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News | PlasCarb

4 wonder materials transforming the world

Graphene is one of the biggest recent discoveries in the world of physics thanks to the material’s extremely useful properties and suitability for a diverse range of applications. However, graphene isn’t the only notable new material discovery of the past few years, and the following blog will look at some of the other big advances in the materials industry.

1. GRAPHENE

Graphene has been called a “miracle material” due to its impressive properties. An extremely thin yet incredible strong material made from pure carbon, graphene is flexible, almost completely transparent and conducts electricity. The scientists who invented graphene won Nobel Prizes in Physics in 2010 due to the material’s potential for use in a wide multitude of applications. Current applications of graphene include:

  • Mobile device touchscreens
  • Solar energy battery cells
  • Materials used in the aerospace industry
  • Desalination technology applications
  • Chemicals sensors used to detect explosive materials
  • Liquid crystal displays

 

2. AEROGRAPHITE

Created in 2012 by a group of researchers from the Hamburg University of Technology, aerographite is made from networks of small hollow carbon tubes. This material can almost completely absorb light rays, and as a result is black in colour. Aerographite is extremely strong but also yields notable bendable properties, allowing for a 95% compression rate and its ability to be pulled back to its original dimensions without damage. In fact, inducing stress only strengthens the material, making it invaluable to a whole host of varied applications. Aerographite can also withstand considerable vibration and is able to conduct electricity. The material is 75 times lighter than styrofoam and is commonly used in:

  • Electric vehicles, including cars and bicycles
  • Efficient air and water purification systems
  • Lighter and more efficient batteries
  • Aerospace materials for airplanes and satellites

 

3. SELF-HEALING CONCRETE

Developed by a team of scientists at the Delft University in the Netherlands, self-healing concrete is a reconstructive material which utilizes tiny capsules of bacteria and calcium lactate to repair cracks. The capsules dissolve when water seeps into the cracks, causing a chemical reaction which produces limestone as a by-product which in turns seals any cracks and reverts the material to its original strength. The major benefit of self-healing concrete is it greatly reduces the costs of repairs and how often repairs have to be carried out. Self-healing concrete is highly suitable for use in:

  • Pavements, paths and other walkways
  • Building foundations and other architecture structures

 

4. SUPER WATERPROOF MATERIAL

The final entry on this list is a waterproof material created by a team at Brookhaven Laboratory in New York. This super-hydrophobic surface features a layer of minute cones which repel water droplets, keeping the surface completely dry. In addition, the surface stays cleaner than most materials as water droplets will collect any dirt present when rolling off the surface. Unlike other waterproof materials, the super waterproof material is able to withstand extreme temperature conditions, humidity and pressure. Suggested applications of the material include:

  • Automotive parts
  • Medical and healthcare devices
  • Boat hull coatings
  • Windshields for automobiles and airplanes

 

CONCLUSION

The current crop of new materials offer numerous benefits for a wide range of applications. From self-healing concrete to a super waterproof material, new advances are resulting in the creation of highly impressive materials that would not be out of place in a science-fiction story. With new advances occurring on a regular basis, we can only imagine what materials will be created next.

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