NAS Materials Symposium
October 28, 1985
We are pretty well along with the second half, but what about the goals? That is, the second half of the 20th Century is in place showing the largest action of science and engineering, of research and development so far known in humankind. And it has contained worthy goals, beginning with the defense of freedom, sustaining the barriers against tyranny and the loss of human rights, which we must protect as powerfully now as always.
It has likewise contained goals of understanding of the world, of its inhabitants and of the cosmos in which it turns and translates. Those goals, less extensive and compelling than the ones for justice and security, are nevertheless also intrinsic to humanism.
But it is altogether exciting to find certain endeavors which strongly and steadily are found to bridge, to link, to join the often disparate objectives of understanding nature and assuring gains beyond barbarism and bestiality and deprivation of humankind. Such an activity is the study of matter, the technology of its use. We celebrate now in these Academies the role of materials science and engineering over the half of this half-century. This has become a national goal of the cultivation and application of learning. In this national materials program, knowledge of matter has been augmented by new academic structures and by new connections of government and universities with industry and our national economy.
Further, this enterprise illustrates one of the first, and it is widely believed, one of the best, examples of leadership by the Chief of State in the 20th Century wave of science and engineering. For it was generated by President Eisenhower through his White House Office of Science and Technology and his Science Advisory Committee. Of course, it had basic origins in more diverse places, like the great science faculties of Britain and Germany. They began to see from classical physics and chemistry from the optics of Newton, the ionics of Faraday, the radiation of Rontgen, the atom of Thompson, Asian and Bohrand through the statistics and quantum mechanics of large assemblies of atoms and molecules, that solids and even liquids had some simplicities.
Still other sources were the way some industrial laboratories and some government centers, such as those developing atomic energy, have been able to purify and technically to modify crystals and glasses, so that new public and commercial capabilities were achieved. These range from nuclear energy to transistors and solar cells, to space vehicles and their reentry nosecones and capsules, to synthetic polymers like polyethylenewhich could be adapted to displace metals for the world's cables, and to nylon and its fiber correlates. Other direct materials derivatives include modern telecommunications and computers. But these circumstances, well known to us all, but perhaps not so obvious to generations to come, led to something else. This was a bold surmise, picked up by the White House Science Office in its earliest days. It was that 20th Century science and technology had come to a stage where there should be some fields in which the scientific lure and the scientific luster would be strong enough to stimulate the keenest minds, and to captivate the most creative thoughts, while at the same time the knowledge thus achieved would be immediately and intensely useful for technical, public purpose and commercial needs.
At that time, in the late 1950's, the gulf between academic science and mathematics, as engendered by the great European traditions, and the engineering and technology of an inventive industrial era, was very wide indeed. This was obtained even though the separation was somewhat narrowed in a few war-time urgencies. Moreover, even some of those urgencies, such as the synthetic rubber program supported this bold surmise that materials science and engineering was where fundamental knowledge “for its own sake,” as they say, and the compelling, restless demands of technology and manufacture could indeed be brought together. We found there, in the production of more than 700,000 tons of new molecules within 2 years, that the sometime odd couple could be both complementary and even reinforcing.
But no one had said yet that it should be possible to expand a culture, to modify a tradition, on the basis that an independent pluralistic government of a free nation should be able to stimulate materials research and development by request of the national leadership, and helpful but not exorbitant (indeed, modest) use of Federal funds, such that a new chapter in the creation and use of new knowledge would be achieved. Yet that is what has happened. The COSMAT report of progress, about half-way through this quarter century, showed the profound impact on American and even world resources that the national materials program has had. Later studies, such as the Geballe analysis on behalf of the National Science Foundation, and various related estimates of the intellectual appeal of condensed matter science, have further established that there is now a world-wide conviction. It is that new fundamentals of nature, whose pursuit was so long confined to the atom, the ion, the inside of the particle, the essence of the wave, can now be discerned in condensed matter and in assemblies which are not merely many-bodied, but have essentially unlimited continuity.
Likewise we are seeing that the engineering and manufacture of the products of commerce as well as the systems for national security and public service are gaining crucially from basic findings about matter and its synthesis. So the dreams of President Eisenhower's time are coming true.
