The latest in material engineering is a flexible fabric that becomes as hard as metal

The latest in material engineering is a flexible fabric that becomes as hard as metal

The growth that Material Engineering has made in recent years is astounding. And very welcome. Precisely if these improvements make a difference, or if everything is running in its course, it may be in some projects The most important draft In humanity.

One of them is nuclear fusion. Honestly, IFMIF-DONES PROJECT Continues with the rest Tuning the material Should be used inside the vacuum chamber in which it is necessary to maintain the fusion reaction of deuterium and tritium nuclei. This material must be able to withstand the impact of the high energy neutrons generated by the fusion. And it is not easy to prepare.

In an article published in Nature, these researchers explain that their tissues become as hard and resistant as metal at will.

Anyway, the novelty in the material engineering we propose to investigate in this article is different, but it has tremendous potential. A team of researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a fabric. Awesome properties.

Like other fabrics, it is flexible and flexible. And, of course, it can be used to make clothing. However, when it is subjected to a specific stimulus, its mechanical properties change and it becomes harder. Hard as metal. The researchers soon realized that if they could control this stimulus at will, they would have discovered an object with a large range of applications. Also, as reflected in the article they published Natural, They have succeeded.

A wonderful fabric that becomes as hard and strong as metal

To refine this fabric, researchers have used small pieces A synthetic polymer similar to nylon In the form of an octahedron they previously produced using a 3D printer (you can find them on the cover of this article). These pieces are intertwined with each other, giving the resulting material the look and harmony of a fabric.

The choice of octahedron form is not accidental. Apparently the researchers tried to print the elements in the form of rings, cubes and other geometries, but the best results were obtained by choosing the octahedron shape. Under normal conditions, as I mentioned, this fabric is flexible and compatible, but always Its structure will increase the pressure A change occurs that gives a metal-like stiffness and strength.

To subject them to this stress, they can compress it by introducing what they did A vacuum chamber And place in a plastic wrap. This mechanism is similar to what we can observe, for example, in a coffee set. When we bought it, the coffee in it was filled with vacuum so that the air that was naturally between them was removed as its particles were packed together as much as possible.

In this condition, the coffee adopts a solid and solid structure, but when we open the package and the air enters inside, the particles separate and the coffee Acts like a fluid. This change of states is similar to what these researchers copied using their synthetic polymer fabric, and allows them to intuition that a material with these characteristics must have a much wider range of uses.

The example to illustrate what these scientists can do with their innovation is precisely, Batman Cap. And there is no doubt that it was well chosen. In fact, the superhero cape starring Christian Bale in films directed by Christopher Nolan behaves exactly like this ‘Batman Begins’ Lucius Fox explains the uniqueness of the fabric to Bruce Wayne.

As we have seen, in the first version of their fabric, these researchers explained that although they used a synthetic polymer, they planned to create other versions using metals that could be handled by a 3D printer, such as aluminum. This is the way they believe Increases hardness and stiffness Of tissue.

This configuration, according to them, will allow this material to be used in a very wide range of applications. Even in situations where supportable elements need to be used Too much tensionWith many possibilities, such as making exoskeletons or building bridges, they can be rolled and assembled as desired. That sounds good, doesn’t it?

Pictures | California Institute of Technology | Nanyang Technological University

More info | California Institute of Technology | Natural

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