Materials Science and Engineering Videos

Below are all of the videos produced by or about our department that we've mentioned throughout this section of the web site and addidional videos from past news stories, as well as the other great materials videos we've recommended. Please note that not all of our department's videos have sound.

Materials YouTube ChannelYou can also watch these videos on our YouTube channel, materialsatumd. If you attend one of our undegraduate Visit Maryland Days or a Materials Science Open House, you can see and try the demos in person!


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Can't watch Flash video?

Where available, we've also provided links to our videos in QuickTime (.mov) or Windows Media (.wmv) format below. They will open in a new window. You will need a viewer such as the Apple QuickTime Player or the Windows Media Player (both free) to watch them. We recommend a DSL connection or higher for viewing. If a movie does not play in your browser when you click its link, right-click or control-click to download and save it.

Researchers Make Wood Stronger Than Steel

MSE Professor Liangbing Hu, in collaboration with UMD Mechanical Engineering Professor Teng Li, have created a wood-based material that is even more durable than steel. Watch this Voice of American report to learn more!

Energy and Sustainability Innovations at the University of Maryland

MSE professors Liangbing Hu and Eric Wachsman are among the stars of this video about enery research and innovation at the Clark School. Wachsman introduces us to his Redox solide oxide fuel cell, while Professor Hu talks about his battery made of wood. The video also highlights the Clark School's energy-related entrepreneurship programs for both undergraduate and graduate students that support the development of new products and companies.

A Battery Made of Wood?

MSE and University of Maryland Energy Research Center professor Liangbing Hu's group say a sliver of wood coated with tin could make a tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly battery. Group member Dr. Hongli Zhu explains.

Video courtesy of the Maryland NanoCenter.
This video is not available in other formats.

How Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Work

Most people are unaware that there are two kinds of fuel cells. The one in the public eye, the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell, uses hydrogen to generate power. But solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), have some advantages over their PEM-based siblings.In this video produced by the Clark School's Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), MSE professor Eric Wachsman, director of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center, discusses how solid oxide fuel cells work.

Video courtesy of Mtech.
This video is not available in other formats.

A Career of Advances in Fuel Cells

Get a look inside the University of Maryland Energy Research Center as Professor Wachsman tells the story of his solid oxide fuell cells in more detail, including the economic, political and societal challenges to making fuel cells part of our daily lives.

Video courtesy of Mtech.
This video is not available in other formats.

NaMnO2 Dense Battery Electrode FIB-SEM Reconstruction

Images were taken on the FEI Helios Nanolab 650 at the CNST NanoFab. CNST is the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).

The largest dimension is just 26 microns and the video shows how we can generate a three-dimensional volumetric model from a series of two-dimensional images. After alignment and segmentation, the red surface model can be used to calculate values such as total surface area, total volume, and average particle size. We can also apply a thinning algorithm to generate a skeleton model of the interior structure, which is colored here by a normalized thickness (red and yellow parts represent thicker segments).

Video courtesy of MSE graduate student JoshuaTaillon.
This video is not available in other formats.

Pearls on a String: Tiny Silicon Beads to Advance Battery Technology

Tiny beads of silicon, grown on a tube a hundred thousand times thinner than a piece of paper, could store up to ten times more lithium than graphite, a component of many commercial batteries. Department of Materials Science and Engineering graduate student Khim Karki, a co-author on a recently published paper about the technology, explains.

Video courtesy of the Maryland NanoCenter.
This video is not available in other formats.

MSE at UMD: Solving Society's Great Problems

This video about the Clark School's Department of Materials Science and Engineering premiered at the 2012 Materials Research Society's Fall Meeting & Exhibit. In it, students and faculty discuss their research and how it can make the word a better place, and take us inside their labs and facilities.

This video is not available in other formats.

Silver Saver: Nanotechnology Keeps the Shine on Silver

MSE Professor Ray Phaneuf and his team have joined forces with conservation scientists at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Md. to create nanometers-thick, metal oxide films which, when applied to silver artifacts, are both transparent and optimized to reduce the rate of silver corrosion and tarnish. The National Science Foundation, which funds the project, sent their Science Nation news team on location to cover the story. You can also read our original press release about the project.

Silver Saver (.mov, 29.6MB)
Video courtesy of the National Science Foundation.


2013 Senior Capstone Design Team Videos

Materials Science and Engineering students at the A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland take a capstone design course in their senior year, in which they use everything they have learned to design and create a product or process with potential real-world applications. Our four Spring 2013 teams produced the following videos about their projects. In addition to the video, you can also read our story about their projects.

Team Dendrimer: "Biomedical Implant Corrosion Passivation Using PAMAM Dendrimer Films"

This video is not available in other formats.

Team Dramastic: "Designing An η-Cu6Sn5 Alloy Anode for Sodium Ion Batteries"

This video is not available in other formats.