And in 1985, when we have returned to old arguments, like whether there should be a single department of science in Washington, and new challenges, when as a debtor nation, we must compete vastly better against the products and innovations of a smartening world, it is wise to have this assembly to probe assessment of how the national materials endeavor is going. This is a welcome occasion to also think about how it got going, as a reference for what we may do in the future. For in this and other fields, we should confer on what we ought to take care about, as we face quite new and unexpected conditions on the planet. Accordingly we report that the experience with the National Materials Program continues to yield insights and outputs applicable to ways we could and should go in the coming decades of pluralistic academic, governmental and industrial science and technology. Illustrative of particular qualities of this program are the way it started, the way it has proceeded, and the assumptions and premises underlying it. Its governmental impetus followed by some years its independent labs origins.
On the basis of a national opportunity for Federal agencies concerned with weapon systems, rocket propulsion, nuclear reactors, space flight and reentry, as well as materials conservation and supply (Interior Department), civilian services and industrial activity (Commerce Department National Bureau of Standards), education and basic science for human resources (National Science Foundation), could participate in a common base of research and development. Conviction of the values of this had already come from the surging growth in solid state science and technology, largely in industrial laboratories from which came the transistor, the solar cell, new polymers, the rudimentary composites (already in 1947 glass fiber-wound rocket cases has been pursued by contractors for the Navy), and through the stirrings of interest in the far horizons of the condensed matter such as through the work of Vigner, Seitz, and Herring in physics and C. P. Smyth in chemistry at Princeton. Seitz's continued emphasis at Carnegie-Mellon and Illinois, and the war-time stimulated interests and expert pedagogy of Slater at M.I.T., and VanVleck at Harvard. So it was not devoted to a single objective or goal, although like a Manhattan Project; GR-5 Program, Apollo, National Cancer Plan, or the like, it assumed that science and engineering could work together in unprecedented intimacy. But further as we shall emphasize presently science and engineering would support each other, as we have already illustrated in the findings of the Cosmat study half way through this quarter century.
Indeed, the procedures of the National Materials Program represented especially, but not by any means mainly or exclusively, in the University Materials Research Laboratories soon to be accounted for by Dr. Lyle Schwartz, have been made of unions untried on this scale before. Yet those united efforts are the basis for the process which we would like to see extended widely in the times ahead. They have united academic and industrial scientists and engineers in joint actions, as foreseen in the modes of the Synthetic Rubber Program. They have united a community of users and makers of materials in industrial factories, government metal contract agencies, especially the Department of Defense, and the whole range of American industry from mining to molding. The program has united teaching and research in extraordinary ways through the interdisciplinary character of the effort. This theme of uniting physics, chemistry, mathematics, mechanics, and other engineering fields in novel forms a task yet incompleted. The materials work has united components and materials engineers with systems and electrical and mechanical engineers in unique ways. Here we have only to recall, as we shall illustrate, that materials science and engineering, whose early expression in the transistor and the solar cell would soon succeeded by satellites, new intercontinental cable systems, aircraft designs involving novel metals and alloys, supports also now super composites, digital computers and switches, and now lightguides and composites for prosthetic parts in the human body, and ceramics for gas turbines. This is all to say that the materials era has dramatically advanced both design and performance engineering in a union unimaginable only a decade or two ago.
So also without exhausting the new alliances of effort and institutions reflected in the program the committees and Academies' staff have generated for this memorable occasion, we submit that MSE is already historic for these new combinations. Then, and most importantly, we find justification for that surmise that partly from these unions, and from the nature of learning, we would see an unprecedented speed of conversion, of scientific discovery, technologic innovation and commercial and public production. This, too, has happened in electronics, now photonics, in rocketry, and major refractory structures made of composites. We hope it will be extending into many other competitive and economically decisive domainsautomobiles, buildings, public facilities…
If this strategy sounds like the prescription we need for regaining primacy in international trade, in technology, in armaments, in learning and in quality of living, we believe that is because it does contain good guidance for the role of science and engineering in those larger and compelling national issues. And if furthermore that sounds a bit presumptive, that's just what is intended. For this is a time in the advance of science and technology when it's got to find its larger values, which involve new ways of thinking and working and of combining our institutions. And that is exactly what we have been fortunate enough in the era of solid state, of materials science and engineering, to do and to be able to assess.
