Invisible Magic

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Invisible Magic

Things invisible! (when in water) Porous Concrete! Sand that cant get wet!

Continuing my trend to post science/tech I find interesting, this time I thought I would post my amazement at some of the materials we have available these days.
Material technology is in many ways the building blocks of other technologies. We can’t make a skyscrapper without construction materials of a certain strength/weight ratio. We cant make a computer without semiconductors. We cant make a telescope without first inventing a glass lens.

Despite lacking a “mechanism” and appearing on the surface to be simple, many materials today are significantly clever and have huge research and effort put into making it. Sometimes they go on to be so casually used we forget that effort used to make them completely (ie, plastics).

Below I list a mix of materials available today that are interesting or appear “magic”.
Mostly I just looked for a interesting video demonstrating a material I knew existed. So some of these are from companies that sale them.

Polymer with identical refractive index to water;

This ones sold as a toy – effectively, it becomes completely invisible when placed in water.


One that got fair coverage already but still cool, is Ventablack, a material that reflects almost no light – even if a lazer is pointed straight at it. This gives the impression of it being a “hole” in space, as its implausibly dark and gives no hint to its shape when looked straight on:

Porous Concrete

Concrete is fairly fixed in our heads as being a pretty solid thing, yet versions exist now where water will pass straight though it.
This is naturally very useful for drainage.


Hydrophobic sand:

Hydrophobic spray on coating:

Hydrophobic materials are essentially ones that repel water.
Liquids will not naturally spread out on them, and rather be governed a lot more by surface tension.
As such they are really weird to look at and water on them seems to act quite unnatural. Pour hydrophobic sand into a liquid and the water forms a bubble around it rather then touching it – remove the sand and its still completely dry.
The benefits of hydrophobic materials, as seen in the second video, are essentially keeping things clean with little to no effort.


That’s it for now, stay tuned for more near future…or current….technology.

Categories Material Tech


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