Materials Matter: It's a Nanoworld After All

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Mindy Bowen performs the Materials Matter show at The Discovery Center in Springfield, MO.

Working together, the MRSEC and the Franklin Institute have produced the Materials Matter museum show, a 60 minute cart-based interactive exploration into the "micro" mechanisms behind the unusual and surprising "macro" behavior of materials such as aerogels, shape-memory alloys, polymers, electronic ink, and zeolites. We've distributed 22 copies of this show to science museums nationwide.

View the shows below to learn more about each demo. Each link has information on procedures and F.A.Q.'s.

Demonstrations - Materials Matter

Aerogel is the lightest and lowest-density solid known to exist. It is typically 50-99.5% air, yet can hold 500 to 4,000 times its weight in applied force!

The goal of this demonstration is to show things on a micro scale can effect what we see on a macro scale. Demonstrate that research is not just a result it's also a process.

The goal of this demonstration is to show how Gore-tex can allow some things through but keeps others out. Specifically letting through gases but keeping water or other liquids out.

The goal of this demonstration is to explore the properties of a cross-linked polymer. When a polymer is cross-linked, it can take on new properties, such as going from a liquid to a solid.

The goal of this demonstration is to show how very common materials can do very unusual things.

The goal of this activity is to demonstrate how things on a micro scale affect your senses (how you see in this case) on a macro scale.

The goal of this demonstration is to demonstrate and explain Nitinol's shape memory properties.

The goal of this demonstration is to show properties of polymers. Polymers are made from long chains of molecules called "monomers." What the monomers are made from and how they are arranged can change the properties of the polymer.

The goal of this demonstration is to show how a zeolite can work as a "cage" to trap certain molecules selectively.

Materials needed:

Microscale