Indeed, there are many dimensions to such a context. On one hand, we respect the frustration of Dr. R. A. Reynolds of the Defense Sciences Office of DARPA in his comments about materials research priorities (Science, Vol. 226, p. 494). He notes sparse funding of Federal research on “growth of critical electronic materials,” and says, “Furthermore, the United States is losing its international competitive edge with respect to the technology base necessary to support materials selfsufficiency in the manufacture of these man-made strategic materials.” In that case, his concerns could have extended even further than semiconductors and integrated circuit ceramic substrates and the like. He expresses pain that he was under the momentary illusion that the recent National Research Council Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Resources report, “Major Facilities for Materials Research and Related Disciplines” didn't bear much on “provision of state of the art materials.” He has accurately perceived that the pervasive part of materials science and engineering in almost all our national and industrial programs does diffuse responsibility, as expected. The new academic centers for high speed integrated circuits, and for the study of quantum well semiconductor systems discovered in industrial laboratories and for novel compositions of organic and ionic qualities, have indicated that major new characterization facilities like synchrotron and neutron radiation sources are needed. But others, mostly in industry, must take responsibility for materials development and leadership that he is properly calling for.
So proper recognition and assignment of broad responsibilities in a community nowadays containing as many unions and partnerships as we have noted, is one of the things that this conference ought to help.
But from another aspect, there is a message one of the most stimulating and critical of many current commentaries about American science and engineering research and development. This book, entitled, “Lost at the Frontier” had as senior author a distinguished materials scientist and engineer, Professor Rustum Roy!
For the original precepts of the national program recognized the need to maintain the specifics of progress in established fields, such as integrated circuits, ceramics, and other materials, as identified for priorities by Dr. Reynolds and DARPA. But it also heeded the larger issues of the Shapley/Roy critique. These authors have recognized astutely that the scientific and technical community, its institutions, including its Academies, and its citizens of the nation, also have wider responsibility to understand, and to act on, a scale of professionalism and intellectual performance concordant with the high calling from the Chief of State, or a supportive nation.
Of course, it is good to have querulous messages such as those of Dr. Reynolds, and we should note many of his materials colleagues throughout the Department of Defense are also saying that more ought to be done. But the issue is, What More? and especially what more that will lift materials science and engineering further and further ahead, into major new roles for national social security and economic advance. For this is what was intended in the White House Initiatives as we shall reiterate.
The National Materials Program was accordingly designed for the performance of science and technology in new ways, in which industrial ingenuity, time-honored disciplines of academic discovery, the urgent and sophisticated technical requirements for national security, the overriding need for human talentsthese and more would be combined for a new 20th Century chapter in progress. The drafters of this program for the President in 1958 already knew that such expectations were justified and reachable. The practical origins of the solid state era had already had major gains from mutual feedback of technology and science in crystal growing purification, semiconductor doping and synthesis and adaptation of polymers as new structural and insulating materials.
For example, the development of high frequency electronics for radar and microwaves had stimulated extensive and critical usage of silicon and germanium point contact diodes, the work of Scaff and his associates and other studies at Purdue and elsewhere, had produced relatively satisfactory materials whose purity and quality could have been further refined by continued detailed pursuit of recognized technology. But the goal of 10 or less of foreign atoms per cubic centimeter in a single crystal was so far outside of that conventional pathway that it was spoken of only with a mixture of awe and humor. However, Bill Pfann sensedand he was a technologist involved in learning science at that very timethat the phase rule worked in all directions. So he achieved both the purity and perfection, opening simultaneously for academic and industrial application, an epoch of purity and regularity in matter not two or three times, but orders of magnitude, better than ever before available. Similarly, this same group had seen in the chemical and petrochemical industry laboratories such as Dupont, Phillips Petroleum, Union Carbide, as well as academic work of Ziegler and Nalte, Morton at M.I.T., Morton at Akron, and others, that when appropriate characterization showed required qualities for polymers, chemical control could achieve those qualities. For instance, by this pathway polyethylene could replace the costly and ecologically sensitive lead, for the cables, supplying electricity and communications around the world.
It should be recalled that these and a few other things were subjects of intense technical development in earlier decades. The new industrial tactic was the combination of science and engineering, the interdisciplinary interactions of mechanics and chemistry, of physics and metallurgy, that caused the change. Pfann's work moved the characteristic content of dislocations in metallic and semimetallic crystal surfaces from about 3J million per square centimeter, down to near zero. And on the way, the mechanical trauma of even 1,000 dislocations per square centimeter could be tracked. Even with the historic purity of less than 1017 carbon atoms per cm3 of silicon, the dislocation- free solid showed more than five times the stress at yield compared to a typical, allegedly pure, specimen.
