Dictionary of Material Terms in Science Fiction
(Technovelgy items at top: skip down to News)


Author (Publication Date)

1D Diamond Crystal - might be a carbon fullerene molecule
A continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal- maybe a nanotube?

Arthur C. Clarke (1978)
Absolute Black - so dark, you can't see it
A material so absolutely black that it absorbed all incident light.

Douglas Adams (1980)
High tensile strength, lightweight material.

Leo Zagat (1943)
The lightest metal.

Hugo Gernsback (1911)
Antithermal Shield
A material that protected against climate warming.

Philip K. Dick (1965)
A single particle of antimatter - an antiproton.

John D. Clark, Ph.D (1937)
Artificial Transparent Element - see through it
A substance as strong as metal that you can see through.

Olaf Stapledon (1930)
Asteroid-Metal - raw materials from space
Metal mined from asteroids.

E.C. Tubb (1958)
Biological Circuit Fabrication
Creating an electronic circuit using biologically-based means.

Author Unknown (1984)
Black Coating - very early reference
A material that absorbs practically all incident light.

E.E. 'Doc' Smith (1942)
Very early fictional element, courtesy of metallurgists.

Edgar Bain (1926)
A building material, too good to be true, with hidden properties.

George Zebrowski (1979)
H. Beam Piper (1962)
Similar to chlorophyll but synthetic and far more efficient.

Raymond Z. Gallun (1961)
Contraterrene Matter (Antimatter)
Contraterrene (CT) Matter (sometimes abbreviated "Seetee").

Jack Williamson (1942)
Coronium Ore
A radiolite substance to revolutionize industry.

Clyde Wilson (1938)
Corrosite Gas
A highly corrosive gas.

William Callahan (1939)
Dumb Matter
Ordinary matter, with no nano-value added.

Charles Stross (2005)
Very hard alloy for tanks.

Keith Laumer (2002)
More durable than steel?

Leo Zagat (1943)
Super-strong material used to counter reaction-blasts.

Robert Heinlein (1939)
Synthetic material that creates extremely smooth roads.

H.G. Wells (1899)
Fanmetal - build temporary shelters
High tensile strength material; used in collapsible structures opened by "fanning" them out.

Frank Herbert (1965)
Flickercladding - light emission and absorption
A covering that allowed robots to absorb incident light or emit light, as needed.

Rudy Rucker (1988)
A material the color of which is blacker than black.

Gene Wolfe (1980)
A transparent material of great strength.

Ray Cummings (1930)
Goat/Spider Silk
High tensile strength fibers from - goats.

Margaret Atwood (2003)
Graffiti-Eating Finish - never wash those walls again
A wall covering that maintained itself, eating any graffiti placed on it.

William Gibson (1999)
Gravity-Polarized Explosive (TDX)
A chemical explosive that acts at an angle to the local gravitational field.

James Blish (1957)
A very sturdy, high-tensile composite.

Yoshiyuki Tomino (1979)
Ultralight metal.

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1929)
Unusual alloy combines a metal and a gas.

Robert H. Wilson (1931)
Helium Metal
An ore with the spectroscopic line of Helium.

George Parsons Lathrop (1897)
A very strong alloy like steel.

Jack Vance (1949)
Husk of an Atom
A negative universe substance.

Frank Belknap Long, Jr. (1936)
A very high tensile strength material structured as a long thin line or ribbon.

Arthur C. Clarke (1978)
Super-heavy and super-stable elements with atomic numbers greater than 296.

Samuel R. Delany (1968)
A substance that is impervious to penetration.

Nat Schachner (1934)
Impervium - the way is shut
Unique material is impenetrable and indestructible.

Lawrence O'Donnell (1943)
Inertron - light but strong
Material with all the properties of heavier metals, but lighter.

Philip Frances Nowlan (1928)
Invulnerable Wall
A material created by insects that grew stronger as it was compressed.

Clifford Simak (1956)
Rocket fuel catalyst that makes space travel commercially practical.

Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat) (1931)
A special glove made of impact-sensitive plastic.

John Brunner (1968)
Krimskell Fiber - better than zip strips
A "claw" fiber which will rubs against itself in such a way that, the tighter the rope is pulled, the stronger the knot becomes.

Frank Herbert (1965)
Leybyrdite - Perfect for space axes
Extremely tough crystalline metal.

E.E. 'Doc' Smith (1965)
Lithocule - building block
Tiny intelligent building blocks.

Neal Stephenson (1995)
Lunar Concrete
A building material using lunar dust or similar surface material as a main ingredient.

William Gibson (1988)
A bar of solidified light.

John W. Campbell (1930)
Luxobe Crystals
They give light.

J. Harvey Haggard (1936)
A durable form of magnesium.

S.P. Meek (1930)
Matter Organizer
A device that could cause a computer-generated image to be constructed as a real object.

