Archive for July, 2011

Futuristic Materials


What are metamaterials? They are substances not found in nature and are created by embedding tiny implants in a material such that they force electromagnetic radiation or light to bend in unorthodox ways. The metamaterial created by the scientists at Duke University were composed of a mixture of ceramic, Teflon, fiber composites, and metal components.

Invisible Cloak

Some metamaterials have a negative refractive index, an optical property that may be used to create “superlenses” which resolve features smaller than the wavelength of light used to image them! This technology is called subwavelength imaging. Metamaterials would used in phased array optics, a technology that could render perfect holograms on a 2D display. These holograms would be so perfect that you could be standing 6 inches from the screen, looking into the “distance” with binoculars, and not even notice it’s a hologram.

Negative Refractive Index

The effect of the metamaterial is analogous to a fast moving stream with a boulder at its center. The flowing water is forced around the boulder to meet again on the other side. Downstream, there is no evidence that the boulder even exists. Similarly, metamaterial can bend light waves around an object making the object inside the metamaterial invisible.

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Transport Phenomena

In engineering and physics, the study of transport phenomena concerns the exchange of mass, energy, or momentum between observed and studied engineering systems. This subject is a fundamental component of disciplines involved with fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and mass transfer.

Transport phenomena actually encompasses all agents of physical change in the universe

It is now considered to be a part of the engineering discipline as much as thermodynamics, mechanics, and electromagnetism. Momentum, heat (energy), and mass transport share a similar mathematical framework, and a similar analytical mechanism that carries out the exchange process.

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What is Zirconia?

Zirconium dioxide (ZrO2), sometimes known as zirconia (not to be confused with zircon), is a white crystalline oxide of zirconium. Its most naturally occurring form, with a monoclinic crystalline structure, is the rare mineral baddeleyite. The high temperature cubic crystalline form is rarely found in nature as mineral tazheranite (Zr,Ti,Ca)O2 (and a doubtful mineral arkelite). This form, also called cubic zirconia, is synthesized in various colours for use as a gemstone and a diamond simulant.


Zirconia is an extremely refractory material. It offers chemical and corrosion inertness to temperatures well above the melting point of alumina. The material has low thermal conductivity. It is electrically conductive above 600°C and is used in oxygen sensor cells and as the susceptor (heater) in high temperature induction furnaces. With the attachment of platinum leads, nernst glowers used in spectrometers can be made as a light emitting filament which operates in air.

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Copper Plating

Electroplating is the process of using an electrical current to coat an electrically conductive object with a thin layer of metal. Copper plating is the process in which a layer of copper is deposited on the item to be plated by using an electric current.

Copper Plating

Three basic types of processes are commercially available based upon the complexing system utilized :

  • alkaline-(several modifications of cyanide and non-cyanide) complexed bath
  • acid-(sulfate and fluoborate) complexed bath
  • mildly alkaline-(pyro phosphate) complexed bath

With a higher current, hydrogen bubbles will form on the item to be plated, leaving surface imperfections. Often various other chemicals are added to improve plating uniformity and brightness. Without some form of additive, it is almost impossible to obtain a smooth plated surface. These additives can be anything from dish soap to proprietary compounds.

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What is Kevlar?

Kevlar is the registered trademark for a para-aramid synthetic fiber, related to other aramids such as Nomex and Technora. Developed at DuPont in 1965, this high strength material was first commercially used in the early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires. Typically it is spun into ropes or fabric sheets that can be used as such or as an ingredient in composite material components.

Kevlar is the registered trademark for a para-aramid synthetic fiber

Currently, Kevlar has many applications, ranging from bicycle tires and racing sails to body armor because of its high tensile strength-to-weight ratio by this measure it is 5 times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis. When used as a woven material, it is suitable for mooring lines and other underwater applications.

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