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Scientists create 'smarter' materials

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Waterloo, Ontario (UPI) Sep 1, 2010
New "smart materials" could revolutionize the manufacture of diverse products ranging from medical devices to automotive components, Canadian researchers say.

Scientists at the University of Waterloo in Ontario have developed a process dubbed Multiple Memory Material Technology that could allow engineers to incorporate far greater functionality into devices, a university release said Wednesday.

Smart materials, also known as shape memory alloys, are well known for their ability to remember a predetermined shape.

The materials assume one shape at one temperature and take on a second "remembered" shape at a different temperature.

Until now they have been limited to change shape at only one temperature, but with the Waterloo process they can be given multiple different memories, each one with a different shape triggered by a different temperature.

The technology "makes smart materials even smarter," Ibraheem Khan, a research engineer and graduate student, said. "We have developed a technology that embeds several memories in a monolithic smart material. In essence, a single material can be programmed to remember more shapes, making it smarter than previous technologies."




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Bacteria could make self-healing concrete
Delft, Netherlands (UPI) Sep 1, 2010
Concrete might heal its own hairline fractures - as living bone does - if bacteria are added to the wet concrete during mixing, European researchers say. Cracks in concrete surfaces make them vulnerable, allowing water and tag-along aggressive chemicals in, says Henk Jonkers of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Patching cracks in old concrete is a time-consumin ... read more

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