Arthur C. Clarke (1956)
Memory Plastic
Takes various shapes impressed into it on command.

Larry Niven (1969)
Mercy Gas
Breathe it and die.

Eric Frank Russell (1937)
Metal Paste
A conductive metal that could be easily squirted from a tube.

Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle) (1974)
Strong metal you can see through.

A.E. van Vogt (1939)
A transparent "glass" made of metal.

Philip Nowlan (w/D. Calkins) (1929)
Micro Label
A serial number or logo so small it can only be seen under extreme magnification.

Ridley Scott (1982)
Material that negates weight.

Aleksandr Bogdanov (1908)
Fake leather.

Ron Goulart (1970)
Negative Molecular Motion
A state of matter that has a temperature below absolute zero.

Alan E. Nourse (1951)
Unbreakable transparent window material.

Clark Ashton Smith (1932)
Neutronic Dust
What's left over when you've annihilated matter.

Jack Williamson (1931)
Neutronic Shielding - monomolecular protection
Very high density monomolecular shielding

Alan Nourse (w/Meyer) (1958)
Neutronium - how dense is it
Extremely dense material.

E.E. 'Doc' Smith (1930)
An alloy of aluminum crystalized within a magnetic field for exceptional strength.

Arthur Bird (1899)
Nothing - just holes
A super-hard substance created by carefully removing material.

Theodore Sturgeon (1969)
Organic Superlubricant
Advanced lube that can "learn" how to be more effective.

Sid Meier (1999)
Paper Steel
Specially treated paper that forms material as hard as steel.

Jules Verne (1866)
A synthetic substance that is opaque unless penetrated by infra-red.

Nat Schachner (1934)
Protects ships from the hazards of space.

Nelson S. Bond (1939)
Personal Smelter - make your own ingot
A device used to reduce metallic objects (like coins, pots, cables) to an ingot with known value.

John Brunner (1975)
Transparent and light and has the tensile strength of steel!

Nat Schachner (1937)
Plasteel - tough metal for tough times
Extremely tough form of steel, stabilized with stravidium fibers grown into its crystal.

Frank Herbert (1965)
A fabric that cannot be stained.

Isaac Asimov (1951)
Protonite - for space exploration
Radioactive fuel for spacecraft.

Jack Williamson (1931)
PyrE - thought explosive
A thermonuclear explosive that is detonated by thought alone.

Alfred Bester (1956)
Substance that creates more space when applied to walls, floors and ceilings.

Sigizmund Krzhizhanowsky (1925)
Quartzite Leak Foil
Special material for space dome leaks.

Leo Zagat (1932)
A natural fiber that is as strong as steel.

Jack Vance (1949)
Ridulian Crystal Sheets
Exceptionally strong, surpassingly thin material.

Frank Herbert (1981)
Scrith - tensile strength
The material used to build Ringworld; has remarkable tensile strength

Larry Niven (1970)
Transparent and flexible material, even against hard vacuum in space.

Fritz Leiber (1961)
Self-Sealing Plastic
Transparent sheeting with a layer of material that would flow to staunch tiny leaks.

Raymond Z. Gallun (1951)
Semisentient Plastic
A durable coating that protects and preserves objects.

Stephen Baxter (1994)
Shadow Square Wire - hold shadow squares in position
Very fine, very light, very strong wire.

Larry Niven (1970)
A very tough fabric.

Manly Wade Wellman (1940)
Material that has high tensile strength as well as high flexibility.

Sid Meier (1999)
Sinclair Molecule Chain - one molecule thick
A monofilament fiber, used for strength.

Larry Niven (1968)
Slow Glass (Scenedow) - a scendow for your apartment
A window made of Bose-Einstein Condensate that slows light to a snail's pace.

Bob Shaw (1968)
Slow Glass Rod - light stopped
A transparent glass rod that makes light travel so slowly that it can trap light within its depths.

L. Sprague de Camp (1940)
Smart Tag - sneaky graffiti
A piece of graffiti, or a small sticker tag, that could survive being placed on walls designed to be self-cleaning.

William Gibson (1999)
Molecularly-gimmicked explosive.

Roger Zelazny (1976)
Lightweight and tough!

Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat) (1931)
Sprayrock - tough when it hardens
Special compound that can be sprayed onto a surface, that hardens into rock.

Alastair Reynolds (2005)
Steelonium - very early reference
A remarkable kind of steel that did not rust or corrode.

Hugo Gernsback (1911)
Superacid - smart acid
Smart acids that could be created to ignore particular compounds and dissolve others.

Bart Kosko (1987)
Three photons in one.

John W. Campbell (1932)
Synthetic Spider Silk
Artificial fabric thread as strong as steel.

Robert Heinlein (1939)
Tensile Memory Polarized Matter
The same piece of material can take pre-determined shapes.