These and many other signals made clear that mobilization of new national materials effort would impact vast technical capabilities. But we must say, in accord with our themes of these two days, that even in the strength of matter, dominated by dislocation movements, challenge still lies ahead. The current study at the Battelle Institute finds that the fracture of matter and efforts to contain it presently cost the USA no less than $119,000,000,000 per year. Even the appropriate basic categorizations of overload, brittle fracture, ductal rupture, fatigue, creep, creep rupture, stress corrosion, threading fatigue, thermal shock, buckling and delaminations require more specific scientific description than yet applied. Ironically the move toward automated manufacture and robotics processing of materials even accents the ignorance of these factors. And as we may note later, the appropriate control of dislocations may even provide new networks of conductivity and electronic and photonic responses in suitable crystals.
So these are samples of what was in mind. And along with this continuity of signals of need, there are signals of knowledge, perhaps as beckoning and as rich with meaning as those once heralding the solid state and materials endeavors themselves. In polymers we have long known, and technically and scientifically applied, the close coexistence of ordered and disordered phases. Indeed a single chain can indulge in both, and many do. Whole classes of important materials such as the Arnel fiber of Celanese Corporation came from appropriate adjustment of states of order, lateral and longitudinal, in that case in cellulose triacetate. Annealing and heat treatment affecting such order are crucial factors in the performance of nearly all microcrystalline synthetic fibers, plastics and films. However, we have been rightly charmed by the beauty and utility of traditional crystallography, and its immense structural values involving atoms, molecules and ions. And only recently has an appropriate scale of study by computers, and by that large questing that we invoked in the first place, come across the anomalies reported late last yearof aluminum alloys with minor components of manganese, iron and chromium that show an icosahedral structure imputing five-fold symmetry. This, of course, displaces atom groupings from the sacred unit cell behavior. Last July 29, Japanese workers reported in the Physical Review Letters about a nickel-chromium alloy that in electron diffraction by small particles seems to exhibit a twelve-fold symmetry. This they interpreted as a dodecagon, which indeed would conform to an intermediate structure between glass disorder and a regular crystal. Re-examination of what were termed anomalous diffraction patterns of an aluminum-manganese-silicon alloy from our Laboratories seems to be a complementary example, where a unit cell would require thousands of atoms, but currently, can best be interpreted as icosahedral arrays within such “unit cell.” In India, similar icosahedra seem to have been formed in magnesium-zinc-aluminum alloys by rapid cooling. Also there is report of a sheet structure with ten-fold symmetry within the sheet, but a periodic stacking of the sheets themselves. The point is that conventional structure practices are not, as we pointed out in a Welch Conference a few years ago, really sophisticated enough to deal with the growing diversity of materials science and engineering. Fortunately, this is being heeded by theorists such as P. J. Steinhardt and Levine at Penn, (one of the three original Materials Research universities). They have concentrated on the properties of a quasiperiodic translational order, with various degrees of orientational symmetry, leading to a total quasicrystal form such as octagonal orientation symmetry, in one of their recent models. At the National Bureau of Standards, Shechtman and his associates have studied an alloy of aluminum and manganese that seems to show some of this structure.
Further significant examples of important directions in materials science and engineering that deserve pursuit, and that represent the initial concepts of the program, are found in intersections of bioscience with the study of condensed matter. The recent findings of Professor Hans Frauenfelder and his associates at the University of Illinois are interesting examples of this.
The National Materials Program in both its Federal and independent forms, is as far as its known, the first and only example of major scientific frontiers in which the initiation came from technologic and engineering efforts at practice outside of academic centers. Yet these academic centers, as always, have not only provided the basic skills and training for the non-academic work, but continue to generate the organization of knowledge and its validation in ways which will prepare for further discovery. The solid state era, in its semiconductor and magnetic manifestations, and superconductors as well, photonics with the laser, lightguides, extraordinary spectroscopy and circuitry, polymers as plastics, fibers, rubbers, and their growing interplay with the condensed biosystems in living tissueall these came from practical, usually commercially induced, although sometimes government stimulated, ventures in the materials aspects. And as we have said, these materials factors were virtually central to the utility of the technical systems which pervade so much of modern life. Indeed, in the case of polymers and their products, they were the system.
This established an astonishing co-working of the domains of scholarly and academic research and learning, and the energy and integrated resolve of certain industrial laboratories seeking to extend human capabilities. Both are being aided by public policy willing to involve directly in government a wide spectrum of independent citizens. These bring in originality and freshness of organization quite unknown in bureaucratic rigidities of nondemocratic or more traditional governing mechanisms. Among other things, such an evolution of materials science and technology has produced a new minimum of irrelevancies in knowledge.
