Materials - News Items of Interest

Swiss researchers have discovered how chameleons accomplish their vivid colour changes: they rearrange the crystals inside specialised skin cells.

It was previously suggested that the reptiles' famous ability came from gathering or dispersing coloured pigments inside different cells.

But the new results put it down to a "selective mirror" made of crystals.

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Graphene isn't the only game-changing material to come out of a lab. From aerogels nearly as light as air to metameterials that manipulate light, here are six supermaterials that have the potential to transform the world of the future.

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YKK was founded by Tadao Yoshida in Tokyo, Japan, in 1934 -- 80 years ago this year -- and it picked Macon for the company’s first U.S. zipper manufacturing plant.

“In 1972, the company was looking for 11 acres for a small zipper plant in Georgia,” said Alex Gregory, chairman, president and CEO of Marietta-based YKK Corporation of America, the parent company for YKK in Macon. A native of Eatonton, Gregory was hired in 1973 as part of a team of engineers for the first 258,000-square-foot facility.

 

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When I first saw a sea sapphire I thought I was hallucinating. The day had been anything but normal, but this part will always stand out. I had spent the afternoon on a small dingy off the coast of Durban, South Africa. It was muggy, and I had been working for hours – throwing a small net out, and pulling in tiny hauls of plankton to put in jars.

As I looked through one jar, the boat rocking up and down, I saw a bright blue flash. It lasted for an instant and then it was gone. Then I saw another one in a different place. It was an incredible shade of blue.

Maybe I had been in the sun too long? Maybe I was seeing things? It wasn’t until I got back to the lab that I...

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Hydrophobic materials – that is, materials that reject water at the molecular level – are quickly making their way into the mainstream. There are nanoscale hydrophobic treatments for electronics, all-purpose sprays that can be applied to nearly anything and make them water resistant, and even dishes that don’t need to be washed. 

Yet despite how amazing and useful it would be, Hydrophobic clothing has been somewhat elusive thus far. This is mostly because applying hydrophobic coatings to solid, static surfaces is one thing, but applying them onto flexible, dynamic materials that are comfortable to wear is much more difficult.

But thanks to SF-based entrepreneur Aamir Patel...

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Next time you zip up, or zip down, check out your zipper. There's a good chance it'll say YKK. But, what is YKK? I head to South Gate, California, to find out.

At Koos Manufacturing in South Gate, they make AG jeans, with YKK zippers. Yul Ku, the owner of the company, shows me around. And it's a sight. Cutting. Lasering. They make 10,000 pairs of AG jeans a day. There are men whose job it is to buff the butts of the jeans to make them soft.

And, at the very beginning of the process, there are people sewing zippers into the fly, adding sliders to the zipper chain. YKK zippers.

Ku says he's used them for decades. "Once I started using YKK, I never thought about someone...

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Ford is rolling the dice with a dramatic, expensive and potentially industry-changing move with its most precious family jewel, the F-150 pickup, which switches to a lighter-weight aluminum body for the 2015 model year.

The automaker is going for paydirt with what should be the most fuel-efficient full-size truck on the market when it goes on sale late this year.

This truck now accounts for one of every four sales Ford makes in the U.S. It is the franchise vehicle. A botched launch or consumer skepticism that aluminum is the...

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