Living in a Material World
Americans have always held a soft spot in their hearts for futuristic materials, from the amazing light-weight properties of titanium to the chance to conquer Superman with kryptonite.
So it’s no surprise that marketing mavens have pounced on the nation’s love of revolutionary products, promoting a vast array of textiles, plastics, and metals all wielding lofty claims.Yet for the average consumer, it’s hard to muddle through the mire of what’s actually advanced and what’s simply hype. To lead us through this clutter of high-tech innovation and help us understand the necessity— or uselessness—of all this invention, we spoke with Andrew Dent, a materials scientist who has worked with NASA, Rolls-Royce, and the U.S. Navy, among other illustrious organizations. He’s now vice president of Material ConneXion, a New York–based resource center with over 3,500 samples of various polymers, glass, ceramics, metals, and other materials available for reference and architectural elucidation.