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5 Strangest Materials

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the you-too-can-be-a-jesus-lizard dept.

Education 196

MattSparkes writes to tell us that NewScientist recently posted a quick look at five interesting materials with some very strange properties. There are liquids you can walk on, liquids that will escape containers by creeping up the sides, and magnetic liquids that can easily show you the shape of magnetic fields. The story also offers video links to display some of more amazing properties described.

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I have one for you (5, Funny)

heauxmeaux (869966) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451668)

I would like to nominate whatever the hell Wonder Bread is made from.

One tiny loaf can turn an entire nation into disgusting bloated sacks of lazy crap.
Truly a mystery of the ages.

Re:I have one for you (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452214)

What about transparent aluminum?

Re:I have one for you (2, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452268)

I would like to nominate whatever the hell Wonder Bread is made from.

I believe that would be high fructose corn syrup. Yes. Mostly high fructose corn syrup.

Moderators!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452334)

MOD PARENT DOWN!

He is unfairly singling out AC's.

Re:Moderators!!! (1)

parasonic (699907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452364)

He is unfairly singling out AC's.
So Anonymous Cowards are made of Wonderbread? Or are you saying that only AC's eat Wonderbread?

Re:Moderators!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452428)

Both.

Re:Moderators!!! (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452442)

It would seem to me like he was making a sharp jab of SATIRE and WIT at people who post AC.

Re:Moderators!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452526)

Actually, no

Re:I have one for you (5, Informative)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452532)

I have a feeling I'm missing a reference to something, but in case I'm not, Wonder Bread isn't that bad. It's 60 calories a slice. 70 is about average for white bread. Most whole wheat breads are around 90. The best you can buy around here is 35, and it tastes like recycled toilet paper that came out too moist and delicious so they ran a hairdryer over it for a week. If you're trying to be less of one of those bloated lazy crap sacks, switching to Wonder Bread isn't a bad place to start.

Re:I have one for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452810)

60 empty calories made from refined sugars and saw dust. The quality of the food is more important than the number of calories it has.

Re:I have one for you (2, Insightful)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453082)

Absolutely. Unless you're trying to stop the "bloated, lazy crap"-ness mentioned. Unless that was literal bloating and non-fatness-related laziness. Since it was country-wide in scope and water-retention is hardly a national epidemic, I assume the OP meant, "it makes you fat." In which case, 99% of the time, the only number you need to worry about is calories.

Re:I have one for you (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452858)

I prefer real bread to any "white" bread. Rye, sour dough, French bread. ect.. "white" bread feels like I'm eating peanut butter without the peanuts after a few chews.

Re:I have one for you (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452940)

I'm scared of foods that mold won't grow on. It's just not right.

Finally an answer! (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451684)

I always wondered why I kept sliding out of the bath.
Now I know its just because my atoms all have the same quantum state.

Hammer, Feather, Freefall on the Moon: Revisited (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17451906)

"Fall heavy towards the moon, and the moon falls also towards you." -- Nietzsche

Hammer and feather are dropped simultaneously from equal heights (as measured by distance from the center of the moon), separated laterally by a distance substantially less than the moon's diameter. Both hammer and feather experience force from the moon's gravity proportional to their mass, and hence both accelerate at the same rate. Meanwhile, the moon is also accelerating towards the other two objects, but unevenly so: the hammer exerts a greater gravitational pull due to its greater mass. The moon is therefore subject to a torque, causing it to accelerate more rapidly towards the hammer.

The hammer is first to hit the ground.

Anyone who denies this truth is a spatially absolutist lunocentric whose refusal to recognize the validity of hammer/feather mechanics places him wholly beyond the help of Galilean metaphysics. Such hammer/feather rejectionists ought to be banished to the stars, for their own good and for the good of not only hammers and feathers but all subjugated smaller objects, everywhere, who find themselves victims of this scientifically perpetrated emassculation.

--
a756f345ec354225c08ff1a10a43162a

Re:Hammer, Feather, Freefall on the Moon: Revisite (2, Interesting)

Mattcelt (454751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452156)

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I can't tell if your post is hyperbole or not.

