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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.

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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 www.metalfoam.net
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: Nature.com.
My interest in this kind of learning is kind of a contradiction to my education. As a languages major and educator, my continuous fascination with Science has led me to create many lessons in a field I have little to no post secondary education in. Undaunted, I keep 'nerding out' over learning new things. 10 Years ago it was my excitement over the discovery of Nanotechnology that led me to share what I learned with my son who was 13 at the time. 10 years later, he will be graduating with a degree in Nanotechnology Engineering. It all comes down to igniting a spark in ourselves that may be shared with others. This lesson covers a lot of material(s) in a short time span, but offers enough to light a fire in a lot of minds when you journey down one of the rabbit holes I included in the Dig Deeper section. Keep learning, keep sharing, and keep creating!
Avatar for Will Gourley
Lesson Creator
Markham, Ontario, Canada
As we continue to research and develop futuristic materials, are there any environmental concerns that need to be addressed? How do we avoid repeating the past mistakes made by natural resource exploration and mining companies?
02/19/2018 • 
 3 Responses
 / 3 Updates
What role do you think Sci-Fi plays in inspiring ideas today that they may be brought to fruition in the future? Think about the Star Trek IV movie clip mentioned at the beginning of the video, the first time you saw a Star Wars land speeder, or Star Lord's mask in Guardians of the Galaxy. In this discussion, share your favourite Sci-Fi technology you would like to own.
02/19/2018 • 
 5 Responses
 / 5 Updates

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