Strong, Tough, and Now Cheap: Caltech Researchers Have New Way to Process Metallic Glass

Stronger than steel or titanium—and just as tough—metallic glass is an ideal material for everything from cell-phone cases to aircraft parts. Now, researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a new technique that allows them to make metallic-glass parts utilizing the same inexpensive processes used to produce plastic parts. With this new method, they can heat a piece of metallic glass at a rate of a million degrees per second and then mold it into any shape in just a few milliseconds.

Engineering Design Competition: "Extreme Recycling"

Congratulations to Chris Hallacy, Brad Saund, and Janet Chen for their victory March 8 in the 26th annual ME 72 engineering design competition. This year's theme: "Extreme Recycling." The mission: Design, build, and deploy two vehicles and traverse difficult terrain (water, sand, rocks, and wood chips, with one type of terrain in each of four different 6' x 10' boxes) to collect plastic water bottles, aluminum cans, and steel cans.

Young Caltech Engineers Recognized for Innovative Work in Disease Diagnostic Technologies

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) graduate student Guoan Zheng is the recipient of the 2011 $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Caltech Student Prize.

Caltech Student Recognized as a "New Face" of Engineering

For Javad Lavaei, a PhD candidate in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech, seeking a career in engineering came naturally. Now, he has the chance to influence other young students to pursue engineering careers as part of the New Faces of Engineering program.

 

Daraio Awarded Sloan Fellowship

Caltech's Chiara Daraio is among this year's crop of Sloan Research Fellows. Daraio is one of 118 faculty from across the country to receive the two-year, $50,000 fellowship, given to early-career scientists and scholars in recognition of achievement and the potential to contribute substantially to their fields.

Caltech-Led Team Pinpoints Aggression Neurons in the Brain

Where does violence live in the brain? And where, precisely, does it lay down its biological roots? With the help of a new genetic tool that uses light to turn nerve cells on and off, a team led by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has tracked down the specific location of the neurons that elicit attack behaviors in mice, and defined the relationship of those cells to the brain circuits that play a key role in mating behaviors.

Two Caltech Professors Named to National Academy of Engineering

Two Caltech faculty members have been elected members of the 2011 class of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). The new inductees are Michael R. Hoffmann, the James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science, and Ares J. Rosakis, the Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics, professor of mechanical engineering, and chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science.

Plasmonic Metamaterials: From Microscopes to Invisibility Cloaks

A new class of artificial materials called metamaterials may one day be used to create ultrapowerful microscopes, advanced sensors, improved solar cells, computers that use light instead of electronic signals to process information, and even an invisibility cloak. In a Perspectives piece in this week's issue of the journal Science, Caltech's Harry Atwater and Purdue University colleague Alexandra Boltasseva describe advances in a particular subtype of these materials—plasmonic metamaterials. 

New Reactor Paves the Way for Efficiently Producing Fuel from Sunlight

Using a common metal most famously found in self-cleaning ovens, Sossina Haile hopes to change our energy future. The metal is cerium oxide—or ceria—and it is the centerpiece of a promising new technology developed by Haile and her colleagues that concentrates solar energy and uses it to efficiently convert carbon dioxide and water into fuels.

Caltech-Led Team Creates Damage-Tolerant Metallic Glass

A Caltech-led team has created a palladium-based metallic glass that has a combination of strength and toughness at a level not previously been seen in any other material. The study demonstrates for the first time that the metallic glasses have the capacity to become the toughest and strongest materials ever known, the researchers say. 

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