Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 25th Jan 2009

Material, Heal Thyself...

The Barlow Trainshed in September 2007 (c) M graf67

We get Smart on this week's Naked Scientists with the science of self-healing, self-sensing and self-cleaning materials.  We hear how carbon fibre polymers could lead to self-healing spacecraft, why a titanium coating keeps windows clean and kills superbugs, and how helicopters can warn you when they're damaged.  Also, how gut bugs tell the story of our ancestors' migration into Australia and beyond, how RNA housekeeping allows humans to function with fewer genes than a banana, and how molecular metal cages safely store hydrogen, or sieve out carbon dioxide.  Plus, we mix borax and glue to make bouncy, stretchy goo! 

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 10:54 - MOF's and Molecular Sieves

    Metal-Organic Frameworks, or MOFs, are a promising species of molecules which have enormous internal surface areas. They can be used to selectively grab hold of chemicals such as hydrogen or methane for fuel, or even act as a molecular sieve, scrubbing carbon dioxide from waste...

  • 23:42 - Self-Sensing, Self-Healing Materials

    A car which silently repairs scratched paintwork, chipped windscreens or engine faults sounds fantastic, and may not be too far away...

  • 29:20 - Self-Cleaning Glass

    Window cleaners may be forced to join the unemployment line, as new technology lets the windows clean themselves...

  • 37:14 - Self-Aware Systems

    Having a material which can tell you when it's cracked is one thing, but integrating it into existing systems is quite another...

  • 43:55 - How many objects can you instinctively count?

    Say you had three eggs on the table, by simply looking at them you can tell that there are three eggs (without counting one, two, three etc...). My question is, how many eggs or any other objects does there have to be until you have to start counting them?



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