Accelerating material development

Accelerating material development

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, Md., has launched a resource for those using combinatorial approaches to characterize and develop new materials — a collaborative re-search center devoted to advancing new metho

The Meterdrive high-speed, linear-measurement system is for demanding industrial environments.


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, Md., has launched a resource for those using combinatorial approaches to characterize and develop new materials — a collaborative re-search center devoted to advancing new methods that can rapidly accelerate material-development efforts.

In contrast to traditional, "one-at-a-time" testing of properties, combinatorial methods let researchers explore, simultaneously or in rapid sequence, combinations of materials characteristics and formulations on a miniaturized scale. These still-evolving methods help researchers quickly evaluate how variables such as thickness, process temperature, and composition influence a material's performance. With combinatorial tools, they can pinpoint optimal processing conditions, screen for novel properties, and build comprehensive data sets for constructing predictive models.

The NIST Combinatorial Methods Center (NCMC) will concentrate on devising and testing emerging high-throughput approaches to investigate chemical and physical properties, structural features, and processing requirements critical for development of promising new materials.

At the recent NCMC kickoff meeting, NIST materials scientists explained the structure, functions, and capabilities of the new center. The center will develop research tools, data libraries, and methods for efficient storage, retrieval, and use of information to speed materials' characterization. The range of materials the center focuses on is vast — ranging from polymers to biomaterials to inorganic materials.

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