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Zinc-Based Material Expands Under Pressure
8/23/2013

A diagram of the chemical structure of a newly discovered material that expands under pressure. The material could be used to design things like artificial muscles and highly sensitive touchscreen monitors.(Source: University of Oxford)
A diagram of the chemical structure of a newly discovered material that expands under pressure. The material could be used to design things like artificial muscles and highly sensitive touchscreen monitors.
(Source: University of Oxford)

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Rob Spiegel
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Raw science
Rob Spiegel   8/23/2013 9:44:47 AM
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It always does my heart good to see these projects that work on materials or properties of materials that do not have a specific outcome or application in mind. Necessity is not always the mother of invention.

vimalkumarp
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Re: Raw science
vimalkumarp   8/24/2013 5:44:13 AM
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@Rob: I really like the insight that you have mentioned.Necessity is not always the mother of invention. These kind of inventions actually stretches the limits of possibilites.

taimoortariq
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Re: Raw science
taimoortariq   8/25/2013 12:44:29 AM
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I agree, there have been many cases where the inventions were just made on basis of accidents. Some times it was keen observation (like Newton observing an apple). And sometimes its just the passion and interest for the field that leads people to discover and invent marvelous things.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Raw science
Elizabeth M   8/26/2013 6:02:42 AM
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Yes, Rob, I agree, sometimes research for research's sake just to invent something new and innovative is refreshing. It seems sometimes that a lot of research happens just to solve a problem, and that is good, of course, because there are good technologies that are developed this way. But I agree that freestyling it and seeing what happens is also a good way forward.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Raw science
Ann R. Thryft   8/27/2013 1:58:14 PM
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I agree, Rob. So often we're reporting on that happen not because an engineer or materials scientist said "How do I make X happen?", but instead, "what would happen if I did Y?". That also happens a lot in creative cooking which is, after all, another form of chemistry. If there are any cooks reading this, I'm sure they'll understand what I mean.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Raw science
Cabe Atwell   8/27/2013 2:35:42 PM
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Those properties exhibited by the zinc-based compound are astounding. I have no doubt that they can be adapted for more than just artificial muscles and touch screens. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Raw science
Rob Spiegel   8/27/2013 4:39:04 PM
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Good point, Ann. I'm getting better at following recipes these days, but for decades, I viewed the recipe as simply the starting off point.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Raw science
Ann R. Thryft   8/28/2013 12:27:20 PM
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Rob, I've gone in the opposite direction. I usually end up "fixing" a recipe before I make it the first time, unless it includes very different ingredients/combos of same, or different methods that I'm unfamiliar with. And sometimes, I start making up recipes without looking at any first. That's really fun.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Raw science
Rob Spiegel   9/3/2013 11:51:19 AM
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One thing that's fun is to try to replicate a restaurant dish. My mom taught me to jot down notes while you're at the restaurant and you're eating a dish you want to replicate. I've done that with Thai and Indian dishes. Even when I miss, it sometimes comes out just fine.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Raw science
Ann R. Thryft   9/6/2013 1:10:29 PM
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I do something similar, but usually without writing notes. I file it sort of visually/taste-wise. It's hard to describe, but it seems to work for reverse engineering a dish I've eaten. Also, I read a lot of similar recipes which shows me the common ingredients and their proportions. After all, it's just a form of applied chemistry. I also find this method works very well with SE Asian cooking, which combines many ingredients at the last minute, many of them fresh. So they're actually quite simple if you have the key ingredients.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Raw science
Rob Spiegel   9/9/2013 8:04:22 PM
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Ann, I agree with what you're saying about SE Asian cooking. It's pretty easy to duplicate the basic ingredients. I find the trick is with the spices (much like Indian cooking). I think the trick is learning the blend of spices that make up the overall flavor. I ran into this while trying to learn how to make Pad Thai recently. The recipes I found were surprisingly useless. Don't know why. So I got there through many home experiments.

Greg M. Jung
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Nanometer Innovation
Greg M. Jung   8/23/2013 2:03:47 PM
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Fascinating article.  I am especially impressed by the innovation and vision that this team has in order to understand the arrangement and behavior of this material on a nanometer scale.  Great scientific work.

far911
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Re: Nanometer Innovation
far911   8/24/2013 7:53:52 AM
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Fascinating indeed. Materials engineering has always caught my eye and this zinc-based material has a unique property of its own. This will open doors to new avenues and bring out more possibilities. Thanks for sharing. 

vimalkumarp
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negative linear compressibility
vimalkumarp   8/24/2013 5:40:07 AM
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This is a great article explaing  negative linear compressibility . The possibility of making artificial muscles or touchscreen monitors with this material is really exciting.

taimoortariq
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Replacing Gold
taimoortariq   8/25/2013 12:34:14 AM
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Definitely a great innovation in the materials world, and it has a great scope in the areas where pressure variations are used as inputs. But I agree, gold is a game spoiler. It will make the products price sky rocket. I hope there exists another material that can replace gold, to form a similar structure and geometry having a similar reaction to pressure.

vimalkumarp
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Re: Replacing Gold
vimalkumarp   8/25/2013 1:03:41 AM
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I agree to othat , gold is a game spoiler.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Replacing Gold
Elizabeth M   8/26/2013 6:09:54 AM
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Yes, gold makes the material expensive, but if you noted in the story, it's actually the cheapest ingredient, according to the researcher (if he spoke correctly...maybe he meant most expensive?). I think the researchers have to find a replacement not just for the gold but for other ingredients for this to be viable in the commercial sector.

far911
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Re: Replacing Gold
far911   8/25/2013 4:13:55 AM
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@taimoor - I guess we can add alchemists into the mix, heh. On a serious note, I'm positive scientists will come up with a more accessible and disposable material soon. 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Replacing Gold
Elizabeth M   8/26/2013 6:10:57 AM
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I am with you, far911, they have come this far and I think with a bit of chemistry, they'll come up with something that is a lot less expensive than the current material.

vimalkumarp
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Gold
Re: Replacing Gold
vimalkumarp   8/26/2013 6:18:06 AM
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yes i agree with you that since they have come this far  they'll come up with something that is a lot less expensive than the current material.
Let us be optimistic ..!

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