So straight up - does the hammer really hit the ground first? Replacing the hammer and feather with larger bodies - say, one (as the hammer's stand-in) which is the same mass as the moon, and the other (the feather's double) which is 1/10th the mass of the moon, it seems obvious that the more massive body will impact first, as it does have a significantly larger bearing on the moon.

...HOWEVER...

Does the hammer's insignificant size relative to the moon negate any realistic gravitational influence it may have? Or for that matter, does the term 'significantly larger' really apply to the hammer and feather?

I think the 3-body dynamics may be so small at that scale as to be nearly nullified - I would suspect that the gravitational pull of the hammer on the moon would move it less than the diameter of an atom required to change the timing of the impact of the two objects. [Unless one is counting the impact of the electron shells prior to the impact of the nucleus, in which case I suspect the preponderance of heavier (atomic weight-wise) elements in the hammer, with correspondingly more electrons, necessitating population of the "larger" d- or f-shells, would be first. But again, it's not the gravitational influence of the mass of the hammer that would be the deciding factor...]

So.... anybody care to do the math?

Re:Hammer, Feather, Freefall on the Moon: Revisite (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452228)

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I can't tell if your post is hyperbole or not.

The hammer would hit first assuming that the relevent section of the moon was perfectly spherical, but the effect is so miniscule that I doubt you could detect it with existing measuring devices. The effect would be largest when the hammer and feather are dropped from opposite sides of the moon (the hammer would pull the moon away from the feather, if they were close by they would both pull the moon towards the other but unevenly so). Certainly there's no way Gallileo would have been able to see a difference. Had he, you know, been on the moon dropping feathers and hammers.

Re:Hammer, Feather, Freefall on the Moon: Revisite (2, Informative)

Mattcelt (454751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452336)

That's ok, David Scott did it for him:
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a15/a15.clsout3.html [nasa.gov]

So what you're saying is while there's a theoretical difference between the impact timings, the practical effect likely couldn't be measured. Makes sense.

Re:Hammer, Feather, Freefall on the Moon: Revisite (4, Funny)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452904)

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I can't tell if your post is hyperbole or not.

This is Slashdot. He was probably being completely serious.

Re:Hammer, Feather, Freefall on the Moon: Revisite (1)

JeffAMcGee (950264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452416)

I've seen this comment somewhere [slashdot.org] before [slashdot.org] . Although this comment is interesting, it is off-topic and redundant.

Re:Hammer, Feather, Freefall on the Moon: Revisite (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452926)

funny you mention that, i googled the GP's sig, out of curiosity, and the only two hits were the threads in your links...

Re:Hammer, Feather, Freefall on the Moon: Revisite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452612)

I could have sworn I have read this same exact post in the past.

Not relevant to my life (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17451740)

Doesn't answer the question why my bank account is always drained.

Re:Not relevant to my life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452372)

If you have to ask you're never gonna find out.

Magnetic Fluid (5, Informative)

sporkme (983186) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451766)

4. Ferrofluids - magnetic fluids that can look spectacular. They're made from nanoscale magnetic particles suspended in a liquid. The spectacular sculpture in the video below is made using a ferrofluid and electromagnets.
You can get this stuff from United Nuclear [unitednuclear.com] (about 2/3 of the way down the page, sorry no anchors), as well as some fun looking "super magnets" and some radioactive ores.

When I read about the fluid that can flow up the sides of a container, all I could think about was THE BLOB!

Re:Magnetic Fluid (5, Funny)

barry99705 (895337) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452368)

DO NOT!!! Put one of those magnets within two feet of the bottle of ferro fluid while the lid is off. That stuff stains paint, on the ceiling....

Re:Magnetic Fluid (1)

jobsagoodun (669748) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452380)

Wow, great link. Some of those really big magnets, the ones that say "THESE ARE DEFINATELY ___NOT___ TOYS DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE SAME ROOM AS ANY OTHER MAGNETS" look like absolutley fabulous toys!!

why are the only interesting materials only fluids (1)

The_Rook (136658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452530)

united nuclear also makes aerogel. that's an interesting material and it's a solid

http://www.unitednuclear.com/aerogel.htm [unitednuclear.com]

Re:why are the only interesting materials only flu (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452980)

Dry ice is not a fluid.

