Blog: Materials Library

Materials Up Close & Personal: OVER TO YOU

20-5-20

Materials Up Close & Personal: OVER TO YOU

This week we have put together a medley of the wonderful materials musings that you’ve shared with us over the last 5 weeks. It’s been wonderful to get a sneak peek into the substances you’ve been sharing lockdown with, and the new appreciation you’ve gained from meditating on your household matter. Now over to you! More

Materials Up Close & Personal: RUBBERS

14-5-20

Materials Up Close & Personal: RUBBERS

Relax into RUBBERS, our latest ‘up close and personal’ material encounter. In this ode to erasers we explore the simple piece of stationary that we turn to when we’ve made a mistake, tracing the relationship between rubbers and mouldy bread, volcanic ash, Amazonian forests, and the Roman god Vulcan. More

Materials Up Close & Personal: TOWELS

07-5-20

Materials Up Close & Personal: TOWELS

All the debate about whether to mask or not to mask in the news has got us thinking about the importance of cloth for cleaning, filtering and wicking moisture, prompting an absorbing look at TOWELS. More

Materials Up Close & Personal: CARDBOARD

30-4-20

Materials Up Close & Personal: CARDBOARD

Tear into our latest up close and personal encounter with CARDBOARD. Think outside the box about the humble, fibrous material that has inspired architects, aerospace engineers and scientists developing mechanical metamaterials. You won’t be (card)bored! More

Materials Up Close & Personal: BLU-TACK

22-4-20

Materials Up Close & Personal: BLU-TACK

Following on from last week’s tour of tarmac, let’s stick (ha!) with another adhesive substance: that staple of the home office, blu-tack. Known for its powdery blue colour and distinctive adhesive qualities, read on to find out how uses of this mundane material can be anything but. More

Materials Up Close & Personal: TARMAC

16-4-20

Materials Up Close & Personal: TARMAC

Maybe you can see the road from your window, or have been pacing the local pavements recently during your daily constitutional? If so, you might have noticed this sometimes sticky, sometimes oily, sometimes crumbly, hash-brown of a material underfoot. Our new weekly series of Materials Library profiles journeys into the expansive inner lives and backstories of everyday substances that we surround ourselves with, but that we often don’t even notice. More

Materials Up Close & Personal - a New Materials Library Series

15-4-20

Materials Up Close & Personal - a New Materials Library Series

We are excited to announce a new weekly series of Materials Library profiles. At a time when staying at home has made our worlds significantly smaller, join us on a journey into the expansive inner lives and backstories of everyday substances and stuff; the silent and humble materials that we surround ourselves with, but that we often don’t even notice. More

Marvellous Medical Materials: Stainless Steel - Part Two

01-12-17

Marvellous Medical Materials: Stainless Steel - Part Two

In this series of blog posts, Sarah Wilkes (Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at the Institute) gets over-excited about the ways that materials like silicone rubber and silver impact on our health and wellbeing. This post is the second in a two-parter that explores the gradual historical domination of stainless steel in surgical tools and medical implants, its health risks and rewards from the point of view of a variety of actors (including the patient undergoing hip replacement, the airplane passenger and the welder) and its role in infection control in the modern hospital. More

Marvellous Medical Materials: Stainless Steel - Part One

08-11-17

Marvellous Medical Materials: Stainless Steel - Part One

In this series of blog posts, Sarah Wilkes (Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at the Institute) gets over-excited about the ways that materials like silicone rubber and silver impact on our health and wellbeing. This post is one of a two-parter that explores the gradual historical domination of stainless steel in surgical tools and medical implants, its health risks and rewards from the point of view of a variety of actors (including the patient undergoing hip replacement, the airplane passenger and the welder) and its role in infection control in the modern hospital. More

Marvellous Medical Material of the Moment: Soap

05-6-17

Marvellous Medical Material of the Moment: Soap

In this series of blog posts Sarah Wilkes, Wellcome Trust research fellow at the Institute, gets over-excited about the ways in which materials like silicone rubber and silver impact on our health and wellbeing. This post takes an in-depth and wide-ranging look at saponaceous substances! More

Curious Matters: HDPE Plastic Waste

02-4-14

Curious Matters: HDPE Plastic Waste

This slightly green tinted, meringue-shaped blob is a sample of HDPE waste material, and is produced during the process of recycling HDPE plastic from used milk bottles into food-grade standard material. More

That’s the stuff
Play

13-3-13

That’s the stuff

"Metals that cry, living concrete and a handcuffed Texan's briefcase: the diversity of the materials we create says a lot about us" This week's New Scientist puts the Materials Library under the microscope. More