Wednesday, September 19, 2018

On the Existence of Nonfunctional Materials



My good friend Prof. Pedersen has just published an excellent editorial in Chemistry of Materials and it starts like this:

How many times did you see the phrase “functional materials”, or some slight modification of it, in the section of the scientific literature that you browsed last week? Searching for “functional AND materials” on Web of Science renders over 112,000 hits, 13,900 of which were published during 2017 and so far, 6300 published in 2018. Before 1990 there are 1–10 hits per year, and in 1990 there were 63, which then increased to 384 hits in 1991. Since then the trend points to a steep increase in scientific output on “functional materials” (Figure 1).

“Functional materials”, however, is a nonfunctional phrase: I challenge you to find a single material without any function at all!  

Full open access article: LINK