4/04/2007

as if

...you needed another reason to go into materials science. Most of what's posted on CBC relates to electronically interesting carbon-rich goodies, but there is also something to be said for development of mechanically interesting materials.

In materials-oriented research, there is usually some testing involved once the long and painful synthetic part of the project is over. My little corner of the field tends to require some electrochemistry and photostability measurements (after all, you don't want solar cells that can't take the sunlight, do you?), but this is not for everyone. One of my friends has much, much more fun than I do in evaluating how effective his creations are in doing what he designed them to do. He doesn't use CV or AFM or anything else involving a sciency acronym.

He uses sledgehammers and explosives.

Tell me you're not a little jealous. I know I am.

11 comments:

LiquidCarbon said...

One compound to rule them all,
One compound to find them...

milkshake said...

There is the Kast falling-hammer (2kg) test used to determine shock sensitivity of explosives, the parameter given is usualy in centimeters (height from which the hammar impact causes an explosion 50% of the time.

Some weird chemicals are used but the whole explosives/propellant field becomes pretty monotonous after while, there is only so much that one can do with nitros and aminos and most of it was found already.

Friend of mine is chemically derivatizing nanodiamonds that are made made by blowing kilo-sized TNT charges in vats of water...

Ψ*Ψ said...

Oh, he isn't making explosives. He's making nice happy carbon-based things like (most of) the rest of us...and then trying to see if he can blow them up.
Naturally, he is a nice guy and a fairly mellow person. After all, there is a built-in outlet for any work-related stress.

kiwi said...

how much, and where do i pay?

milkshake said...

I think photovoltaics made from organic materials will have this problem with long-term stability unles you base them on something incredibly stable like phtalocyanines.

Matt Jenks said...

I can't really speak for anyone else, but God knows there are times when I certainly want to chase after my reactions with sledgehammers.

Ψ*Ψ said...

Milkshake: Yeah, there is a stability problem. I wonder how much of that would go away if someone could build a better PEDOT.

Excimer said...

milkshake & Ψ*Ψ: I'm working on it, sheesh, simmer down.

Uncle Al said...

Blow a charge in an open field and it goes "boom!" Stack a 1000 ft^3 cube of firefighting foam around it and it goes "pfft." Ammo bunkers with water sealed in sheets of plastic ravioli in partitions do not propagate. Monomer with lots of Aerosil-OT dipersed water and polymerized makes curious explosion barriers. A water-dispersed matrix with great elongation to failure would be an interesting energy dump - but rubbery stuff is permeable to water vapor.

OTOH, launching first with a laser gunsight is good. The President's Analyst. Godfrey Cambridge's character was a happy camper. His job was to kill people.

Amanda said...

I've only used a sledgehammer once in lab (stupidly attempting to get a solidified reagent out of the bottle), and it sure wasn't very glamorous--the whole thing ended with a shattered bottle and no more reagent.

PS: thanks for linking me :o)

Gaussling said...

The problem with do-it-yourself explosives hammer testing is that you don't get the best data points. Ultimately, you need to know if static discharge is an issue, or if the compound has a regrettable tendancy toward the deflagration to detonation transition. You need to know if the compound can undergo a runaway exotherm and at what temperature the onset occurs. There are a variety of sensitivity tests beyond the BOM test. There are a lot of factors that only calorimetry can sort out. Explosives guys talk about the 3 C's- configuration, composition, and confinement. But it sounds like the person in question is using explosive energy synthetically. How fun.