Strong Materials | Making Strong Materials with Nanotechnology
The following survey introduces you to nanotechnology techniques
being used to produce strong materials:
Researchers at MIT have designed a structure based on graphene shapes
called gyroids that they
predict will have 10 times the strenght of steel while having only 5%
the density of steel.
Researchers at UCLA have demonstated a method to make a strong,
lightweight metal by adding
carbide nanoparticles to magnesium.
ArcelorMital is producing a kind of steel that contains nanoparticles.
This material allows them to make thinner gauge, lighter beams and plates.
beams and plates are about same weight as aluminum, but can be produced a
lower cost. ArcelorMital is marketing this light weight steel to
Eagle Windpower has used an epoxy containing carbon nanotubes can be used to produce
This results in a strong but lightweight blade, which makes longer
windmill blades practical. These longer blades increase the amount of electricity generated
by each windmill.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a
method to straighten the carbon nanotubes as the nanotube-polymer
composite is being formed. They found that
straightening the nanotubes increased the tensile strength of the
nanotube-polymer composite, as well as improving the electrical and
Avalon Aviation incorporated
carbon nanotubes in a carbon fiber composite engine cowling
on an aerobatic aircraft to increase the strength to weight ratio. The
engine cowling is
stressed components in this aircraft, adding carbon nanotubes to the
composite allowed them to reduce the weight without weakening the
Researchers at MIT have developed a method
to add carbon nanotubes aligned perpendicular to the carbon fibers,
nanostiching. They believe that having the nanotubes perpendicular
to the carbon fibers help hold the fibers together, rather than
depending upon epoxy, and significanly improve the properties of the
Researchers at North Carolina University have shown how to make magnesium
alloy stronger. They introduced
faults in the crystalline structure of the alloy. The stacking
faults prevent defects in the structure of the alloy from spreading,
making the alloy stronger. The researchers believe that the
techniques they used to strenghten the alloy can be implemented in
existing plants, allowing a fast implementation.
at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that adding graphene to epoxy
composites may result in stronger/stiffer components than epoxy
composites using a similar weight of carbon nanotubes. Graphene appears
to bond better to the
polymers in the epoxy, allowing a more effective coupling of the graphene into the structure of the composite. This
property could result in the manufacture of components with higher
strength-to-weight ratios for such uses as windmill blades or