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Inside Iowa State
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October 10, 2003


Big corn book
Two Iowa State food scientists have assembled a collection of peer-reviewed research on corn chemistry and technology in an 892-page reference book.

Lawrence Johnson and Pamela White are editors of Corn: Chemistry and Technology, 2nd Edition, an encyclopedic handbook that covers all aspects of the world's largest crop -- from seed corn production and composition of the corn kernel to nutritional properties and wet milling.

A complete revision of the 1987 edition, the sourcebook provides information on new value-added uses for corn, genetic modifications of corn, popcorn and ornamental corn, and mycotoxins in corn.

Like the earlier version, the new edition is expected to become the standard industry resource for years to come. Thirty-six scientists, representing agronomy, food science, genetics and other disciplines, contributed to the book. Other ISU contributors are Carl Bern, Graeme Quick, Daniel Loy and Kenneth Ziegler.

button of yttrium-silver
A button of yttrium-silver shows dents from repeated hammer blows. The gadolinium- silicon-germanium intermetallic alloy on the left shattered with a light tap of the hammer. Submitted photo.
Exceptional bond
Intermetallic materials (two or more metals bonded together) have intrigued materials scientists for decades because they possess a variety of properties that are superior to ordinary metals. But their potential has gone untapped because they are typically quite brittle. Until now.

An Ames Laboratory research team, led by Karl Gschneidner Jr. and Alan Russell, has discovered a number of rare earth intermetallic compounds that are ductile (that is, they can be drawn out into a wire or hammered until thin) at room temperature.

The discovery could allow production of practical materials such as coatings that resist corrosion and maintain strength at high temperatures, flexible superconducting wires or extremely powerful magnets.

Gschneidner and Russell hope that studying these materials will lead to a better understanding of the brittle intermetallics.

"The exceptions are the ones you want to concentrate on because they can tell you a heck of a lot more than all the ones that obey the rules," Gschneidner said. "It can steer you in a whole new direction."

... Becoming the Best
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
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