Shape Memory Polymer Demo

Shape memory polymers demo

Shape-memory metals get a fair amount of attention, but shape memory polymers exist, too. In fact, heat-shrink tubing is a familiar example of a simple shape-memory effect in a polymer. This video uploaded by MIT researcher Vikas Srivastava back in 2009 is a more impressive demonstration of heat-induced shape recovery.... Read more »

Epic Soft Circuit Roundup


In celebration of Advanced Materials Month here on MAKE, I’m bringing you the most fabulous wearable electronics using innovative conductive materials like fibers and paints. This is the roundup to end all other roundups; it showcases 22 of my favorite projects. Above: Soft Circuit Musical Hats Read more »

The Wonders of Transparent Aluminum

AlON Dome

Those of you, um, enthusiastic enough to remember Star Trek IV may recall the scene embedded here. If not, let me set up the clip: The crew of the Enterprise has gone into the past to retrieve some whales, OK? And take them “back to the future,” to coin a... Read more »

Single Crystal Superalloys

Rolls-Royce HP turbine blade

On Friday, I wrote about the development of amorphous or “glassy” metal alloys, in which the atoms are packed together with no regular crystal structure. At the microscopic level, almost all metals are made of crystal grains, which can be bigger or smaller depending on how the metal has been... Read more »

Metals That Can Be Molded Like Plastics

Liquidmetal samples

At the atomic scale, generally speaking, solids are either crystalline or amorphous. In crystals, the atoms or molecules fill space in a repeating, orderly arrangement, like stacked cannonballs or cells in a honeycomb. Table salt is a handy example. In amorphous materials, however, the atoms or molecules are packed together... Read more »

How-To: Space Invaders Tote Bag

Space Invaders Tote Bag from Fashioning Technology

In honor of our Advanced Materials theme, we’re sharing an excerpt from my favorite book on smart materials, Syuzi Pakhchyan’s Fashioning Technology: A DIY Intro to Smart Crafting. If you’re interested in checking out the potential in soft circuits, sewing your circuits in using conductive thread, the Space Invaders Tote... Read more »