MIT reports that the source of concrete's strength and durability lies in the organization of its nanoparticles. The discovery could one day lead to a major reduction in carbon dioxide emissions during manufacturing.
A keen sensitivity to their environment allows venus flytraps to ensnare their insect meals. Gently graze their trigger hairs, and the carnivorous plants will clamp together their jawlike leaves. Such responsive behavior, which is intrinsic to natural systems, is becoming a key requirement for advanced artificial materials and devices, presenting a substantial scientific and engineering challenge. Materials scientists have now managed to replicate this acute environmental sensitivity on the nanometer scale.