Re:why are the only interesting materials only flu (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453436)

They don't make it, they sell it. The guy that runs United Nuclear works at Los Alamos, and has for years, and has contacts that get him some scraps that he can sell.

Re:Magnetic Fluid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452838)

There is also fluid that changes from liquid to solid in magnetic field and vice versa (according to certain university course). It can be liquid in a cup and can be pulled out with magnet as a solid piece. Do anyone know name of that stuff?

Dry Ice doesn' freeze at -78C (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17451772)

You can make a cold solution of dry ice and acetone at -78. You can also make one at -100 using dry ice and ether.

Re:Dry Ice doesn' freeze at -78C (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17451822)

And you can make a solution of water and sodium chloride at -9c, does that mean water doesn't freeze at 0c?

Re:Dry Ice doesn' freeze at -78C (1)

presentt (863462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452494)

Water, as any liquid, only freezes at 0c at 1 atmosphere of pressure and no dissolved contaminants. For every ion in a dissolved compound (for example, sodium chloride consists of Na+ and Cl- when dissolved. This makes it have what is called a "van't Hoff factor" of 2.), the freezing point of the solvent drops. The actual depression is a function of the solvent's heat of fusion and freezing point under 1atm of pressure, as well as the concentration of the solute and its van't Hoff factor. This is why we salt roads in the winter.

Also, substances may freeze at substantially lower temperatures than normal if there is nearly perfect purity, due to a phenomenon known as nucleation [wikipedia.org] . The substance's molecules need some form of particle to act as a "seed" to start forming crystals on.

Superfluid temperatures (4, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451812)

According to TFA, "To make a superfluid you must cool helium down to a couple of a degrees below zero - not one to try at home."

Now I'm no physicist, but I'm pretty sure a couple of degrees below absolute zero isn't possible, and on any other scale I can think of, it's a bit warm for superfluids. I guess he meant "above zero", although a unit would still have been useful. Funnily enough, I was just bitching [slashdot.org] about scientific faux pas in the mainstream media, but New Scientist?

Re:Superfluid temperatures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17451832)

...or maybe, just maybe, it's hyperbole?

Re:Superfluid temperatures (2)

Mursk (928595) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451954)

A quick Google search reveals that Helium acts as a superfluid at a temperature of ~5 K, so the most likely explanation is that the author did, in fact, mean a few degrees above (absolute) zero.

Re:Superfluid temperatures (3, Informative)

shimage (954282) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452538)

My recollection was that it (the HeI/HeII phase transition) was in the neighborhood of 2.2 K. Now, you can say, "that's pretty close to 5 K", but keep in mind that at 1 atm, the boiling point is just over 4 K, so 0–5 K covers all of hydrogen's interesting low-T behavior.

Re:Superfluid temperatures (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452674)

Sorry, I just read "Hell phase transition" and wondered if someone had finally advanced current thinking [snopes.com] on the physics of the supernatural...

Re:Superfluid temperatures (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451882)

"Absolute" isnt a very good assumption when lacking a scale. As for what scale:

"First one, then the other."

Re:Superfluid temperatures (2, Insightful)

TheManifold (844766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451930)

Did you know that the Editor of New Scientist is a biologist?

Food for thought.

Re:Superfluid temperatures (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452000)

It's worth noting that this is a blog entry, not an edited article. Hence the blatant error.

Re:Superfluid temperatures (2, Informative)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452578)

It is possible to have negative temperatures under certain circumstances, using the thermodynamic definition of temperature, but these negative temperatures are actually hotter than any positive temperature. (Positive) absolute zero is still the coldest something can be, while negative absolute zero is the hottest anything can possibly be. Negative temperatures are only possible in a system where the number of quantum states available decreases as energy is added to the system.

Re:Superfluid temperatures (2, Informative)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453076)

Funnily enough, I was just bitching about scientific faux pas in the mainstream media, but New Scientist?
Dude, have you seen New Scientist lately? Their cover story a few months ago was a levitation device for flying cars. Which would have been great, if the basic operating principle weren't one that could have been debunked by a sharp high school student. Lo, behold the mighty EmDrive [wikipedia.org] .

