A compound that could turn an entire swimming pool into jelly

Though it sounds suspiciously like Kurt Vonnegut's ice-nine from Cat's Cradle, a materials chemist at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands has concocted a polymer that could turn an entire swimming pool into jelly. All that would be required is ample amounts of the compound, some warmth, and 25 minutes of… » 1/23/13 2:40pm 1/23/13 2:40pm

New bleeding, healing plastic will be used on airplanes, not androids

Earlier this week, scientists announced the development of an entirely new genre of plastic that heals itself when it's scratched or cut, and bleeds like human skin — but researchers say you're more likely to find these next-gen materials wrapped around a car bumper than you are a freshly minted 800 Series. » 3/29/12 12:17pm 3/29/12 12:17pm

How to copy biological growth, and transform 2D gels into 3D shapes

Biological organisms have a nifty trick, where they can grow uniform materials into three dimensional shapes by limiting growth in certain areas. As some cells expand, others don't, causing the object to warp in three dimensions. Now researchers have applied that same theory to gel sheets, and developed a way of… » 3/09/12 7:55am 3/09/12 7:55am

Behold, the bizarre physics of the "Gobbling Drop"

The strange behavior you're witnessing is not typical of pure water (and that includes water observed in super slow motion). The phenomenon is known as "the gobbling drop effect," and was first observed and recorded just three years ago by a team of researchers led by MIT's Gareth McKinley. So what's the secret to… » 2/22/12 8:30am 2/22/12 8:30am