Category Archives: Materials

Worth Doing Right: How Climate Change Could Throw a Wrench Into Road repairs

Repairing with the wrong materials for shifting climates could be a road to nowhere, like this spot in the Suffolk village of Covehithe. Picture by Timothyansell123.

The American Society of Civil Engineers has given America’s roads a D rating. But a recent study shows that trying to raise that grade without accounting for climate change could put the country’s roadways at risk.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Not Planning For Climate Change Could Cost Billions In Infrastructure Repairs Down The Road

Mantle Mystery Yields to Diamond Vise

Cross section of a diamond anvil cell. Illustration by Tobias1984.

Improved imaging of the Earth’s interior has unlocked new subsurface mysteries, including an area 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) down where the mantle’s usual flow pattern changes.

Now, at a lab bench on the planet’s surface, a team of researchers might have found the reason why.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Researchers Use Diamond Vise To Crack Mantle Mystery

Is Progress Outpacing Precaution? Experts Weigh In

Illustration by An Arres.

No one expects the machinery of progress to roll backwards, but sometimes it seems that no one is watching the speedometer (or manning the brakes, assuming any exist).  Is this a fair assessment? If so, should we be worried — and what can we do about it?

In this feature, experts on technology, risk, science, policy and neuroscience discuss risk, innovation and how our values affect our conceptions of both.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
ASU Experts Weigh the Risks of Innovation

NASA Moves Up Psyche Mission Timetable

Image courtesy Space Systems Loral/Arizona State University/Peter Rubin

NASA’s mission to 16 Psyche, the solar system’s only known iron-nickel asteroid, will launch in the summer of 2022, one year earlier than originally planned.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
NASA’s Psyche Mission Will Launch a Year Early, Arrive at Target Four Years Sooner

Time-Warp: The Unfolding Story of 4-D Printing

Image of printing press with legs holding a quill
It’s probably something like this.

4-D printing remains in its early stages, It’s certainly too early to tell if  it’s anything more than a buzzword, let alone if its promise will translate into practicality. But the sorts of people who bet on these kinds of things are betting on it.

And why not? Suppose a structure could unfold itself, like origami. Imagine if walls could flex or stiffen in response to shifting loads, or if a buried pipe could change shape to accommodate varying water flows — or to pump water via peristalsis, like your digestive system. Through 4-D printing, nothing is set in stone unless you want it to be.

How 4-D Printing Works