New Scientist's response [newscientist.com] is just embarrasing. From editor Jeremy Webb (emphasis added):

"It is a fair criticism that New Scientist did not make clear enough how controversial Roger Shawyer's engine is. We should have made more explicit where it apparently contravenes the laws of nature and reported that several physicists declined to comment on the device because they thought it too contentious.

But should New Scientist should have covered this story at all? The answer is a resounding yes..."

New Scientist is fun to read, but it's definitely not a good idea to mistake it as a source of solid science reporting.

Does it include the ever mysterious ethyl alcohol (5, Funny)

HMC CS Major (540987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451842)

The simple liquid capable of making clothes come off, cars swerve, and random impregnation?

Does it include the ever mysterious insertion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17451950)

Silly poster. When was the last time you've seen a pregnant bottle of beer?

Re:Does it include the ever mysterious insertion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452790)

I've seen what can be done with beer bottles on the usenet. Never underestimate drunk chicks.

Re:Does it include the ever mysterious ethyl alcoh (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17451960)

Funny you should say that as I read this today:

"...Yesterday, government scientists suggested that men should take a look at their beer consumption, considering the results of a recent analysis that revealed the presence of female hormones in beer. The theory is that drinking beer makes men turn into women. To test the finding, 100 men were fed 6 pints of beer each. It was then observed that 100% of the men gained weight, talked excessively without making sense, became overly emotional, couldn't drive, failed to think rationally, argued over nothing, and refused to apologize when wrong. No further testing is planned..."

Re:Does it include the ever mysterious ethyl alcoh (2, Funny)

Landshark17 (807664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453162)

We're doing plenty of casual studies on it at my college.

What? (1)

Swimport (1034164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451870)

What no flubber?

I got it. So I've got to ask: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452048)

Didn't I see you at the rollout of the first wheel?

Safe to drink? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17451878)

I wonder which are safe to drink?

What? no mention of silly putty!? (1)

Mc_Anthony (181237) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451908)

You insensitive clods.

Re:What? no mention of silly putty!? (2, Informative)

palndrumm (416336) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452004)

From TFA:
1. Dilatants - fluids that get more solid when stressed.

That pretty much covers silly putty, doesn't it?

Re:What? no mention of silly putty!? (4, Informative)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452286)

Actually, no; Silly Putty expands when stressed, it doesn't get more solid.

I've always known dilatants as Newtonian Solids (for instance, cornstarch mixed with water, which you can sink your hand into, but which can also withstand the force of a sledgehammer [as can your hand if it's submersed at the time]).

You want Smart Mass (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452460)

Thinkgeek sells putty called Smart Mass which solidifies when you apply force.

Re:What? no mention of silly putty!? (2, Informative)

Foehg (48006) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453308)

I believe you mean 'non-Newtonian'.

Oh, and "Slow down, cowboy!"

So Did Jesus walk on water using cornstarch? (1, Interesting)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451942)

It was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the demo of the people running over the water like that...

Re:So Did Jesus walk on water using cornstarch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452114)

at the time corn only existed in the Americas.

so, no.

Re:So Did Jesus walk on water using cornstarch? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452120)

No, he walked on ice. Do a Google search about it.

Re:So Did Jesus walk on water using cornstarch? (1)

really? (199452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452270)

Of course. Well, except for the fact that corn was no known in the old world at the time of JC's walkabouts.

Re:So Did Jesus walk on water using cornstarch? (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452328)

Well, except for the fact that corn was no known in the old world at the time of JC's walkabouts.

That's why it's a miracle.

"There are liquids you can walk on..." (5, Funny)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451958)

Really? Jesus!

<sorry - had to do it.>

What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17451990)

...the liquids used to put out the flames coming from a slashdotted server?

Slashdotted (4, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17451992)

Unfortunately, it does not include the mysterious liquid that prevents servers from being slashdotted.

Coral cache link [nyud.net]

Re:Slashdotted (1)

slothman32 (629113) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453234)

I looked for the "slashdotted" tag and found none so I checked.
Regardless, or irregardlesslyfulness if you want, it worked for me.
How good is "newscientist" against /.ing?

