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9 Futuristic Materials


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"Scotty, we need transparent aluminum now!" "But Jim, we don't have the power or technology to do it!" That was 1986. It's 2018, and we do now. This futuristic material in Star Trek IV came from a faraway future and 30 years later, that faraway future is our present reality. When we consider how the knowledge of Chemistry, Physics, Design, and Engineering are synthesizing, the future looks innovative, functional and strong.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Lessons like this usually end up leading to more learning. While writing it, I found myself barrelling head first down several rabbit holes that took me to even more information and interesting content. Don't say I didn't warn you if you end up wondering where a few hours have gone. Enjoy!
1. Aerogels are another example of how NASA technology is working its way into our everyday lives. It's hard to imagine that scientists began developing them in the 1930s.
2. Invisibility cloaks - This invention could be used in a variety of mischievous applications. This is a brief article that leads you to a 40+ minute podcast.
3. Super-hydrophobic surfaces can protect and extend life and usability of materials by repelling water while keeping them dry. This link explains the Math that accompanies the Science. 
4. Hyperdiamonds are a design material with medical applications. Start your reading here http://www.hyperdiamond-projec...
5. Metallic Glass - technical, but still digestible information here
6. Metallic Foam - one stop information shop at
7. The classic "transparent aluminum" scene from Star Trek IV The Voyage Home where McCoy and Scotty share the future. Take note of the strategically placed Apple Computer.
Here is a video about how transparent aluminum or Aluminum Oxynitride(ALON) is made.
8. Light transmitting concrete seems to have become very possible and is beginning to make its way into design and construction. With advances in manufacturing the costs will continue to decrease.
9. Self-repairing concrete uses dormant little creatures (a.k.a bacteria) that come to life and produce limestone when they get wet. Sounds like a movie plot!
10. Although it wasn't mentioned, D3O is a fascinating futuristic material that is being used to make life better and safer today. The future is here. 

Can't get enough? Check this out from the good folks at Harvard's Wyss Institute.
And for all of your other University-type studies or simply for sheer nerdery, check this out:

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