Samuel R. Delany (1966)
A transparent material that allows almost no heat to escape.

John W. Campbell (1939)
Pure energy fuel mined on asteroids.

Nat Schachner (1941)
A chemical which, added to water, boiled and sterilized it instantly.

Stanley G. Weinbaum (1935)
Transparent Aluminum
Invisible light steel.

E. Edsel Newton (1929)
Transparent, Frictionless Coating - no stick before teflon
An absolutely frictionless, impenetrable coating.

Clifford Simak (1963)
Tree-Grown Wood
The natural product, obtained by cutting down a living tree.

Frederik Pohl (w/CM Kornbluth) (1952)
Twing - twine by NASA
Used in the hold of spaceships to keep articles all together, and to prevent them from floating around in free fall, or falling during periods of acceleration.

Larry Niven (1973)
Very handy material is invisible and non-reflective.

Philip Frances Nowlan (1928)
Ultron Wire
Invisible metal makes the thinnest, strongest wire.

Philip Frances Nowlan (1928)
A humorous reference to a substance both rare and unlikely.

David Brin (1983)
A rare radioactive metal which enables solar power cells.

Jack Williamson (1931)
A translucent glass-like fashion choice.

J. Harvey Haggard (1936)

Related Science Fiction in the News

Goldene - A Two-Dimensional Sheet Of Gold One Atom Thick
'Hasan always pitched a Gauzy - a one-molecule-layer tent, opaque, feather-light, and very tough.' - Roger Zelazny, 1966.
(re: Roger Zelazny, 4/8/2024 )
GNoME AI From DeepMind Invents Millions Of New Materials
'...the legendary creativity of our finest human authors pales against the mathematical indefatigability of GNoME.'
(re: Various, 12/21/2023 )
Omniphobic Liquid-like Surfaces And de Camp's Telelubricator (1940)
'So the surface, to the depth of a few molecules, is put in the condition of a supercooled liquid as long as the beam is focused on it.' - L. Sprague de Camp, 1940.
(re: de Camp, 10/15/2023 )
MXenes - Atomic-Thin Metal Sheets Now Easier To Make
'...a rolled-up sheet of a thin, dark metal strange to them.' - John Edwards, 1934.
(re: John Edwards, 3/21/2023 )
Do We Still Need Orbiting Factories?
'... his contract with Space Industries required him to work summers in their orbital factory complex.' - Jerry Pournelle, 1976.
(re: Jerry Pournelle, 3/19/2023 )
MIT Self-Assembling Reprogrammable Materials
'Faster the cubes moved; faster the circle revolved; the pyramids raised themselves, stood bolt upright on their square bases...' - Abraham Merritt, 1920.
(re: Abraham Merritt, 11/11/2022 )
Tiny Mining - Extract Precious Industrial Minerals From Your Own Body
'Jim, I saw them reduce four of my doctors and nurses into those little cubes!' - Gene Roddenberry, 1968.
(re: Gene Roddenberry, 7/12/2022 )
Polyaramide Is Stronger Than Steel, Light As Plastic
'... harnessed by aludur straps' - Leo Zagat, 1943.
(re: Leo Zagat, 1/27/2022 )
Trinitite, Pentagrams And Isaac Asimov
'...And there were horns.' - Isaac Asimov, 1956.
(re: Isaac Asimov, 11/25/2021 )
RUSSE Self-Healing Plastic Works Underwater
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that could seal the punctures...' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.
(re: Raymond Z. Gallun, 10/13/2021 )
Pyrus, An Alternative Wood Made From Kombucha
Science fiction has just the word you'll need for that real wood from trees you've been using. Until now.
(re: Pohl and Kornbluth, 8/19/2021 )
Grow Wood Without Trees
Pretty soon, you'll start seeing this term on very expensive items.
(re: Pohl and Kornbluth, 4/19/2021 )
New Material Absorbs and Stores Solar Energy
'The light that is thus trapped can be released by making a small spark near the glass.' - L. Sprague de Camp, 1940.
(re: L. Sprague de Camp, 12/1/2020 )
3D Printed Damascus Steel Now Possible
'... lined with durite, that strange close-packed laboratory product.' - Robert Heinlein, 1939.
(re: Robert Heinlein, 6/17/2020 )
3D Printing Of Metallic Glass
Great Scott!
(re: Nolan and Calkins, 4/7/2020 )
Draw Circuits With Conductive Ink
'It's rewiring things... squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon along the printed circuitry.'
(re: Niven and Pournelle, 3/11/2020 )
How To Encode The 'Memory' Of Materials
'Just jar it, and it falls into that structure like a rubber figure returning to shape.' - Samuel R. Delany, 1966.
(re: Samuel R. Delany, 12/11/2019 )
Surface Film Repels All Bacteria
'Most gentlemen's and ladies' gloves nowadays were constructed of infinitesimal fabricules that knew how to eject dirt...'- Neal Stephenson, 1995
(re: Neal Stephenson, 12/7/2019 )
