From Eyeglass Frames To Earthquake-Resistant Bridges

University of Nevada-Reno engineers have created a composite of nickel titanium -- the material that gives eyeglass frames their flexibility -- that can reinforce and stabilize bridges better than traditional steel and concrete.

What's the Latest Development?


Civil engineer M. Saiid Saiidi and his team at the University of Nevada-Reno have created a composite material that they claim can make bridges stronger and more durable than traditional steel and concrete. The main ingredient is nickel titanium, which is used in eyeglass frames because of its flexibility. The team combined it with both concrete and engineered cementitious composites (ECC), and compared those mixes with steel and concrete in an earthquake simulation program and a shake table. The nickel titanium/ECC mix "outperformed the traditional steel and concrete...on all levels."

What's the Big Idea?

Many bridges around the world are made of steel and concrete, a mix that doesn't always hold up well in the event of a strong (7.0 magnitude or greater) earthquake. Nickel titanium is one of several shape metal alloys that can withstand heavy strain and return to its original state. It also has the added advantage of being 10 to 30 times more elastic than steel. Bridges that use a nickel titanium/ECC composite would be slightly more expensive to build but less expensive to repair, and they would still be usable after a moderate to severe earthquake.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Phys.org

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

Are we all multiple personalities of universal consciousness?

Bernardo Kastrup proposes a new ontology he calls “idealism” built on panpsychism, the idea that everything in the universe contains consciousness. He solves problems with this philosophy by adding a new suggestion: The universal mind has dissociative identity disorder.

We’re all one mind in "idealism." (Credit: Alex Grey)
Mind & Brain

There’s a reason they call it the “hard problem.” Consciousness: Where is it? What is it? No one single perspective seems to be able to answer all the questions we have about consciousness. Now Bernardo Kastrup thinks he’s found one. He calls his ontology idealism, and according to idealism, all of us and all we perceive are manifestations of something very much like a cosmic-scale dissociative identity disorder (DID). He suggests there’s an all-encompassing universe-wide consciousness, it has multiple personalities, and we’re them.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less