrescata-003.jpg

continued...

Posted by Christie Nicholson  |   2 Apr 2014  |  Comments (1)

GrapheneCopperCOMP-880.jpgGraphene + Copper (not to scale, obviously)

About a year ago, I traveled to Cornell University to interview a bunch of materials scientists who work at the nanoscale level. This means they work with stuff that is very, very tiny. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter. One of the challenges nearly all of the scientists kept mentioning is the issue of overheating in electronics. Most of us are directly familiar with the heat released from our computers when we balance them on our lap for a period of time, for example. And this becomes a big deal as devices get smaller and smaller. The smaller the copper wires—which connect chips, among other things—the more heat they emit. This is important for future devices and wearables.

Scientists are exploring all kinds of solutions but a proven one has recently been announced in the journal Nano Letters. We've mentioned the magic material graphene before and it continues to be the superhero material, coming to the rescue over and over again. This time, it shows up as a possible damper for heated copper wires.

Graphene is a one-atom thick material that can move electrons and heat. And it is able to cling to copper. Apparently by sandwiching copper between layers of graphene, the heat created by the metal is decreased by 25 percent. When attached to copper, the graphene actually changes its structure in such a way that allows the heat to move more freely through the metal, instead of being trapped in it.

CopperMicroscopy.jpgFrom left: (1) copper before any processing, (2) copper after thermal processing; (3) copper after adding graphene. Image via UCR Today

continued...

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   1 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

0martinspeed2010.jpg

From German machine manufacturer Martin comes the Speed 20/10, a rollable spray station for varnishing. The one-meter by two-meter surface is covered with a roll of ordinary, cheap packaging paper, which varnish won't stick to; so when spraying your piece, there's no need to mask the underside. And it has a couple of other cool tricks, watch the vid:

What you might not be able to see in the vid is that it's foot-pedal controlled; tap one pedal to get those two rollers to pop up, so you can lift your piece away from the sides, or you can hit the other foot pedal to either advance to a clean sheet, or roll smaller pieces off of the surface and into your waiting hands. The action requires an air compressor, being all-pneumatic; they don't want any electricity jumping around, the rep explained, if folks are spraying explosive substances.

Spotted at Holz-Handwerk.