Jennifer Lewis made a discovery that could effect the future of electrical ceramics. The University of Illinois professor is working with NASA's office of Biological and Physical Research and studying how materials form when gravity is not present. By subtracting gravity from the process, she sees what happens when a given material is produced. Lewis co-authored a paper describing a process called "nanoparticle haloing" that stabilizes particles in fluids and prevents them from coagulating into a disordered structure. She indicates that by varying the composition of colloidal fluids and gels, researchers produce systems whose properties vary dramatically. "This designer capability will assist us in developing improved materials for photonics that control the flow of light," she says. For more information, go to http://colloids.mse.uiuc.edu or http://spaceresearch.nasa.gov. Content for the colloids website includes copies of Lewis's research papers and links to professional societies.
Automakers are on the prowl for lighter weight materials to make vehicles less heavy and more fuel efficient, and Nanosteel is one of the companies hoping to take advantage of this opportunity with their lightweight automotive steel of the same name.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.