Silver!!!! Not only is silver cool as a precious metal in bulk, but silver nanoparticles have all sorts of special properties when they are in the size of nano. Silver nanoparticles have antimicrobial property. That means that they can be used to kill bacteria and prevent bacterial growth, for example on medical implants like Amit makes. Silver nanoparticles also absorb and reflect light in special ways. This makes them very good in biosensor applications – where they are used to tell if a certain bacteria or molecule is present in a sample. A solution of silver nanoparticles looks blue or green.
We use silver too in the coating of our beds. The surface covering of the beds we make is impregnated with silver particles to make use of the anti-microbial properties of the metal and make it more resistant to bacteria.
I suppose my other favourite material I’ve come across is called a non-newtonian fluid. You can make some using corn-flour and a small amount of water. Usually fluids become more runny if you apply a sheer force (in other words if you try to push against them), but non-newtonian fluids act the opposite way – if you try to push against them they try to push back. It is a really strange substance to play with – and can be very messy – but you can see some amazing effects with it.
I always get told off by my wife for playing with it while we’re trying to make Sunday lunch (you can use corn flour to thicken sauces and gravy), but I can’t help myself!
I have lots of favourite chemicals and materials daviesI3. 🙂
They used to put mercury inside thermometers. years ago before they realised it was dangerous.
When they broke we used to play with the mercury and watch the liquid metal running around.
We didn’t have many toys, so this was great fun.
Mercury is one of my favourites and it’s the only liquid metal, but it’s a very dangerous substance.