Frictionless Toilet Could Save 140 Billion Liters Of Water
'The bowl was a frictionless surface...' Niven and Pournelle, 1974.
(re: Niven and Pournelle, 11/15/2019 )
Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)
I can't resist science-fictional elements. Especially when they're real.
(re: Jack Vance, 9/21/2019 )
'Metallic Wood' Strong Like Titanium, Floats In Water
'A metal... light as cork and stronger than steel...' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929.
(re: Edgar Rice Burroughs, 3/28/2019 )
Self-Healing Material Pulls Carbon Out Of The Air
'... could seal the punctures.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.
(re: Raymond Z. Gallun, 10/6/2018 )
Shapeshifting Materials Transform By Light
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'- Philip K. Dick, 1957.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 9/29/2018 )
Superstrong Multilayer Metal-Graphene Composite Material
Negligible increase in weight increased material strength by hundreds of times.
(re: Frank Herbert, 9/19/2018 )
Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.' - Philip K. Dick, 1966.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 9/5/2018 )
Self-Healing Circuits From Carnegie Mellon
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that could seal the punctures...'- Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.
(re: Raymond Z. Gallun, 5/19/2018 )
Dune Fans! Metal-Organic Frameworks Make Science Fiction Real
'Dew collectors,' he muttered, enchanted by the simple beauty of such a scheme. - Frank Herbert, 1965.
(re: Frank Herbert, 3/9/2018 )
Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'- J.G. Ballard, 1962.
(re: J.G. Ballard, 1/14/2018 )
3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!
'... light as cork and stronger than steel...' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929.
(re: Edgar Rice Burroughs, 7/4/2017 )
Vantablack Now IMMEASURABLY Black
'a black coating now thatís ninety-nine percent absorptive...' - Doc Smith, 1934.
(re: Doc Smith, 4/2/2017 )
New Paper - Write With Light Erase With Heat
Writing with light, erasing with heat.
(re: Greg Bear, 1/28/2017 )
Reconfigured Graphene 10X Strong, 5 Percent Dense, As Steel
'...It was made of Alohydrolium, which is the lightest of all metals.' - Hugo Gernsback, 1911.
(re: Hugo Gernsback, 1/3/2017 )
MIT's aeroMorph Technology
'... It falls into that structure like a rubber figure returning to shape.' - Samuel R. Delany, 1966.
(re: Samuel R. Delany, 12/29/2016 )
Russia's Protective Ferrite Fabric
'His suit-shield sucked in the energy and discharged it...'- Philip K. Dick, 1954.
(re: Philip K Dick, 9/17/2016 )
Carbyne, The Ultimate Form Of Carbon
'A continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal...'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1978.
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 9/4/2016 )
Liquid Metal Terminator Development Hums Right Along
More research is needed - check!
(re: Philip K Dick, 8/16/2016 )
Breathable Carbon Nanotube Membrane For 'Smart Uniforms'
'The 'skin's got these reflexes, changes its permeability...' - Peter Watts, 1999.
(re: Peter Watts, 8/1/2016 )
Beta-Ti3Au Titanium-Gold Alloy Hardest Tissue-Compatible Metal
It needs a more science-fictional name!
(re: Various, 7/4/2016 )
Metal That Morphs
'A mimetic poly-alloy.' John Cameron, 1991.
(re: Philip K Dic13k, 3/16/2016 )
Self-Adapting Composite Heals Itself
'...Could seal the punctures that grain-of-sand-sized meteors might make.' - Ramond Z. Gallun, 1951.
(re: Raymond Z. Gallun, 1/26/2016 )
Strong Metal, Light Metal - Same Metal!
'A metal... light as cork and stronger than steel...' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929.
(re: Edgar Rice Burroughs, 12/22/2015 )
New Glass Tough As Steel
'Windows of an artificial transparent element...'' - Olaf Stapledon, 1930.
(re: Olaf Stapledon, 10/26/2015 )
Blackest Black? New Disordered Nanostructured Material
'Well, we have a black coating now thatís ninety-nine percent absorptive...' - Doc Smith, 1934.
(re: Doc Smith, 10/18/2015 )
Boeing Creates Lightest Metal Ever
'A metal that was apparently as light as cork and stronger than steel...' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929.
(re: Edgar Rice Burroughs, 10/10/2015 )
Light Molecules (And Maybe Light Sabers, Someday)
'It will be matter, matter made of light...'- John W. Campbell, 1930.
(re: John W. Campbell, 9/24/2015 )
Invisible Drones Will (Not) Appear Over Your Town
'Light-waves are bent around it without loss or distortion.' - Doc Smith, 1939.
