The Materials Library is a collection of some of the most wondrous materials on earth, gathered from sheds, labs, grottoes and repositories around the world. It is a resource, laboratory, studio, and playground for the curious and material-minded to conduct hands-on research through truly interdisciplinary inquiry and innovation.
The Materials Library was established in 2005 by a team of passionate material addicts Martin Conreen, Zoe Laughlin, and Mark Miodownik; the archive of the project can be found at materialslibrary.org.uk. In 2011, the collection became the central resource of the Institute of Making and in 2012, the project moved from King’s College London to a specially designed new space at University College London (UCL).
In its new home, the Materials Library is growing and developing, remaining at the heart of the Institute of Making alongside the MakeSpace workshop, enabling users to experience at first hand the relationships between materials and tools that constitute processes of making.
To visit the Library, come to one of our monthly open days where you can ask questions, handle materials and learn more. Sign up to the newsletter to hear all about our public events. If you have a specific request, contact us.
Materials Top 10
The lightest solid on earth
Aluminium Nitride Wafer
Cuts ice like butter
Provokes cells to turn into bone on contact
Rapid Prototype Nylon Chainmail
A technology to change the world
Silicon Nitride Ball Bearing
Smashes concrete without a scratch
A liquid that alters its viscosity as a result of magnetic interference
To bring change to our cities
A metal that cries
Shape Memory Alloy
Metal that remembers its shape
A naturally occurring optical fibre