Dry Ice (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452072)

Last of all, perhaps the best thing is that it's not that hard to get hold of - search online and you'll see.

Forget going online. Chances are you can pick it up at your local grocery store. It's been a mainstay at Halloween parties for years: Punch bowl + block of dry ice = foggy punch.

Re:Dry Ice (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452290)

It's also used to ship perishables. I ordered some sticky buns from pepperidge farms - bake and eat type - and they came in a styrofoam cooler (recycled) with a big chunk of dry ice (played with in the driveway - muddy puddles look pretty amazingly gross with dry ice in them.)

Yes but can they change shape into Robert Patrick (3, Funny)

spaceramblings (1046582) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452078)

and go looking for 'that boy'?

My keyboard (1)

MrWa (144753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452090)

I notice they didn't mention the goop left on my keyboard after I'm gone from home for long weekend. My roommate doesn't seem to know what it is either...

Market potential for auxetic materials (1)

Pvt_Waldo (459439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452142)

Pull it, make it longer, it gets bigger... Hmm. I think there would be a big market in the sex toy industry for "devices" made from Auxetic materials (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auxetic).

They forgot Aerogel (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452144)

Aerogel [wikipedia.org] is a low-density solid-state material derived from gel in which the liquid component of the gel has been replaced with gas. The result is an extremely low density solid with several remarkable properties, most notably its effectiveness as an insulator. It is nicknamed frozen smoke, solid smoke or blue smoke due to its semi-transparent nature and the way light scatters in the material; however, it feels like extruded polystyrene to the touch.

Number 6 - Elastic fluids (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452164)

They left out elastic fluids, such as a mixture of high molecular weight polyethylene oxide in water. Once the fluid begins to pour out of its container, it will partially empty the container, even if righted. This is the open siphon effect. If while pouring out the fluid, you cut it with scissors, the fluid will snap back into the beaker like a rubber band. This can all be done at room temperature.

What makes this happen is the high molecular weight polyer. The molecules become entangled, and when poured, they pull each other along, resulting in the emptying of the container.

These fluids also exhibit other interesting behaviours, such as the Weissenberg effect, where when rotating rod is placed in the fluid, the fluid climbs up the rod. Also, add some particles (or bubbles), start stirring, then suddently remove the stirring rod, you will see the fluid snap back when it comes to rest.

5 strange materials (2, Funny)

robyannetta (820243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452196)

Alas, Taco Bell was left off the list again, coming in at number six.

Re:5 strange materials (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452246)

Alas, Taco Bell was left off the list again, coming in at number six.

And yet there are seven layers in their burritos. We've accounted for six, but what's the seventh? Please, someone fund this vital research!

One More I would inlcude: Plutonium (3, Interesting)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452244)

Funny note: as i was looking for the thermodynamic properties of plutonium, ebay promised to make me a great offer on it. Seriously, like ice it will expand and get less dense as it drops in temperature. Only, instead of just the one phase change, there are many. Unfortunately, this [llnl.gov] is the best I can find for a phase diagram. In thermo, my prof put up a much nicer one, just trust, the phase diagram is pretty crazy looking.

Re:One More I would inlcude: Plutonium (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452262)

Found one [edpsciences.org] .

Re:One More I would inlcude: Plutonium (4, Informative)

whitehatlurker (867714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452422)

Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] has a nicer version [wikipedia.org] of the same diagram. It appears that only the delta phase (or delta prime phase) exhibits this expansion on cooling phenomena.

Water comes to mind (0, Troll)

G00F (241765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452266)

Now I haven't RTFA yet, but going off just the blurb:

There are liquids you can walk on, liquids that will escape containers by creeping up the sides, and magnetic liquids that can easily show you the shape of magnetic fields.

Funny, how water can be made to do those.
  • Liquids you can walk on: Plenty of small creatures walk on water as a liquid, and so could a human with the right pair of shoes, or moving fast enough.
  • liquids that will escape containers by creeping up the sides: Put a straw in a glass of water, and the water will be higher in the straw. Do it with a smaller/thinner tube.
  • magnetic liquids that can easily show you the shape of magnetic fields: again you can do this with putting things in the water.

