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Duration: 1 hour

Materials scientist Mark Miodownik takes a look into the inner world of metals, ceramics and plastics and the microscopic structure that allows them to function. Mark begins his journey in the copper mines of an Israeli desert examining how ancient man extracted copper from rocks. He follows the quest to find stronger and stronger metals through to alloys, and the invention of super alloys for the aerospace industry.

The story of ceramics begins in Ancient Rome with the invention of concrete, through to fibre optics and how superconductors are revolutionising our modern day infrastructure.

Finally, plastics begins with Goodyear and the invention of vulcanised rubber, through to how Leo Hendrik Baekeland invented Bakelite and the plastics revolution which followed, taking in carbon fibres and F1 cars along the way, before ending with the cutting edge discovery of the strongest material known to man - graphene - and how it might just revolutionise the IT industry.

Last on

Wed 18 Dec 2013 04:00 BBC Two

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Presenter
Mark Miodownik

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