So we are at a time when the interactions can go even stronger than before, as long as we pick the appropriate mutual goals. There are messages in the findings of H. Bock and R. Dammel at the University of Frankfort in work on pyrolysis of triazidosilane to get C6H5NSi -phenylsilisocyanide. J. Michl and G. Gross at Utah confirm and, in fact, have isolated the linear CNSi group. The familiar but fertile footnote is attributed to Michl: “On warming, the product forms an insoluble polymer.” Such comments about organic residues have marked the progress of macromolecular science and biotechnology. In a very different context other signals are arising. Frauenfelder and E . Shyamsunder at the University of Illinois propose ‘protein quakes,” in which macromolecular mechanical waves dissipate energy from the fission of myoglobin-iron, photochemically cut from carbon monoxide or oxygen molecule. Their postulates of glass-like relaxation converge with the wide spectrum relaxation phenomena in polymers. The latter we identified with the single molecules themselves in ultrahigh frequency shear and compressional studies with Mason decades ago.
That whole arena reminds one further of frontiers in material science and engineering where dynamics are steadily being added to the equilibrium and kinetic qualities already providing so productive links between basic science and materials technology. These findings bear heavily, of course, on the basic behavior of phase change, melting, and the whole gamut of processing qualities. But again the new dimension are striking, and again the interactions of technology, such as the annealing of semiconductor surfaces after ion implantation to restore order as practiced by Soviet and Italian workers in the year since 1977, have induced more scientific accounts of pulsed laser heating. M. Downer, Richard Fork and Charles Shank in our Holmdel Laboratories have been using 80 femtosecond pulses to generate first an electron-hole plasma, which then shifts energy to lattice vibration. This has, in turn, recently been studied by Raman scattering by phonons. Findings indicated more than simple melding and J. VanVechten at IBM, later others, elaborated on the studies as the pulse times got shorter and shorter, below the picosecond range. By the early 1980's, a dozen or more distinguished solid state and materials centers were pursuing this central question of the mechanism of melting. The femtosecond pulse frequency coupled with reflectivity studies currently demonstrates that a fluid is formed even in the presence of the plasma, and altogether new aspects of liquifaction are appearing.
Thus, diverse examples support the conclusion that the 25 years of detailed attention given to materials research and engineering through the articulation of the national program has achieved an unprecedented and unsurpassed interaction of science and technology. This appears in research and development in university and industries, and through conscientious government. Such communion has happened in ways in which we can build for the future, and which other nations, intensifying their competition in traditional forms have nevertheless not adopted. The American record shows the power of the theme in science and engineering for the IDMRL program itself. For even the vastly larger government-industrial organization for materials research and development conducted by the Department of Defense, and to a lesser extent, the Department of Energy and NASA, are still very small compared to the total national commitment, as we noted in the COSMAT report. Yet the objectives and sharing of knowledge from the Federal stimulus are large, and can be larger still. That is the special portent of the national program.
Thus it may be useful to recall the particular conditions of how it was started and what was expected of it. For, above all, the situation now does reflect astonishing vitality. The 1985 fall meeting in early December in Boston, Massachusetts, of the Materials Research Society, has no less than sixteen symposia, each of which, in turn, represents a combination of other scientific society sponsors. The topics range from the fashionable sessions on “Fractal Aspects of Materials,” and including such matters as contribution from UCLA by R. L. Orbach, on electron-fracton interaction, through the sessions on frontiers of materials research and in materials education. As we have said in other connections, the growth and quality of the MRS are themselves testimony to the response of the national materials people and institutions to the call that went out in 1960. New and equivalent calls for scientific and technical achievement could likewise be expected to succeed.
So with the practice we have had with this one, let us finally look at the pertinent features. We should imagine how the next challenges might be phrased, if we shall expect such matters as the high strength composite structures, and the unbreakable ceramics, the continuous surfaces and the incorruptible metallics are to realize their potentials.
The early word was a short paper of March 18, 1958 from the White House Science Office, which reflected the pressing interests of those times. It, too, represented a certain coalition, in this case of the member of the President's Science Advisory Committee, and a member of its staff. There was even a paragraph on facilities, in which a number of items were recognized which cost no less than $20,000 apiece! It was said that both those and buildings have to be supported. And it underscored the need for information centers, which only now are being realized through the new general programs and publications of the MRS, and a few other professional societies, led especially by the American Chemical Society.
