Materials science

Inés Jiménez

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What is Materials Science?

Materials science is the branch of science that studies how things are made and how and why they work. Have you ever thought that everything that is around us is actually an item? From the metal of our currencies to the skin covering our body, everything is made of something. Scientists study each of the materials to understand which properties in each of them can be improved and/or adapted for their use in different applications.

Why is the study of materials important?

The study of materials is very important as the progress of materials is one of the main factors that allowed key advances in technology and humanity. In fact, we have even named different eras according to the main materials used in them, such as, such as the Stone Age, the Bronze Age or the most recent Silicon Age. Understanding how to use matter around us is the key to the biggest leaps, technologically speaking.

 

There are endless examples. Even the most optimized and elegant designs can improve their function by improving the material. An example of this is the contact lens. The initial design and the concept was developed by Leonardo da Vinci in 1508 and it was simple and logical. However, it was not until 1823 that the astronomer Sir John Herschel conceptualized the practical use of this and until 1887 that the first glass contact lens was manufactured and used. The concept is very old, but not until the 1970s that started more commonly used until the 1990s that was accessible to all.  What was it that changed during these hundreds of years that finally allowed the contact lens to be made? The material.

 

Let’s turn to a more current issue: solar energy. The concept is already well developed, the space is available for the panels and the sun will continue (hopefully) to radiate energy. What’s stopping us? A set of suitable materials, one to absorb the energy, another for storage and a third as a coating to prevent the accumulation of dust, leaves or other debris which would prevent sunlight from reaching the solar panel. But we will see this issue in depth at another time.
In the next post, we will introduce a more radical idea, the idea that human beings and all living things consist of a lot of smart materials interacting with each other giving us our senses, the ability to move. and Thinking Smart materials are materials that react to the environment around them as you will see in the next post. Don’t miss out and stay tuned!! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

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