Materials Podcasts

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Produced by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), these naked Scientist podcasts look at materials science questions in an accessible and informative way.

When will 'indestructible' plastics finally degrade?
Nothing lasts forever, so how long does it take plastics in the sea to break down?

Super bainite: a super strong steel
Super bainite, a surprisingly-strong steel, is the subject of this Naked Scientists podcast. It describes how the super-strong steel is made in the metallurgical equivalent of a pizza oven, why it makes the best bearings and how it also makes great armour. In the news, a nanotechnological tool to unblock blood vessels, a dust cloud that has disappeared around a nearby star and have we found the Higgs particle? Plus, can cutlery affect the flavour of food?

Can you create a magnet so powerful?
This question of the week asks, 'Is it possible to make a magnet so powerful that it crushes the object it attracts?'

Making metals: designing a new alloy
Metal alloys are mixtures of different elements. Adding certain elements can make a metal harder, others can alter its melting point, or help the metal to resist corrosion. There are many metals to choose from, so how do metallurgists decide which to include and in what proportions?

Making a new metal
This podcast looks at the development of new metals and how they are tested to see if they live up to their promise. The podcast describes how metallurgists forge, treat and test a novel metal composition.

The weird world of water at the nanoscale
Understanding what happens at the nano-scale when water changes from liquid to solid (ice) could help to understand many wide ranging environmental processes.

Creating bomb-proof curtains
This podcast describes a new type of material that gets thicker rather than thinner when it is stretched. Such a material may help to provide better protection from the effects of bomb blasts.

Storing hydrogen safely
Hydrogen is being considered as a fuel for the future. Nanostructured materials could be used to produce safe storage for hydrogen.

Metallurgy: metals at the molecular scale
This podcast explores what is happening at the molecular scale when a blacksmith works a piece of iron. It looks at super alloys that survive temperatures above their melting points inside jet engines. In the news, how the brain has a built-in sonar, an attractive new magnetic material turned on by a current and a new technique to detect trouble spots brewing inside arteries.

STFC is a part of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) partnership of research councils.

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