(re: EE 'Doc Smith, 9/8/2015 )
New Super Slippery Surface Better Than Nature's
'The water flowed off those walls without binding tension.'- Frank Herbert, 1965.
(re: Frank Herbert, 9/3/2015 )
Living Concrete Repairs Itself
Science fiction fans were given this idea in 1951.
(re: Raymond Z. Gallun, 6/7/2015 )
Metal Composite Floats Your Boat
'A metal that was apparently as light as cork and stronger than steel...' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929.
(re: Edgar Rice Burroughs, 5/11/2015 )
LiquiGlide Will Be Everywhere
'They poured the remnants of eggs out of their frictionless cups...'- Larry Niven, 1973.
(re: Larry Niven, 3/13/2015 )
Synthetic 'Squid Skin' For Camouflage On The Way
'The small, chameleon-clad figures continued to advance.'- Gordon R. Dickson, 1960.
(re: Gordon R. Dickson, 1/19/2015 )
Shape-Shifting Carbon Fiber
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'- Philip K. Dick, 1957.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 11/12/2014 )
'Diamond Nanothreads' Now, Someday Space Elevators?
'It is a continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1978.
(re: Arthur C Clarke, 10/13/2014 )
Diamond Nanothreads For Space Elevators?
'Continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal.'- Arthur C. Clarke.
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 9/23/2014 )
Liquid Metal Technology Now Exists
'A mimetic poly-alloy.' John Cameron, 1991.
(re: John Cameron, 9/21/2014 )
Crystalized Light Created At Princeton
'It will be matter, matter made of light...'- John W. Campbell, 1930.
(re: John W. Campbell, 9/11/2014 )
New Material Is One Molecule Thick
'Hasan always pitched a Gauzy - a one-molecule-layer tent...'- Roger Zelazny, 1966.
(re: Roger Zelazny, 8/20/2014 )
Vantablack Is Blacker Than Your Black
'Well, we have a black coating now thatís ninety-nine percent absorptive...'- Dpc Smith, 1934.
(re: Doc Smith, 7/8/2014 )
Shatterproof Phone Screens Coming Soon
'It was like the pounding of a rock...'-Clifford Simak, 1963.
(re: Clifford Simak, 6/8/2014 )
'Smart Silk' In Quantity
Strongest stuff in the world, stronger than the best steel. Synthetic spider silk...- Robert Heinlein, 1939.
(re: Robert Heinlein, 1/21/2014 )
Home Made Lightsaber?
'Instantly the disk put forth a blue-white beam as thick around as his thumb.'-George Lucas, 1976
(re: George Lucas, 9/26/2013 )
Self-Healing Polymer Works Without Catalyst
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that could seal the punctures...'- Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.
(re: Raymond Z. Gallun, 9/16/2013 )
Filabot Turns Dull Plastic Junk To 3D Printed Shiny
'Whenever Nell's clothes got too small for her, Harv would pitch them into the deke bin and then have the M.C. make new ones.'-Neal Stephenson, 1995.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 1/16/2013 )
Army Wants Black Blacker Than Black
'Well, we have a black coating now thatís ninety-nine percent absorptive...'- Doc Smith, 1940.
(re: Doc Smith, 12/26/2012 )
Military Fabric Like A Smart Second Skin
Now, your dress whites and your NBC suit can be the same outfit.
(re: Isaac Asimov, 11/29/2012 )
Outdoor Testing For Self-Healing Concrete
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'- J.G. Ballard, 1962.
(re: J.G. Ballard, 11/10/2012 )
MIT's New Super Slippery Surface
'The water flowed off those walls without binding tension...' - Frank Herbert, 1965.
(re: Frank Herbert, 10/24/2012 )
Glowing LumiLor-Coated Cycles From Sith CycleWerks
Electroluminescent paint for your motorcycle.
(re: Richard Morgan, 9/17/2012 )
DARPA Seeks Science-Fictional Materials
'A metal that was apparently as light as cork and stronger than steel...' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929.
(re: Edgar Rice Burroughs, 9/15/2012 )
Self-Healing Materials - Microencapsulated or Microvascular
'An inter-skin layer of gum that could seal the punctures...'
(re: Raymond Z. Gallun, 6/11/2012 )
LiquiGlide Coating, Your New Condiment Lubricant
'The water flowed off those walls without binding tension...'
(re: Frank Herbert, 5/21/2012 )
Smart, Self-Healing Hydrogels
Linked chains of polymer molecules... with 'dangling side chain' molecules.
(re: Raymond Z. Gallun, 5/13/2012 )
Designer Materials Possible With Designer Electrons
Science-fictional materials are on the way!
(re: Various, 3/21/2012 )
Carbon Nanotube Knife Like Cheese Slicer
Fascinating development in materials science, predicted by Clarke thirty years ago for sf fans.
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 2/24/2012 )
