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Materials Monthly

November 2007 explains why the ability to describe and tie knots may open up new worlds in designing innovative materials. Toen Castle has always been fascinated in how the connections that make up a network will affect how that network behaves. He has found that it's possible to produce loops and knots in networks without changing their connectivity. That has mind twisting implications for a range of materials like the tangled diamond. And find out how to make an impossible cube - it's actually not that impossible at all.

In this issue we also talk about an exciting new postgraduate degree being offered by ANU in nuclear science. You might be surprised who's doing it.

Materials Monthly aims to keep you up to date with the lastest materials science and engineering happening in and around ANU. That might be an introduction to a new piece of materials technology or the discussion of a new breakthrough in materials thinking. Materials Monthly also seeks to stimulate thinking on all matters material so we you might find us delving into areas where you might be surprised to find materials science. We regularly talk about the activities of the ANU Art Workshops (School of Arts) and frequently make visits to neighbouring institutions (such as the National Gallery of Australia) where materials science is important.

Materials Monthly was written and edited by David Salt. Any comments on the newsletter can be directed to David at


November - Tying networks into knots, building impossible cubes and becoming a Master of Nuclear Science

October - Reading tree rings and sussing out sponge spicules (plus building bridges to Saudi Arabia).

September - Particle ratchets, the art of Applied Maths, the Lean too table and a facelift for the Instron.

August - HotRot turns organic waste into high grade compost, Christoph Arns computes the flow through porous media.

July - Measuring carbon 14 tells you the age of a material, lead-tin plating provides an innovative superconducting surface and the launch of SATOMGI.

June - Modelling cell walls, unravelling the role of a neuronal gene and timber micrographs.

May - Measuring bubble coalescence in salty solutions and searching for new dielectric ceramic resonators.

April - Cleaning surfaces with ultrafast lasers, characterising new silver alloys and a visit to the materials conservation labs of the Australian War Memorial.

March - Probing the Earth's deep structure with seismology, profiling the Gold and Silversmithing Workshop and multi-point annealing glass ovens.

February - Stamping silicon to change its properties, reSkin workshop and wood-cement composites


December - How to make platinum go further in fuel cells by applying plasma processing, nanotubes in space shielding and black snakes at Kioloa.

November - Lollipops in nanospace, aluminium foam sandwich composites and piezoelectric wood.

October - Understanding chemical bonds in wood resins, innovative table design and multi-point annealing.

September - Measuring iron in silicon wafers, and researching the impact of nanotechnology.

August - Fingerprinting dust and working with free radicals.

June/July - Diffuse diffraction and X-ray crystallography; and using an understanding of dewetting to make micro patterns.

May - Antimatter and materials science, Sliver solar cells.

April - Deciphering fossils using X-ray CT, analysing oxygen ratios on the Moon and rendering volumetric data.

March - Growing nanowires, nanoneedles and micro pyramids.

February - Pure amorphous metal nanoparticles, complex fluids in paper and model airplane composites


November - Cracking in thin films, making sense of complex materials and building a near-perfect rubber.

October - Discover a world of wood.

September - Reading diamond indicator minerals. Greg Yaxley explains how rock fragments brought up in magma can help us find diamonds.

August - Paperclay and materials conservation; minimal surfaces and pigment identification. Maria Kubik is pictured with an imaging system she has developed to non-destructively identify unknown pigments in paintings.



July - packing spheres and exploring disorder; patterned nanotubes. Tomaso Aste (far left) with a bottle of test acrylic balls.

June - currently unavailable

May - stamping fibre metal laminates; textiles workshop. Luke Mosse is pictured to the right with test stampings of two different types of fibre metal laminate.

April - geochronology, zircons and the SHRIMP

March - mixing oil and water; unpacking the inkjet

February - shape memory alloys and materials@ADFA




November - building nanosponges; fabulous micrographs

October - optical tweezers and tiny forces; butterfly tables; wood and microfluidics

September - imaging wood composites; building vocal tubes

August - making carbon nanofoam; more on dung-fired ceramics

July - focussed ion beams and nanophotonics; dung fired ceramics

June - making cell walls; materials and making music

May - mirrors and insulators for solar mirrors

April - interpreting stone artefacts; metallic glass

March - a new dielectric ceramic; a new NMR facility

February - stopping heavy ions; low tech water filters


December - geochemistry solves iceman mystery; glass workshop

November - how fluids move through paper; electronic transport

October - Ticuna car racing; nanoindentation

September - plasma processing; a new Focussed Ion Beam

August - glass blowing workshop; synchrotron meeting

July - laser ablation; the Mt Stromlo fire and materials

June - ultra hard materials for industry; Biomolecular Resource Facility

May - announcing the Australian Materials Technology Network

April - basic water filters for East Timor

March - saddle polyhedra and star blocks; the rapid prototyper

February - stamping metal; advanced manufacturing


December - inaugural winners of the CSEM Prizes

November - metal ions in enzymes; petrophysics at RSES

October - ultra-fast photodetectors; radioactive probe atoms

September - multi-force probe; chemical vapour deposition

August - The machines that ate Acton

July - introducing the CSEM Prizes; supercomputing at ANU

June - atom lasers and Bose-Einstein Condensates; CM300 TEM

May - the 'lifetime' of electrons in silicon wafers, ion beam implantation

April - X-ray computer tomography at Applied Maths

March - the scanning electron microscopy of Roger Heady

February - Beaglehole ellipsometer; mass spectrometry

January - high temperature furnace for earth materials


December - exporting a new micro-crystal spectrometer

November - synchrotron studies at The ANU

October - novel materials from pulsed laser deposition

September - characterising silicon nanocrystals

August - biomaterials - the new frontier of medicine

July - the rise and rise of nanotechnology

June - the rapid prototyper facility

May - boron nitride nanotubes

February - the wood of the dinosaur pine

January - food as a material


November - modelling materials

October - art, science and the art of rapid prototyping

September - CSEM at the ANU Open Day

August - microscopy consortium in the ACT

July - a BSc in materials at ANU