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. B 三种超导材料。答案再第一段最后一句“神奇的塑料、玻璃和陶瓷”。下面各段具体讲这三种材料。第二段讲陶瓷：“新材料之关键在于研究工作者不断提高在分子水平上处理物质的能力。举陶瓷为例，由于它的脆性，长期来应用范围有限。但是通过改善导致脆性的微小缺陷，科学家制造出一种保持原有硬度和抗热性，但坚实得多的陶瓷”。第三段讲塑料。“类似的转折发生在塑料上，高强度的塑料建成了桥梁、溜冰场、直升机的叶轮。一种震动或推动就能发电的新型塑料用于电子吉他上，触及传感塑料用于机械手和空手道外衣上，它能自动记录每次击打。”后面谈及塑料垃圾可以处理，或者制造可分解还原的塑料制品。塑料内加入其他化合物加强性能。第四段讲有些高级材料由新的改变，最新的光纤电缆由玻璃制成，透明度极高，100英里厚的一块其清晰度比一块普通窗玻璃还高。
2. B 说明这种新材料对未来世界的意义。答案在第一段：“神奇的塑料、玻璃和陶瓷一定会象生物工程和计算机一样将改变世界。”A. 把它们和新材料相比较，这里不仅仅是比较，而是说明三者都具同样的作用--改变世界。 C. 把新材料比作它们。也不仅仅是比喻比拟。 与A一样没有说到核心电。D. 说明他的观点。太笼统。
3. A 转折需要钱和时间。见最后一段“可是新材料只有制成产品才有影响，而这个转折可能很困难，因为转折需要长期的研究和投资。可以这么说，在不久的将来，更牢牢地掌握如何把材料转变成商品将决定一个国家之成败。”B. 因为许多制造商不愿改变他们的设备。C. 因为新材料的研究非常困难。 D. 转折要华上十年时间。这三项文内没有涉及。
4. D 在超级材料时代已过之成功在于应用。A. 在于研究。B. 在于投资。C. 在于革新。这三项都是应用的部分前提。其中A和B文内提到，C项文内未涉及。