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Home > News > Mother-of-pearl inspires super-strong plastic

October 4th, 2007

Mother-of-pearl inspires super-strong plastic

Abstract:
A plastic made at room temperature from clay and a common ingredient of paint and glue is a strong as steel and a match for materials made using much higher temperatures.

The substance mimics the structure of mother-of-pearl, and its creators say further development of their new technique could provide lighter body armour, as well as aircraft and vehicle parts.

Engineer Nicholas Kotov and colleagues at University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, US, have solved a problem that has baffled materials scientists for more than 30 years.

"When you tried to build something you can hold in your arms, there were difficulties transferring the strength of individual nanosheets or nanotubes to the entire material," Kotov explains.

Nanotubes and other structures have impressive mechanical strength, but getting them to take the strain in a composite material is not easy. Instead the other materials used to hold them together bear the brunt and buckle, snap or tear instead. The new material, however, is stiffer than any nanotube fibres made to date.

Source:
technology.newscientist.com

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