The short answer is that it depends on the material the cups and plates are made of, and even what shape they are.
Marcella Cheng/The Conversation
Have you ever been told not to put metal in the microwave? Edie, age 8, wants to know why.
Strange new materials that propel the fictional Star Trek universe are being developed by scientists in reality today. Above, the USS Discovery accelerates to warp speed in an artist’s rendition for the TV series Star Trek Discovery.
Advanced materials that seem like they come from Star Trek are becoming reality today.
Could the new invention spell the end of rooftop fans?
Christophe Finot/Wikimedia Commons
The invention of silver and plastic-clad roof panels that can cool themselves down even under the Sun's full glare promise to make air conditioning much more energy-efficient.
Compressed glassy carbon could be used to make better bulletproof vests or new types of electronics.
This special dampening material could also protect buildings from earthquakes.
Plan to develop long-lasting supercapacitors would provide a faster, safer alternative to lithium batteries.
Math doesn’t get its own Nobel, but is the foundation for much Prize-winning research.
There's no Nobel Prize in mathematics, but math undergirds much high-level science. The 2016 Nobel in Physics rewards work in topology, a branch of math with multiple real world applications.
Materials science has lots of options for building.
Molybdenum disulphide, hexagonal boron nitride and other materials yet to be discovered will be used to build the electronics of the future.
An impression of the X-51 Waverider, the US hypersonic aircraft programme.
The military is interested – but the rest of us could also get from Paris to Tokyo in three hours.
A new "world's hardest material" is proclaimed every few years – but taking the top spot from diamond isn't easy.
New materials and new designs could help astronauts withstand longer periods of time in space and deal with the hazards of exploring other planets.
A new method for creating a form of graphene with carbon dioxide sucked from the air has been announced with misleading claims.
Concept design of a lunar base that could be made with 3D printing.
ESA/Foster + Partners
Imagine if you could build a home on the moon out of moon dust. That just one of the possibilities being explored for 3D printing.
Even a microbe won’t eat plastic.
Consumers and makers of plastic products want plastic to biodegrade to minimize the environmental impact, but some additives don't live up to the claims.
Make up your mind, glass.
Before Pilkingtons invented plate glass in the mid-19th century, flat panes could not be made. Old windows are uneven. Some once thought this was because glass is a liquid that flows down slowly over the…
“Give me some skin! No, really.”
Once a topic explored exclusively in science fiction, the notion of restoring sensory feelings to humans and to machines is now approaching reality. Scientists around the world are developing artificial…
Carbon fibre: it’s super light and super strong (even more so than dreadlocks).
A unique cutting-edge carbon fibre research facility Carbon Nexus officially opened at Deakin University in Geelong last week. It houses laboratories, a pilot scale carbon fibre line and a smaller single-tow…
The humble fishing line.
Sometimes in research the answer is right under your nose. In our case, we spent nearly two decades developing exotic materials as artificial muscles – to now show in a paper published in Science today…
Lighter, stronger, better.
Materials shape human progress – think stone age or bronze age. The 21st century has been referred to as the molecular age…
Graphene is an exciting and lucrative new industry – so why isn’t the Australian government funding local commercial development?
Australian industries have reached a turning point. With old industries on the way out, the Australian manufacturing sector’s biggest challenge is to move from a low-cost mass production model to one that…