Amazonian Fungus Eats Polyurethane
I guess I'd still like to know what the fungus breaks plastic down into.
(re: Michael Crichton, 2/2/2012 )
Self-Healing Batteries
It would be better if our gadgets could simply repair themselves when broken (with video).
(re: J.G. Ballard, 1/25/2012 )
Slippery Liquid Infused Porous Surface
Get the last little bit from containers, thanks to materials science.
(re: Frank Herbert, 11/16/2011 )
NASA's Super-Black Now Even Blacker
'Our material is darn near perfect across multiple wavelength bands, from the ultraviolet to the far infrared.'
(re: E.E. 'Doc Smith, 11/10/2011 )
Worlds First Intelligent Absorbent For Radioactive Contaminants
The material uses titanate nanofiber and nanotube technology.
(re: John W. Campbell, 10/27/2011 )
'Supra B 'Toys Soon Self-Healing
Toy, heal thyself.
(re: J.G. Ballard, 10/21/2011 )
Blacker-Than-Black Corrugated Metamaterials
This idea also fascinates sf authors; can you think of sfnal materials that are darker than black?
(re: E.E. 'Doc Smith, 10/1/2011 )
Super Bainite Armor Steel
'There's a sheet of just plain Nothing between us and it's impenetrable.'
(re: Theodore Sturgeon, 9/15/2011 )
Flexible, Transparent Speakers From Graphene
See through your speakers, someday.
(re: Bruce Sterling, 7/12/2011 )
Accoustic Cloak Achieves Sonic Invisibility
The ultimate achievement in being seen but not heard.
(re: Robert Heinlein, 7/5/2011 )
Invisibility Cloaks Get Bigger
Now you see it; full-size invisibility cloaks are almost within our grasp.
(re: Ray Cummings, 6/11/2011 )
Graphene Paper 10x Stronger Than Steel
This new material is paper-thin and super-strong.
(re: Jules Verne, 4/17/2011 )
Textile Energy Storage
It's a prototype systematic fiber-based electrochemical micro-supercapacitor.
(re: Murray Leinsrer, 1/23/2011 )
Metallic Glass Stronger Than Steel
The new metallic glass is a microalloy featuring palladium.
(re: Various, 1/12/2011 )
Autonomous Adaptive Structure Uses Shape Memory Polymer
Part of an autonomous adaptive structure created at MIT.
(re: J.G. Ballard, 12/10/2010 )
New Black From NASA Uses Nanotubes
This new material is blacker than black paint.
(re: E.E. 'Doc Smith, 12/5/2010 )
'Super Photons' Blob State Matter
Amazing new material reveals once again the quantum nature of light.
(re: John W. Campbell, 11/25/2010 )
Airbus Proposes Invisible Plane
Airbus has a great idea for a transparent fuselage - I wonder where they got that idea?
(re: Various, 10/28/2010 )
Self-Healing Concrete Uses Bacteria For Healing
Is it possible that bacteria in buildings could play the role of your body's osteoblast cells - repairing their minor fractures?
(re: J.G. Ballard, 9/2/2010 )
Ice Formation At Room Temperature Is Possible With New Material
This technology will have a number of practical implications. Busy, busy, busy, says Bokonon.
(re: Kurt Vonnegut, 7/27/2010 )
Mycotectural Buildings Made Of Fungus
Fungus bricks - the building material of the future? It can also be used as packing material to replace non-biodegradeable styrofoam.
(re: Larry Niven, 2/11/2010 )
Liquid Glass Universal Spray-On Protectant
This unique spray-on coating creates a flexible protective barrier that can be used on almost anything.
(re: Clifford Simak, 2/5/2010 )
Sensitile Terrazzo Tiles With Light-Channels
This fascinating floor tile 'device' can redistribute incident light, or make use of fiber optic light channels with LED light.
(re: Richard Morgan, 12/21/2009 )
Shape-Shifting Antennas
Fascinating material science makes Heinlein's magic realism come to life.
(re: Robert Heinlein, 12/2/2009 )
Brine Wells May Swallow Towns
What kind of spaces are we opening up beneath our feet?
(re: Sigizmund Krzhizhanowsky, 11/18/2009 )
Silicon-Silk Electronic Implants
What would you do with implantable electronics that could flex right along with your body?
(re: Paul Di Filippo, 11/4/2009 )
Thermeleon Roof Tiles Change Color To Save Energy
Very clever project could greatly save on heating and cooling costs. I also like the name chosen for the team that developed the material.
(re: Frank Herbert, 10/9/2009 )
Tooth Enamel Secret To Stronger Aircraft
Looking for a new composite to build stronger planes? Smile, aerospace engineers, new materials are on the way.
(re: Dan Simmons, 8/25/2009 )
Self-Healing Metal Coating
Imagine a material that can heal itself when scratched, or become more corrosion-resistant, or become self-lubricating.
(re: J.G. Ballard, 8/10/2009 )
New Transparent Aluminum Somewhat Shortlived
