Material Science

Material Science represents a wide field of research and the micro-structural characterisation of materials is needed in order to better understand the main phenomena that occur during the forming or during the use of a material. The microstructure characterisation must be carried out at the relevant scale, depending on the scientific problem. Synchrotron X-ray techniques are unique to achieve spacial resolution below the micron. The prediction of the performance of building materials exposed to aggressive environments is economically and technically important. Only by understanding the mechanisms behind the degradation can the right curative or preventive action be taken.

Stronger than steel: Scientists spin ultra-strong cellulose fibres

Artist´s impression of the production of ultra-strong cellulose fibres: The cellulose nano fibrils flow through a water channel and become accelerated by the inflow of additional water jets from the sides. The acceleration lets all fibrils align with the direction of flow, finally locking together as a strong fibre.
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Artist´s impression of the production of ultra-strong cellulose fibres: The cellulose nano fibrils flow through a water channel and become accelerated by the inflow of additional water jets from the sides. The acceleration lets all fibrils align with the direction of flow, finally locking together as a strong fibre.

PETRA III, DESY, Hamburg, Germany

A Swedish-German research team has successfully tested a new method for the production of ultra-strong cellulose fibres at DESY's research light source PETRA III. The novel procedure spins extremely tough filaments from tiny cellulose fibrils by aligning them all in parallel during the production process.

"Our filaments are stronger than both aluminium and steel per weight," emphasizes lead author Prof. Fredrik Lundell from the Wallenberg Wood Science Center at the Royal Swedish Institute of Technology KTH in Stockholm. "The real challenge, however, is to make bio based materials with extreme stiffness that can be used in wind turbine blades, for example. With further improvements, in particular increased fibril alignment, this will be possible."

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Scientists Watch High-temperature Superconductivity Emerge out of Magnetism

Superconducting materials expel magnetic fields, whose repulsive force can levitate a magnet, as shown here.
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Superconducting materials expel magnetic fields, whose repulsive force can levitate a magnet, as shown here.

Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, USA

Scientists at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have shown for the first time how high-temperature superconductivity emerges out of magnetism in an iron pnictide, a class of materials with great potential for making devices that conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency.

The results are an important step toward understanding how high-temperature superconductors work – information scientists need to realize their dream of engineering superconductors with more useful properties that operate at close to room temperature for a variety of practical applications.

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Temperature Driven Reversible Rippling and Bonding of a Graphene Superlattice

Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste, Italy

Graphene on Ir(100), a support with square symmetry, provides a remarkable model for investigating the intriguing physics of the metal-graphene interface. In our study on this system, we discovered distinct flat and buckled graphene phases on that coexist at room temperature, forming stripe-shaped domains which relieve the strain accumulated after cooling the film below growth temperature. In the buckled phase, a small fraction of the carbon atoms chemisorbs to the substrate, originating a textured structure with exceptionally large one-dimensional ripples of nm periodicity. Our results unravel the complex interplay between film and support, disentangling the effects of the film configuration and substrate interaction on the quasi-particle dispersion.

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