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20 Jan 2017

MIT researchers create 3D graphene material that has ‘five percent the density of steel, but 10 times the strength’

Supplier: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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MIT's new 3D material is 10 times stronger than steel with only five percent the volume
photo: MIT
A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has created a new material by compressing and fusing flakes of graphene. This new material has 10 times the strength of steel with only five percent of its volume.

The new material has a sponge-like configuration and its form has a unique geometric shape resembling coral and microscopic creatures called diatoms, which have an enormous surface area in comparison to their volume and have proven themselves to be remarkably strong.

The researchers found that the unique formation of the three dimensional form was more crucial than the material itself. This suggests that a variety of lightweight, strong materials could be created from different sources using the same geometric features.

Huajian Gao, a professor of Engineering at Brown University and not involved in the project, said: “[This work] shows a promising direction of bringing the strength of two-dimensional materials and the power of material architecture design together.”

Discovered by University of Manchester professors Kostya Novoselov and Andre Geim, graphene is one of the strongest known materials, and the world’s first two-dimensional material.

Graphene is also known for it’s versatility, as it is a highly effective conductor. It is also flexible, transparent, stretchable and impermeable.

In it’s original form graphene is 200 times stronger than steel and one million times thinner than a human hair. Until recently, researchers have struggled to translate its two-dimensional strength into useful, functional three-dimensional materials

Markus Buehler, head of MIT’s Department of Civil Environmental Engineering (CEE) and the McAfee Professor of Engineering, said: “What we’ve done is to realise the wish of translating these two-dimensional materials into three-dimensional structures.”

Supplier: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge MA USA
The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century — whether the focus is cancer, energy, economics or literature.

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