What, another story about transparent aluminum. No really, it is transparent. To ultraviolet lights. For a very short time. But it's pretty cool.
(re: Gene Roddenberry, 7/28/2009 )
InfoChemistry And Self-Folding Origami
DARPA is moving right along on their programmable matter project.
(re: Samuel R. Delany, 6/11/2009 )
Silver-Based Epoxy Makes Electronics Thinner
Interesting technique for making memory packages smaller - I'm pretty sure I read about this idea more than thirty years ago.
(re: Niven and Pournelle, 5/20/2009 )
Bendable, Self-Healing Concrete
This engineered cement composite can not only bend, it can heal itself without any intervention from human beings.
(re: Raymond Z. Gallun, 5/6/2009 )
Atomic Layer Deposition Like Wolverine's
This technique could also toughen other biomaterials. Like possibly an X-man's skeleton and claws?
(re: Various, 5/5/2009 )
BAM! It's More Slippery Than Teflon (And Greener)
Remarkable material is super slick and super hard, even in the thinnest coating.
(re: Clifford Simak, 11/26/2008 )
'Plastic Steel': Optically Transparent Plastic Nanocomposites
Sounds pretty close to transparent aluminum to me; and it's available in thin sheets like Visqueen or Mylar.
(re: Various, 11/25/2008 )
Carbon Nanotube Speakers Are Flexible, Transparent
This material could be an enabler for a variety of science fictional ideas, Update: a reader has found a great precursor to the idea of a flexible speaker.
(re: Bruce Sterling, 11/22/2008 )
Buckypaper To Go Commercial Soon
Fascinating material may actually be available soon in commercial quantities as a product for use in aerospace and other industries.
(re: Various, 10/20/2008 )
E-Skin For Robots Stretches Like Yours
Modern science marches on, making robots nicer to the touch.
(re: Various, 8/13/2008 )
Neowater - Like Intracellular Water
Unique process creates a specially structured water that is very similar to intracellular water; this should have both medical and industry applications.
(re: Kurt Vonnegut, 8/6/2008 )
Graphene Is Also Super Strong
One of the most remarkable materials ever discovered, graphene continues to amaze.
(re: Roger Zelazny, 7/20/2008 )
Nanopaper - Paper Tough As Steel
This material sounds like it has a lot of potential; light as paper, with the tensile strength of steel.
(re: Jules Verne, 7/1/2008 )
Two Plastics Merge To Create 'Metal'
Interesting combination of insulators produces a conductor.
(re: Frank Herbert, 6/16/2008 )
Flexible Rigid Biopolymer Inspired By Sea Cucumbers
Researchers look to the humble sea cucumber for help in finding new materials for implantable electrodes.
(re: William Gibson, 6/13/2008 )
Scientist Web-Spinners Could Just Ask Spiderman
I had no idea that detailed information on how Spiderman actually generates his webs was so easily available.
(re: Stan Lee, 5/1/2008 )
Graphene Reveals Fine Structure Constant
This amazing nanofabric is just one atom thick; physicists looking through this material can see one of the most mysterious fundamental constants known to science.
(re: Roger Zelazny, 4/4/2008 )
Metal Prices High Enough For Robot Sacrifice
When will we program robots to recycle themselves?
(re: Various, 3/25/2008 )
Iron Man Dreaming of Biological Fabrication of Circuits
I've always admired the diatoms - they are truly our friends. But now, they might even be able to help us make smaller circuits.
(re: Unknown, 3/8/2008 )
Smart Paint: Electronic Power System Surfaces
Ah, remember those days when the label on a plastic bottle or similar surface was static? Soon, companies will be able to change it even after you buy the product.
(re: Steven Spielberg, 3/5/2008 )
Piezoelectric Zinc Oxide Nanowire Fashions For Spring
When I think of all the energy wasted in the sixties from corduroy pants alone, it makes me weep.
(re: Frank Herbert, 2/16/2008 )
Nanofibers In Unlimited Lengths Now Available
I don't need fibers that are actually unlimited; nanotubes that were long enough to reach the ISS are probably long enough...
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 2/13/2008 )
3D DNA-Directed Nanoassembly
First instance of three-dimensional self-directed nanoassembly; building materials from the bottom up.
(re: Raymond Z. Gallun, 2/5/2008 )
Carbon Nanotube Blackness Blacker Than Black
Absorbs 99.9 percent of incident light, and good enough for Zaphod Beeblebrox - maybe.
(re: E.E. 'Doc Smith, 1/21/2008 )
Zetix Blast Resistant Fabric Has Other Uses
This amazing material has a very counter-intuitive property; it gets thicker when you stretch it out.
(re: Various, 12/7/2007 )
