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Should computational materials science be recognized as a field with a role in the community comparable to computational physics or chemistry? With the emergence of multiscale modelling, the answer is a resounding 'yes'.
Nanocrystalline alloys with grain sizes less than 100 nanometres are very strong, but tend to fail rapidly during plastic deformation. A new composite alloy with an unusual microstructure is able to achieve high plasticity by controlling the instabilities responsible for early failure.
When polymer scientists are asked to select goals for the development of polymer nanostructures and mesoscale engineering, they find self-organization is an important task for scientists and polymers alike.
A contact-free method for generating precise patterns in polymers is an exciting advance in soft lithography. By exploiting the interactions of two polymers with an electric field, the scale of the patterns can be reduced still further.
Photonic crystals can manipulate the flow of light, making them attractive materials for new types of optical components. The ability to tune the optical properties of a photonic crystal over femotosecond timescales adds to their technological appeal.
Owing to their exceptional stiffness and strength, some of the first materials to use them were reinforced polymer composites. As toughening agents, carbon nanotubes now face a bigger challenge — reinforcing brittle ceramics.
A microporous substance that expands under external hydrostatic pressure is unexpected. Even more surprising is one that can retain its expanded volume after release of the pressure. A zeolite has been found to do just that.
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