Taking its cue from an uninspiring fragment of rusted iron, The Secret Life of Number 8 takes the reader into the heart of a universe in miniature, one that reveals the striking order, complexity, and elegance of the many materials that are part and parcel of everyday life.
Using reader-friendly, non-specialist language the author explains how the structure of a material yields characteristics or properties that we might either usefully exploit or take special care to avoid.
Why, for example, are some materials strong, even super-strong, whereas others pathetically weak? Why are some solids ductile or malleable but others dangerously brittle. How can the low strength of a weak metal like aluminium be strengthened to the degree that it forms the material foundation of modern aviation? Why is it that temperature has a dramatic influence on the properties of everyday plastics? Why do some metals, or metal combinations, annoyingly corrode, whereas others don’t? Answers to these kinds of questions and so many more, will be found in this book.
The Secret Life of Number 8 is richly illustrated throughout. It has more than 120 images and schematics and will appeal to a general readership, to anyone, irrespective of their level of training in science, who is simply curious about why materials behave the way they do.
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