Before you can build that improved turbojet engine, before you can create that longer-lasting battery, you have to ensure all the newfangled materials in it will behave the way you want—even under conditions as harsh as the upper atmosphere at supersonic speed, or the churning chemistry of an ion cell. Now computer scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have improved software* that can take much of the guesswork out of tough materials problems like these.

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