At about the same time, in 1958, we had finished a report for the President, called “Strengthening American Science.” It was not submitted to and accepted by him until December of 1958, but its invention of the Federal Council for Science and Technology was already in effect during the latter half of that year. The report itself said, however, that we better have more work on what was still classically known as “metals and materials” - in which we observed care in excluding, hopefully, all of the immaterial! Especially on page 7 of that report we cast doubt on a very fashionable and popular topic of those times, and one which is has arisen repeatedly since. It is the notion of a separate set of institutes for materials science and engineering. Rather the notion of university participation was forcefully injected into the thinking. Then as the main outcome of the report, the Federal Council for Science and Technology, was implemented on March 13th, 1959 by an Executive Order of President Eisenhower. It was first activated just two weeks later, March 27th, 1959 when Dr. James Killian, the new Chairman of the Federal Council for Science and Technology, and the first Special Assistant to the President for those functions, appointed a Coordinating Committee on Materials Research and Development chaired by Dr. John H. Williams, Director of the Division of Research of the Atomic Energy Commission. We pursued the diligent, and by no means silent, doings of that body so that by July 11, 1960 we received official communiqué from the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense (which we had designated as the responsible body) saying that it, “is pleased to inform you that the Department of Defense portion of the Interdisciplinary Laboratory Program has been initiated.”
Much of the operating philosophy, which was then accepted, had been summarized in our letter to Dr. Kelman of June 10, 1960. By July 16th the press had described the designation of the first three members holding contracts for interdisciplinary materials research and development. The New York Times account of this action said, “The process by which this decision was reached illustrates the workings of the policy making machinery builtup in the past few years to coordinate the nation's scientific effort. It also illustrates the time that can elapse between a recognized need and action.” Nevertheless, Cornell, Northwestern University, and the University of Pennsylvania were moving into action. But our files of that time reveal that in his formal notes, President Kennedy had also discussed the onset National Materials Program in the fall of 1961, when he appeared in Chapel Hill at the University of North Carolina.
All of these documents emphasize not only the multi-specialty, of what we may call polybasic research features, but also a particular ethos of the National Materials Program. Some of this is summarized in the letter to Dr. Kelman of June 10th, 1960, in which it is pointed out, “Much of this present federal support outside the National Science Foundation is paid for on the fictional premise that it yields a specific weapons system, irrigation plant, health measure, space vehicle, or the like. This not only deludes the public and the government administrator but also degrades the university ... a properly coordinated materials program would not require now, synthetic, justifications of university study. There would be acceptable probability that the free choice of the investigator would nevertheless advance some phase of needed engineering or procurement. Likewise, there would be important relief of the pressures on individual professors to attach their own studies to the particular project that has the push and the cash at some moment, regardless of its long term scientific values.” ...
“It is not yet widely recognized that the materials research and development have a basic generality and thus new knowledge derived from them is almost immediately applicable to an extraordinary range of needs. In this situation, actions of the Federal Council for Science and Technology, and specifically those of the Coordinating Committee can be of great value to the national efficiency and economy. Indeed, without such coordinating action it now appears difficult to see how their could be a follow up of the original objectives of the Coordinating Committee noted in the Minutes of April 8, 1959.”
As we have pointed out, the program whose Silver Anniversary we celebrate, and whose large extension we anticipate, is thus a major realization of the overall conclusion of the report of “Strengthening American Science.” In this we said, “The endless frontiers of science, now stretching to the stars, can provide rich opportunities for men to seek a common understanding of the natural forces which all men must obey, and which govern the world which all men must live together.”
So, as we have said and seen in many forms, the special role of the National Materials Program, as represented in the MRL's and the Federal articulation, has been dramatic evidence that there is operational and intellectual unity in materials science and engineering. As we know, this appears in the combination of science and engineering, in the combination of research and development and in the combination of disciplines which are academically and professionally applied. As Dr. Schwartz will show, the MRL's themselves have notably enhanced, as well as embodied, these new factors.
Beyond this, the total influence on national and international capabilities from materials science and engineering is vast. It is a worthy microcosmos, into which the present microcosmos of MRL's with about 400 faculty remaining from a peak of 600 when the DARPA era was completed in 1971, are important elements. The extraordinary feature is how the concepts we have reported about the purposes and goals and inspiration of the national program of MRL's have been assimilated by and reflected in the large national endeavors.
