Passage Eleven (Superconducting Materials)
The stone age, The Iron Age. Entire epochs have been named for materials. So what to call the decades ahead? The choice will be tough. Welcome to the age of superstuff. Material science -- once the least sexy technology – is bursting with new, practical discoveries led by superconducting ceramics that may revolutionize electronics. But superconductors are just part of the picture: from house and cars to cook pots and artificial teeth, the world will someday be made of different stuff. Exotic plastics, glass and ceramics will shape the future just as surely as have genetic engineering and computer science.
The key to the new materials is researchers’ increasing ability to manipulate substances at the molecular level. Ceramics, for example, have long been limited by their brittleness. But by minimizing the microscopic imperfections that cause it, scientists are making far stronger ceramics that still retain such qualities as hardness and heat resistance. Ford Motor Co. now uses ceramic tools to cut steel. A firm called Kyocera has created a line of ceramic scissors and knives that stay sharp for years and never rust or corrode.
A similar transformation has overtaken plastics. High-strength polymers now form bridges, ice-skating rinks and helicopter rotors. And one new plastic that generates electricity when vibrated or pushed is used in electric guitars, touch sensors for robot hands and karate jackets that automatically record each punch and chop. Even plastic litter, which once threatened to permanently blot the landscape, has proved amenable to molecular tinkering. Several manufacturers now make biodegradable forms; some plastic six-pack rings for example, gradually decompose when exposed to sunlight. Researchers are developing ways to make plastics as recyclable as metal or glass. Besides, composites – plastic reinforced with fibers of graphite or other compounds – made the round-the-world flight of the voyager possible and have even been proved in combat: a helmet saved an infantryman’s life by deflecting two bullets in the GREnada invasion.
Some advanced materials are old standard with a new twist. The newest fiberoptic cable that carry telephone calls cross-country are made of glass so transparent that a piece of 100 miles thick is clearer than a standard window pane.
But new materials have no impact until they are made into products. And that transition could prove difficult, for switching requires lengthy research and investment. It can be said a firmer handle on how to move to commercialization will determine the success or failure of a country in the near future.
1. How many new materials are mentioned in this passage?
2. Why does the author mention genetic engineering and computer science?
[A] To compare them with the new materials.
[B] To show the significance of the new materials on the future world.
[C] To compare the new materials to them.
[D] To explain his view point.
3. Why is transition difficult?
[A] Because transition requires money and time.
[B] Because many manufacturers are unwilling to change their equipment.
[C] Because research on new materials is very difficult.
[D]Because it takes 10 years.
4. Where lies success of a country in the New Age of superstuff?
[A] It lies in research.
[B] It lies in investment.
[C] It lies in innovation.
[D] It lies in application.
1. superstuff 超級材料
2. superconducting ceramic 超導陶瓷
3. exotic 神奇的
4. shape 塑造，成型
5. brittleness 脆性
6. polymer 聚合體
7. karate jacket 空手道外衣
8. touch sensor 觸及傳感器
9. each punch and chop 每一個擊、打
10. blot 玷污，損害風景的東西
11. tinker 修補，調整
12. amendable 服從于，遵循的
13. biodegradable 能生物遞減分解的
14. six-pack rings 放六個罐子的環狀物
15. decompose 分解
16. recyclable 可循環（使用的）
17. infantryman 步兵
18. deflect 使偏斜，使轉向
19. a new twist 一個新的觀點，方法
1. Material science – once the least sexy technology – is bursting with new, practical discoveries led by superconducting ceramics that may revolutionize electronics.
2. Some advanced materials are old standard with a new twist. The newest fiberoptic cables that carry telephone calls cross-country are made of glass so transparent that a piece of 100 miles thick is clearer than a standard window pane.
1. B 三種超導材料。答案再第一段最后一句“神奇的塑料、玻璃和陶瓷”。下面各段具體講這三種材料。第二段講陶瓷：“新材料之關鍵在于研究工作者不斷提高在分子水平上處理物質的能力。舉陶瓷為例，由于它的脆性，長期來應用范圍有限。但是通過改善導致脆性的微小缺陷，科學家制造出一種保持原有硬度和抗熱性，但堅實得多的陶瓷”。第三段講塑料。“類似的轉折發生在塑料上，高強度的塑料建成了橋梁、溜冰場、直升機的葉輪。一種震動或推動就能發電的新型塑料用于電子吉他上，觸及傳感塑料用于機械手和空手道外衣上，它能自動記錄每次擊打。”后面談及塑料垃圾可以處理，或者制造可分解還原的塑料制品。塑料內加入其他化合物加強性能。第四段講有些高級材料由新的改變，最新的光纖電纜由玻璃制成，透明度極高，100英里厚的一塊其清晰度比一塊普通窗玻璃還高。
2. B 說明這種新材料對未來世界的意義。答案在第一段：“神奇的塑料、玻璃和陶瓷一定會象生物工程和計算機一樣將改變世界。”
A. 把它們和新材料相比較，這里不僅僅是比較，而是說明三者都具同樣的作用－－改變世界。 C. 把新材料比作它們。也不僅僅是比喻比擬。 與A一樣沒有說到核心電。D. 說明他的觀點。太籠統。
3. A 轉折需要錢和時間。見最后一段“可是新材料只有制成產品才有影響，而這個轉折可能很困難，因為轉折需要長期的研究和投資。可以這么說，在不久的將來，更牢牢地掌握如何把材料轉變成商品將決定一個國家之成敗。”
B. 因為許多制造商不愿改變他們的設備。C. 因為新材料的研究非常困難。 D. 轉折要華上十年時間。這三項文內沒有涉及。
4. D 在超級材料時代已過之成功在于應用。
A. 在于研究。B. 在于投資。C. 在于革新。這三項都是應用的部分前提。其中A和B文內提到，C項文內未涉及。