Table of Contents
Spring 1998 Technology Today®
- About the Cover
Optical micrograph of a liquid crystal (LC) monomer observed under crossed
polarizers, provides information on orientation and local mechanical properties and how
they may be manipulated. Institute scientists are investigating LC characteristics for use
in new dental materials.
- In Memoriam
Engineers at SwRI have designed and built a unique, virtual-long multiphase flow loop to
study hydrates, ice-like solids that can form in deepwater flow lines, blocking
- Putting the Bite on New Materials
Materials scientists are developing a novel restorative material for use in dental
composites. The material, made from tantalum oxide and silica nanoparticle fillers in a
liquid crystal monomer matrix, retains desirable properties of existing restoratives while
avoiding shortcomings such as susceptibility to shrinking and cracking.
Tracing Engine Wear
Even as an automotive engine is humming smoothly, critical internal parts are slowly
wearing away. To measure this wear accurately and quickly without repeated engine
teardowns, SwRI scientists use calculations based on gamma ray emissions from particles
worn away from engine parts that have been irradiated.
Turning Bullets into Baseballs
Which would you rather have hit you: a baseball projected at 130 miles per hour, or a
0.30-caliber bullet fired from a rifle? While one choice may be uncomfortable, the other
is likely to be deadly. Research into new kinds of body armor, aimed at making bullets
behave more like baseballs, could mean the difference for the wearer between sudden death
or another turn at bat.