Re:Water comes to mind (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452660)

Your first two points have to do with surface tension. TFA is talking about non-newtonian fluids which act like solids when a force is applied. See the video of the guy walking across the lake o' corn starch.

Re:Water comes to mind (3, Interesting)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453048)

Yeah, but water is one of the few (only?) materials whose liquid is denser than its solid and, as a result, freezes from the top down, rather than the bottom up. That's pretty strange, in my book.

It also has one of the highest specific heats of any material. (Highest of any common material.)

I love stuff like this! (2, Funny)

markbt73 (1032962) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452306)

When I was a kid I had a book called "Scientific Experiments You Can Eat." I seem to remember there being something like the "Oobleck" in there.

I'd love to try it out, but I get the feeling my wife would kill me if I started cooking up stuff like that in the kitchen...

Negative IOR? (1)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452308)

How about a material that has a negative index of refraction?

It only works for energy with a wavelength of a few meters right now, but weird shit none the less.

http://www.las.iastate.edu/newnews/soukoulis0324.s html [iastate.edu]

Re:Negative IOR? (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452682)

funny- I had a physics class with that guy. Interesting to see him pop up here!

Re:Negative IOR? (1)

CorSci81 (1007499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452690)

I'm amused by your choice of link. That's the man who taught me introductory physics as an undergraduate. Brilliant researcher, horrible lecturer.

Re:Negative IOR? (1)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453226)

Agreed on both counts. I hope I don't have to deal with him again in a classroom.

Try this at home - if... (4, Interesting)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452324)

... you have to mix the non-newtonian fluid pretty accurately - too thin and it won't support you, too thick and it's trivial... you'll notice they have a stirrer of some sort in the pool video - this is important - this stuff can settle in short time so you end up with mostly water above and mostly cornstarch below. Jearl Walker once lept over tables into a feed trough full of this stufff on his show. He didn't splash a drop. He did, however lose his balance, and tipped the whole thing which slowly flowed into the audience...

And they mention conrflour - I'd stick with cornstarch. One time going France and Hungary to teach science, I figured I'd forego the big containers of white powder on the international flights... and getting to Nice, I found that you can only buy boxes of cornflour, not boxes of cornstarch in French grocery stores. You could get sugar-packet sized envelopes of it, which were labeled in French with something I could not read but I imagine said "You are in France. We are famous of our sauces. If you need cornstarch to make a sauce, then go away!."

Re:Try this at home - if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452982)

If I'm not mistaken, cornflour == cornstarch.

the hell if I'm ever (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453336)

eating corn bread out of your kitchen.

Re:Try this at home - if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453096)

And they mention conrflour - I'd stick with cornstarch..
What Americans call cornstarch the British call cornflour. I don't know what the French would call it, but if you were reading an English translation on a French box, it probably was British English.

What about aerogel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452338)

What about aerogel?

Re:What about aerogel? (0)

runlevel 5 (977409) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452480)

Aerogel [wikipedia.org] is solid. All the materials in the article are fluids.

Aerogel (1, Redundant)

Coppit (2441) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452568)

I always thought aerogel [wikipedia.org] was some pretty cool stuff. If you insulated your house with it, you would only need one candle to keep the entire house warm. :)

Ummm... (4, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452862)

LSD is a pretty strange material.

Hey! Who moved the submit button? And what are all these ponies doing here?

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453080)

OMG! Ponies!!!!!

A liquid you can walk on.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452948)

It's called Glass.

Liquid Metacrystal Displays (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453160)

What about LCDs of metamaterial [wikipedia.org] crystals? Any way to use their refraction for multidimensional, or just higher efficiency, light modulation? What about a liquid metamaterial suspending optically normal crystals?

Re:Liquid Metacrystal Displays (1)

dweebzilla (871704) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453274)

What about - Donald Trump's Hair

More than five things... (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453288)

Even common, everyday stuff can have interesting properties. You can suspend liquid oxygen in a strong magnetic field, for instance, because it's a paramagnetic element. Of course, one could argue that _liquid_ oxygen isn't really an everyday material.
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