From Wood to Steel
Properties of Materials

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Rick Joy, an architect based in Tucson, Arizona, owes his reputation to his innovative residential designs, which respond gracefully to their desert environment. Joy exploits natural and passive energy-saving techniques and unusual materials, such as rammed earth and rusting steel, to create striking architectural solutions for living in a hot,…
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Study the engineering materials available in classical antiquity. First look at the simple physics of compression and tension. Then consider six specific materials: stone, wood, clay, copper, bronze, and iron. Examine how they came into use and how their properties influenced the design of technological systems.
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Structures are heavily influenced by the loads they're designed to carry. First, take a closer look at the most important loads structures must resist, including traffic loads and earthquake loads. Then, using the historic iron building at Watervliet Arsenal in New York, analyze how loads are actually transmitted through structural…
Out of Many, One: Composites
Episode 23 of The Nature of Matter
When different materials combine to create something very unlike its individual components, you have a composite. Learn what gives composites superior properties. Explore a wide range of examples, including concrete, carbon fiber, fiberglass, Kevlar, automobile tires, carbon nanotubes, and aerogel.
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Man walks, drives and rides on it. He lands his aircraft on it. He uses it to cross rivers or go through mountains, he builds his playgrounds, offices, homes and factories...his schools, universities, churches and almost everything he needs - right down to swimming pools and garden gnomes. It is…
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Filmed at an international conference of prominent architects and engineers at Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture in September 2007. After its role in the last century's call to a radical new architecture and urban life, glass architecture is today more ubiquitous than ever. A highly engineered product, glass has…
Understanding the World's Greatest Structures - Science and Innovation from Antiquity to Modernity Course
The Giza pyramids. Brunelleschi's dome. The Brooklyn Bridge. Each of these structures is iconic. They are visited by millions of people each year because they provoke a sense of awe and wonder. They are as beautiful to behold as they are fascinating to study: just how did the engineers who…