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August 25th, 2005
Of Friction and "The Da Vinci Code"
A collaboration of scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University have used Da Vinci's principles of friction and the geometric oddities known as quasicrystals to open a new pathway towards a better understanding of friction at the atomic level.
The principles of friction, as described by Leonardo Da Vinci some 500 years ago, work fine for macroscale mechanics like keeping the moving parts in the engine of your car lubricated with oil. However, as mechanical devices shrink to nanosized scales (measured in billionths of a meter), a far better understanding of friction at the molecular level becomes crucial.
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