Indeed, there is an epochical quality of the total system. Namely, our planet is mostly silicon and oxygen and water although its materials as silicates have a marvelous diversity of form. Obviously, materials science and engineering has involved working with some aspect of these systems from the Stone Age to the present. But only in this half century have combinations of the forefront of physical science, and of the frontiers of technology and engineering, in a series of interrelated disciplines brought out the qualities of silicon and its oxides that serve best human wants. We all know many aspects of this - coming from transistors and diodes and solar cells and computers and all their derivatives. We know it with respect to important synthetic polymers like silicones. We know it with respect to mortar and the substance of our buildings, our cities, our roads, with respect to silicates as sand and rocks. But the exciting aspect is that we are seeing how science and engineering can reach far beyond the qualities of all these basic resources, and in this phase, aided by the commonality of our national programs and the traditions of special interdisciplinary work, we are seeing orders of magnitude advances in performance of the stuff of clay and continents.
Preparation for purifying silicon with Pfann's zone refining has crucial derivatives of making silicon tetrachloride with less than 10 parts/million of Trichlorosilene and less than 5 pp billion of iron. Chemical conversion followed by oxidation within odified chemical vapor deposition (McVD) now routinely produced are fibers of silicon containing less than 2 parts per billion of cobalt ions, less than 20 parts per billion of iron, less than 30 parts per billion of copper, and so on. The process is particularly effective also for epitaxial Si film production. The extreme exertion of modern chemical analysis, of modern engineering processing of modern physics of characterizing matter, have got the oxide of silicon universal medium of the earth cosmically and mixed with every other component of the stars, into unsurpassed purity.
In this state, it transmits 1.2 to 1.6 micron wavelength photons so well that there is an attenuation of less than 0.15 db per kilometer. We already know that a new phase of telecommunications and information handling is going forward. But these light guides have to stay pure and stable, and without significant hydration in particular, since hydroxyl groups are unwanted in light carrying. So a composite is formed, by deposition of selected and exquisitely controlled polymer films, on the silica fiber as it is drawn, through still other techniques of materials science and engineering. And, these fibers properly extruded and coated have strengths far beyond the best fiberglass; a tenacity approaching 0.8 to I million pounds per square inch. While this is still short of the 10.5 gigaNewtons-per square meter of a single, idealized, silica solid, it nevertheless approaches the ideals that we had so often discussed with Games Slater, the inventor of fiberglass.
So it is hardly surprising that these mixtures of skills that make composites of silica with micron dimension and overlayers of polymers lead one to composites in bulk. These provide improved rockets for space and defense, giving exciting structures for vehicles, boats, parts of houses and all.
But then, if our themes hold, the combinations of science and engineering intrinsic to materials programs and cultures should induce still other in earth matter advances. Carbon is ever around, fortunately not just as a 1017 atoms per cc of hyper-pure silicon, but as a chemical chameleon of the earth's materials. In its chameleon qualities carbon provides the major substance of life. In trees and plants its cellulosic form has yielded most tools and buildings, also the essence of most synthetic polymeric materials; it is the basis for principal fuels, but in elementary form it is even more spectacular as the clearest brightest diamond and the darkest graphite.
So how have the interactive qualities of materials science and engineering and the intimate connections between research and application led us to new magnitudes of carbon materials, in view of age-old forms noted? The present response is polymer carbon (whose main appeal is its variation from graphite rather than the “graphite fiber” nomenclature which is fashionably applied; this presumably because “graphite” seems like a sophisticated word). Anyway, it turns out that polymers of carbon, sometimes even sloppily assembled ones like pitches and tars, can be pyrolyzed to various stages of cross-linked or polymer carbon conversion. (Incidentally the process for doing this is also timely, since it resembles the ones that re-entering space vehicles encounter at their temperatures and atmospheric exposures, thus we proposed the ablative nose cone and satellite heat-shield. That has a future too besides having protected all of our space-recovered vehicles, except the shuttle with its tiles.)
