MIT Researchers Develop 3-D Graphene 10 Times Stronger Than Steel But Much Lighter

Posted: Jan 7 2017, 1:46am CST | by , Updated: Jan 7 2017, 1:49am CST , in Latest Science News

MIT Researchers Develop 3-D Graphene 10 Times Stronger Than Steel But Much Lighter
3-D-printed gyroid models such as this one were used to test the strength and mechanical properties of a new lightweight material. Photo Credit: Melanie Gonick/MIT
  • MIT Researchers develop 3D Form of Graphene that is the Lightest and has the Most Strength

Researchers at MIT have developed a 3D form of graphene that is the lightest of materials and has the most strength.

The experts at MIT have managed to design one of the strongest and most lightweight of materials. This has been accomplished by meshing and melding flakes of graphene which is a two-dimensional type of carbon.

This novel material looks like a sponge yet it has a tensile strength ten times that of steel. In the two dimensional form, graphene has been supposed to be the strongest of materials.

The conversion of that two-dimensional form into 3D shape is what gave scientists a hard time up until now. The various aspects of the 3D form has more to do with the configuration than with the material. This opens up a virtual treasure trove of future materials possessing extraordinary qualities.

Other materials could be combined to make similar geometric configurations. The study was published in a journal. While there had been talk of such materials doing the rounds, no one had attempted to make the tough and light material in reality.

The MIT group analyzed the material’s behavior down to the atomic level. Two dimensional materials are like flat arrays that are just one atom in thickness.

They can be enlarged in other dimensions though. Not only do they have extra tensile strength but they also possess electrical properties. However, the thinness of these materials makes them not very feasible for use in making automobiles, homes or contraptions.

A team of MIT engineers has successfully designed a new 3-D material with five percent the density of steel and ten times the strength, making it one of the strongest, lightweight materials known. Video: Melanie Gonick/MIT

The 2D materials can now be translated into 3D materials. Up until now this was just a desire of mankind. Now it has become a reality. Heat and pressure was used to combine the flakes of graphene. The result was a material that resembled corals and diatoms.

The strength of this material was par excellence. Once the 3D material was produced, it was tested. The graphene behaved like the strength of paper would go up when it is rolled up into tubular form.

The novel material was made by a 3D printer. In the future, graphene materials could be made that would be even lighter than air.

Other materials besides graphene like polymers or metals could be experimented on with similar results. In fact, the material can be replaced with virtually anything. All that matters in the final analysis is the configuration.

MIT scientists published findings of this research in the journal Science Advances.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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