One of the strongest lightweight materials known
Scientists have developed a new material based on metal and ash, which is half the weight of paper, has good electrical conductivity, flexibility and can withstand temperatures of 800 °C for up to 5 minutes.
Engineers are currently creating and testing many options. flexible robots for use in various fields, from search and rescue operations to the delivery of drugs to the human body and weapons systems. These devices require flexible and at the same time durable materials that must also be functional in order to interact with electronics.
A team of researchers at the National University of Singapore has developed a new technology for creating a metal-based material. They first soak cellulose paper in a graphene oxide solution and then immerse it in a solution of metal ions such as platinum. Then the material is burned in argon at 800 °C, and then at 500 °With air.
The final product is a 90 µm thick metal layer composed of 70% platinum and 30% ash (amorphous carbon). It is elastic enough to bend, fold, and stretch without damage. In addition, it is half the weight of paper, energy efficient and flame retardant. Since the material is electrically conductive, it heats up a little during voltage transfer, allowing flexibility when used in cold environments.
According to the developers, their invention can be used as mechanically stable, flexible and conductive lines that allow robots to control internal voltage, exchange data with a remote operator without external communication modules or function as artificial muscles.
In recent years, scientists have developed many new materials with unique properties. For example, materials scientists at Rice University have created an ultra-strong polymer material that is almost as tough as diamond, and a team from Rensselaer Polytechnic found a way manufacture of plastic glass, durable as steel.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo and video: National University of Singapore