But the science of polymer carbon formation quickly led to determinations of modules of fibers, and also spheres in which it was early produced, so high that it even stirred thoughts of diamond structures. It also stirred early experiments on how it would behave instead of the classic silicate or fiberglass reinforcement, in matrices of casting polymer composites that as we said had taken a large role in structural uses. This evolution had already been moving quite outside the original polymer carbon research. Already in 1947, the filament wound glass composite rocket motor case was successfully flown and the associated industrial contractors supported the Navy's decision to employ fiberglass motorcases for the Polaris missiles. Composites have eventually served in Minuteman, Poseidon, Trident I, Trident II, Pershing II, Peacekeeper and successive generations of rockets. There the function is to save weight and provide strength and durability. We notice that a premiere maker of these composites finds that the so-called graphite, which is actually a polymer carbon filament composite, decisively leads other effective structures, glass being, of course, a fiberglass composite as well. Here the carbon economy corresponds to about 600 mile further range than the use of traditional metals for the rocket case. The Trident II, for instance, the steady evolution of polymer-fiber composites, finds expression in motor parts, motor cases and indeed extensively throughout the total system. The product of a major maker such as Hercules has shown doubling of fiber strengths in the last few years; approach to a one million pound per square inch level is expected even as the modulus of rigidity also remains superlative.
But, of course, not only does the future beckon for the expected progress in these systems now known. For in systems yielding polymer carbons, co-polymers were originally identified with silicon and other elements. These can be converted to novel carbon ceramics, whose properties we are beginning to see discussed in various parts of the materials community.
On yet another front, the detailed interest of chemists and physicists in the process of polymer carbon formation recognized that extensive conjugation of the bonds occurred inside the polymer molecules. Accordingly, a wide span of electrical conductivity was produced. This has led to practical applications in lightning arresters, resistor components, and various other functions. In turn, it has also engendered widespread study of other organic conductors such as the charge transfer agents and their doped derivatives. Already Professor Pohl, then at Princeton and Polytechnic Institute of New York, had dealt extensively with doping of many of these conjugated structures of an earlier time. Thus stage by stage, this admirable cumulative feature of materials science and engineering has expanded the horizons of exceedingly diverse and long unconnected arenas, ranging from delicate micro-circuitry through to massive structures for power and transport.
So, advancing materials research and development takes a new, but expected shape, as we look forward to the next quarter century of materials science and engineering. We and others have recorded in scientific and technical detail the particular vanguard of innovation that we should seek and expect. Indeed many of us have lived through the eras which will be reviewed in these two days, which actually give us the basis for invigorating expectations. But we can now add another dimension to the advance.
It is, that new links among the traditional divisions of science and engineering, can be formed by a personal community of commitment, to advance a domain of knowledge and practice, that of solid state science and materials technology. The resulting network can mobilize actions in education, industry, and government far beyond the size of the nucleating effort.
In contrast to the natural and valued fraternity of those working in major programs like Manhattan Project, Apollo, the National Cancer Plan, or others, this phenomenon does not represent a particular goal or mission. Rather, it is the generation of a capability, which as we have seen, applies to nearly every feature of economics and public affairs.
We have in this room just two years ago surveyed the historic and growing impact of the materials science and engineering capabilities on national defense. But we should emphasize this year that in addition, the domain does encompass nearly every aspect of our world competition and humanistic aspirations for the betterment of human life. This is why, for instance, in the sense of the Academies, we said in the report of 1983, “… let us seek a special liaison with the COSEPUP committees of Dr. Brinkman on the status and outlook for physics, and of Professor Pimental for chemistry, now being pursued in these Academies. Let us take as a bigger challenge for the future of those great domains a continued and expanded interest in the solid state and scientific and technological behavior of condensed matter.”
In this regard we went on in 1983 to say that gains in materials and their uses “... are calling for new efforts, new understanding, new answers, and we must indeed, in seeking these, involve insistently, indefatigably, ingeniously, even ruthlessly, our fellow communities in the physical and mathematical sciences and engineering.”
So we find in this assembly and its program, reflecting the record of the past quarter century, that deep within our precious American resource of more than a million people devoted to scientific and engineering research and development, a novel pathway for advance in materials research and development has been built. It does respond to the national need put forward by the President those years ago. It does combine new and once separated realms of learning and of practice. it is slowly but steadily recasting age old academic habits. It is intrinsic in industrial and governmental moves toward automation of design and process. It is basic to the growth of new capabilities such as photonics, organ support and repair in biomedicine, exploration of space, the oceans and continents, preservation of the environment, and gains in ecology. Most of all is a worthy exercise of the mind.
So, truly passage on this pathway is a new venture in this century of science and technology. In it, as we have sought to illustrate, almost everything we have been trying to do with matter through the million years of human evolution can be done not just twice, or thrice, as well, but through MSL, a thousand or a thousand thousand times better than we have once thought.