Team H2: "Economical Photocatalytic Water Splitting Using ZnWO4 and NiOx Catalysts"

This video is not available in other formats.

Team SMP: "Light-Activated Shape Memory Polymers (SMPs): Muscle Actuation for Prosthetics"

This video is not available in other formats.

The 2011 Senior Capstone Design Team: Targeted Alpha Therapy

Materials Science and Engineering students at the A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland take a capstone design course in their senior year, in which they use everything they have learned to design and create a product or process with potential real-world applications. The Spring 2011 Capstone team made this video (in two parts) about their invention, a microfluidic device that would allow healthcare providers to quickly and efficiently administer targeted alpha radiation therapy while lowering hospital and patient costs. In addition to the video, you can also read our story about the project.

Part 1: Team Leader and Research Committee

This video is not available in other formats.

Part 2: Design, Simulation and Analysis

This video is not available in other formats.

Award Funds Development of Solid-State, High Power Lithium-Air Battery

Watch an interview with MSE alumnus and current MSE graduate student Marshall Schroeder (B.S. '10), who was named a 2012 John & Maureen Hendricks Energy Research Fellow. Schroeder discusses his winning research project, "Fabrication of a 3-Dimensional, High Aspect Ratio, All Solid-State Lithium-O2 Battery." In the video, he explains the background and pros and cons of lithium-air batteries, how he intends to improve this technology, the nanofabrication techniques he'll be using, and why he became involved in energy research. You can also read a news story about Schroeder's fellowship.

Video courtesy of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center.
This video is not available in other formats.

Optical Tweezers Animation

This animation shows the stretching and relaxing a single biological molecule using optical tweezers. The top bead is "tweezed" by a laser light and the bottom bead is fixed onto a pipette tip. A biological molecule (e.g. DNA) is tethered between the two beads and can be repeatedly pulled and relaxed, providing mechanical properties of the biomacromolecules at the single molecule level. This method can also provide very useful information about dynamic properties of biomolecules, which can shed light on protein folding, self-assembly, and protein-protein interactions. Animation courtesy of postdoctoral research associate Chenyang Tie, a member of Professor Joonil Seog's Molecular Mechanics and Self-Assembly Laboratory at the University of Maryland.

Optical Tweezers Animation (.mov, 1.4MB)

The 2010 Senior Capstone Design Team: What Goes Into a Final Project?

Materials Science and Engineering students at the A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland take a capstone design course in their senior year. In recent years, they have worked projects including a shape memory alloy, self-healing polymers, carbon nanotubes for organic solar cells, zinc oxide tetrapods for microelectronic sensors—all with interesting potential real-world applications. The graduating class of Spring 2010 made this video to document the stages of development of their project.

These seniors designed a tiny dynamic microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) microphone for use in products like phones, laptops, and hearing aids that does not require a power source for signal generation. The use of electromagnetic induction to translate sound to an electrical signal has been used in macro-scale devices, but has not been created for commercial use at the micro-scale. Learn more about our undergraduate program »

The 2010 Senior Capstone Design Team: Windows Media Video Version (.wmv, 42.1 MB)

Plasma: The 4th State of Matter

Plasma is widely considered to be the fourth state of matter due to its unique properties. Plasma is a gas in which the atoms are ionized, meaning there are free negatively charged electrons and positively charged ions. This collection of charged particles can be controlled by electromagnetic fields and this allows plasmas to be used as a controllable reactive gas. The electronics industry uses this concept to etch very small patterns into silicon to make our modern day devices smaller and more efficient.

This movie was produced by students Bobby Bruce and Michael Sweatt for the 2008 Vid/Terp competition.

Plasma: The 4th State of Matter: Windows Media Video Version (.wmv, 50MB) 
Can also be played in Real, QuickTime installed with the Flip4Mac component, and other players.

Nobody Likes A Noisy Refrigerator!

Thermoelectric devices can produce cooling by using the electrons in semiconductors to carry heat away from an area, not much differently than the way electrons carry a charge along copper wires and in electrochemical cells. Refrigerators using this technology could be made very small, light and portable, and have a fast response time and good temperature stability. They would have no moving parts that degrade with time. Our movie demonstrates the operation of a 1-inch device made with the semiconductor Bi2Te3 that cools a copper plate to more than 20° below room temperature.

Nobody Likes A Noisy Refrigerator: QuickTime Version (.mov, 65MB)

Now You See Me, Now You Don't!

Polymer dispersed liquid crystals (PDLCs) can be applied as a coating to windows and simple displays. PDLCs are made from a mixture of a liquid crystal and a polymer. The polymer is isotropic, meaning its optical properties are always the same—in this particular case, transparent. But the liquid crystal in the coating is anisotropic, meaning its optical properties can change. Initially, the glass appears to be frosted. When an electrical field is applied to the coating, the liquid crystal reacts by realigning its molecular structure to match that of the transparent polymer's, and almost instantly the window becomes clear! (In this movie, the liquid crystals appear to darken as they realign and we see through them, the clear polymer and the glass to the dark background.) PDLCs have been used for privacy, in exhibits, for safety visors used by pilots, and in heads-up displays.

Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystals: QuickTime Version (.mov, 42.1 MB)

Superabsorbant Polymer

Superabsorbent polymers are a special class of polymers called polyelectrolytes that have a charge on the polymer chain that increases the solubility in water. They are generally used in the form of small particles that are crosslinked so they will form gel rather than completely dissolving. The polymer gel absorbs water and the charges along the chain repel each other, stretching out the chain and enhancing the swelling of the gel. Super absorbent polymers can readily absorb 100 times their volume in water! Super absorbant polymers are used in products like disposable diapers, for cleaning up water based environmental spills, and for preventing rain water runoff in agricultural areas.

Superabsorbant Polymer: QuickTime Version (.mov, 19.6MB)

Shape Memory Metal

Shape memory materials display an unusual property of "remembering" the shape they were formed into at high temperature. They experience a solid state phase change, in which atoms are rearranged, but the material remains a solid. If a piece of shape memory metal alloy wire is deformed, for example, it will return to its original state when exposed to the heat of a hair dryer—the heat triggers the "memory" of where the atoms were at the time of its production under similar heat.

Shape Memory Metal: QuickTime Version (.mov, 23.6MB)

Super Strong Magnets

Nd2Fe14B magnets are incredibly strong, easily holding 100-300 times their weight. They allow for the production of smaller, stronger electric motors and higher capacity disk drives. The field of Materials Science and Engineering is constantly trying to improve the properties of advanced materials such as Nd2Fe14B magnets.

Super Strong Magnets: QuickTime Version (.mov, 13MB)

Amorphous Metal

An amorphous metal is an alloy combining elements of differing atomic diameters. The dark grey disk (right) is an amorphous metal formed by combining 5 different atoms together: zirconium, titanium, copper, nickel, and beryllium (Zr41.2Be22.5Ti13.8Cu12.5Ni10.0). The differing atomic diameters and unusual composition prevents the atoms from arranging in a regular crystalline structure. The atoms have no easy way to slip by each other under deformation, resulting in a very hard material. When a steel ball bearing is dropped on the amorphous metal, it does not permanently deform and the ball bounces many times before coming to rest.

Amorphous Metal: QuickTime Version (.mov, 9MB)

"Happy" Ball, "Sad" Ball: Elastic and Energy Absorbing Polymers

These two balls look, but do not behave, in the same way. When dropped, the "happy" ball will bounce while the "sad" one will not. This is because the "happy" ball is made of neoprene, an elastic polymer, and the "sad" ball is made of polynorborene, a polymer material designed to absorb energy. The polynorborene ball absorbs the impact when it hits a surface, causing it to "drop like a stone." Materials like polynorborene could be used in athletic shoes to absorb energy during running or jumping, preventing shock to the foot or leg.

"Happy" Ball, "Sad" Ball: QuickTime Version (.mov, 10MB)

Superconductors and Levitation

A superconductor is a material that has no electrical resistance to current flow. A "high" temperature superconductor exhibits this property at liquid nitrogen temperatures (-321°F /-196°C). An important property of superconducting materials is the ability to repel magnetic fields. Placing a magnet above a superconductor will cause the magnet to levitate. Maglev trains make use of this phenomenon, as they are lifted and propelled forward by a magnetic field, free of friction. We can see this effect by placing a magnet atop a superconductor resting in liquid nitrogen.

See a movie demonstrating levitation using a superconductor (QuickTime .mov, 21MB)

Polymer Chains: Polymer-In-A-Can

Polymers are long chain molecules. Our "polymer-in-a-can" demonstration shows relative size of a polymer chain scaled up to macroscopic dimensions. If an equivalent molecular weight is calculated for the "chain" shown in the movie (assuming a polyethylene molecule), the value is about 80,000 g/mole. This is a relatively low molecular weight polymer and many applications for polyethylene would require a significantly higher molecular weight to attain good mechanical properties.

Polymer Chains: Polymer-In-A-Can: QuickTime Version (.mov, 13.6 MB)

Check out these other great materials videos online!

Weird, Weird Science
John Sizemore offers movies on a variety of topics on his Dailymotion site. His "Zoom Into..." series of videos about materials includes Zoom Into Steel, Zoom Into Brass, Zoom Into Concrete, Zoom Into Aluminium, Zoom Into Plastic, and Zoom Into A Carbon Fiber.

When Things Get Small
"What could a stadium-sized bowl of peanuts, a shrinking elephant, and a crazed hockey player have to do with nanoscience?" Adam Smith and Ivan Schuller from the University of California San Deigo (UCSD) will tell you in this Emmy Award-winning short film.