Plasteel? UM's New Ultrastrong Nanocomposite
Nifty new material built in layers like mother of pearl has the strength, if not the ductility, of steel.
(re: Frank Herbert, 10/5/2007 )
Betavoltaic Battery: 30 Years Of Power
Is it possible to create a small battery that could power a laptop for years?
(re: Robert Heinlein, 10/3/2007 )
Ice-Nine Modeled In Harvard Computer - We're Doomed
Okay, the world probably won't end, but Harvard researchers really do think they have found a way for ice to be solid at room temp.
(re: Kurt Vonnegut, 10/1/2007 )
Geckel Adhesive Has Gecko-Mussel Foot Power
To get the ultimate in stickiness, you must sit at the feet of the masters.
(re: Various, 7/20/2007 )
Richard Palmer, d3o Inventor, O2 X Entrepreneur of the Year
Inventor Richard Palmer gets a bit of recognition for bringing science fiction to life for all of us.
(re: Larry Niven, 7/10/2007 )
Self-Healing Polymer Autonomous Material System
Autonomous materials may be able to heal themselves without high maintenance costs.
(re: J.G. Ballard, 6/13/2007 )
Rhenium Diboride Like Metal, Crystal
Tip for creating latest super-tough material found in Doc Smith.
(re: E.E. 'Doc' Smith, 4/25/2007 )
Kryptonite Discovered By Scientist
Boffins are finally able to identify mysterious mineral.
(re: DC Comics, 4/24/2007 )
Slow Light 'Scenedow' Close At Hand
It looks like a prototype 'scenedow' from Light of Other Days has been created at the University of Rochester.
(re: Bob Shaw, 1/20/2007 )
Shape-Memory Polymers Temperature Morphing
Special polymers perform amazing stunts in response to modest temperature changes.
(re: Samuel R. Delany, 11/25/2006 )
d3o Design Competition To Invent The Future
Design your own materials for the future using d3o intelligent molecules, and win cash prizes.
(re: L. Niven, 7/5/2006 )
Namib Desert Beetle-based Dune Dew Collectors
They're not chromoplastic, but this new material could be used in Frank Herbert's dew collectors from Dune.
(re: Frank Herbert, 6/18/2006 )
Metal-like Polymer Developed In South Korea
Who would ever think of flexible, extrudable plastic with the same properties as metal wire? SF authors, that's who.
(re: Niven and Pournelle, 5/9/2006 )
Anti-Adhesive Surfaces Of Plants
The natural world is the source of some of the best 'thinking' in materials science.
(re: Clifford Simak, 1/18/2006 )
New Materials One Atom Thick Extracted With Micromechanical Cleavage
Science fictional materials are created by extracting individual atomic planes from conventional bulk crystals by using a technique called 'micromechanical cleavage'.
(re: Roger Zelazny, 7/21/2005 )
Invisibility Using Plasmonic Covers
Researchers Andrea Alu and Nader Engheta of the University of Pennsylvania have written a paper on how plasmonic resonance effects might be used to render an object invisible.
(re: H.G. Wells, 3/2/2005 )
Water-Repellent 'Bumpy' Glass Mimics Lotus Leaves
The lotus is a good model for a water-repellent surface; they are waxy and covered with tiny bumps that make water roll off. Surfaces like ordinary glass are naturally wettable; when water is poured onto it, its surface tension is reduced so it sprea
(re: Frank Herbert, 1/30/2005 )
Graphene - Nanofabric One Atom Thick
A nanofabric called graphene just one atom thick has been created at The University of Manchester.
(re: Roger Zelazny, 10/23/2004 )
Aluminate Glass: Did Scientists Create Transparent Aluminum?
Scientists at 3M in Minnesota have alloyed aluminum oxide with rare-earth metal oxides to create a strong glass with good optical qualities - it really is transparent alumninum.
(re: N. Meyer/H. Bennett, 8/23/2004 )
Pilkington Activ Glass - The Invisible Squeegee Of Window-Willie
Pilkington Activ glass has a coating of microcrystalline titanium oxide that acts as an "invisible squeegee" to allow the surface to clean itself.
(re: Robert Heinlein, 6/9/2004 )
Diamondoids From Crude Oil Aid Nanotechnology Research
Diamondoids are now being refined from crude oil in sufficient quantities to allow for formal research and development in nanotechnology. Diamondoids are not for jewelry; each one is only .000000000000000001 carat in size.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 5/10/2004 )
Arachnid Adhesion: The Sticky Feet Of Spiders
We've all seen spiders crawl up a glass window, then hang upside down from the ceiling. This study used a scanning electron microscope to find out how they do it - and how humans might make sticky things stickier.
(re: William Gibson, 4/27/2004 )






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