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2.3.4. Inventing with Matter


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 2. Simple Science > 2.3. Science and Matter > 2.3.4. Inventing with Matter

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Notice how we categories objects in terms of how they respond to external forces and energies: things can be dense or non-dense, hard or soft, rigid or flexible, brittle or ductile, opaque or transparent, and so on. What are the properties of the materials you are using? How could they be changed? What properties would be more desirable? Use and extend Fig. 2.8 to help this task.

Fig. 2.8 Thinking about matter

When inventing with matter, also think about the forces and energies around your invention, such as light, heat, gravity and magnetism. How do these affect things? How can you change the materials used to eliminate undesirable effects? How materials be used to take advantage of these effects?

A useful viewpoint is often to zoom into the atomic or molecular level and ask what is happening here. How are the bonding relationships changing? What is happening at the surface? Consider the effects between molecules, between atoms and even within atoms. Are electrons being pulled away by electrostatic or electromagnetic effects? Are chemical energies being released or absorbed? What reactions are occurring?

Play with your materials. Having fun is a serious business. Just trying things can lead to surprising results. Use half-formed and even random ideas to see what happens.

Fig. 2.9 Playing with materials


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