090805 - Chapter 1 Age of Materials When nature finishes to...

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Chapter 1 Age of Materials When nature finishes to produce its own species, man begins using natural things in harmony with this very nature to create an infinity of species . Leonardo da Vinci Age of Materials Human civilizations are often divided into ages according to the materials that dominate in the society. For example, in the Stone Age, when the tools were largely made of stones, people used those simple stone tools to improve their life style and advanced their civilization. In the Bronze Age, when most tools were made of bronze, so that a number of technological innovations were fostered and eventually altered the landscape of the civilization that made the Stone Age obsolete. Into the Iron Age, when the processing of iron was discovered and the society advanced tremendously. Many new tools were built, so that rapid and farther transportation becomes possible. People then explored many lands and seas, otherwise unreachable before. We have entered the modern materials age, the “Plastic Age” in last half of the 20 th century, the “Silicon Age” in the last quarter of the 20 th century and continue to this day. These new materials have fundamentally transformed our life style forever and made a vast world into a globe village. What kinds of materials lie ahead in the future? It is believed that the “Designed Materials” through building from the bottom-up at the molecular scale combining all elements in predetermined manner, will likely play a key role in constructing and processing the future composite and integrated materials. This will be achieved both through discovering the nature’s designs that have been evolved from eons of selection, and through knowledge-based designs. These materials will again undoubtedly transform our civilization, as we know it today. These new materials will be the foundation for the future generations of “Designed Materials Age”. The “Designed Materials Age” requires new knowledge to build advanced materials. It not only requires fully understand the individual building blocks, but also deep knowledge of the simple construction motifs. It is from simplicity to complexity. 1
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Much like the constructions of the Pantheon of Athens, Forbidden City of Beijing, St. Peter’s Cathedral of Rome, The Dome of Florence, the Tower of London and the Norte Dame of Paris, the “Designed Material Age” needs the basic building blocks and construction motifs. These building blocks and motifs are at the atomic and molecular scale. In the alphabet, 26 simple letters can be made into countless words that can in turn string into beautiful phrases, which can be used to construct into increasingly complex paragraphs, chapters and eventually, books and volumes of books. In nature, through billions of years of prebiotic and molecular selection and
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This note was uploaded on 11/11/2011 for the course BIO 20.410j taught by Professor Rogerd.kamm during the Spring '03 term at MIT.

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090805 - Chapter 1 Age of Materials When nature finishes to...

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