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October 8th, 2003
Feeling the danger
One stunning new family of nanostructured materials goes by the name of Quasam. This is claimed to be a wholly new class of materials, alongside plastics, ceramics and metals, that is as strong as steel but as light as bone. Unlike other materials, this self-organised hybrid based on carbon nanotubes (thin sheets of carbon atoms rolled up into microscopic cylinders) is ideally suited as a chemical- and abrasion-resistant coating for spacecraft or as hip prostheses in the body. It could even be used as a de-icing coating for aircraft wings.
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