Scientists have created a structure that is based on graphene and is extremely resistant and lightweight.
Scientists from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have created a graphene material that is 10 times stronger than steel and has only 5% of its density. They also modeled idealized geometric structures that could increase the resistance to other types of construction materials.
Graphene is the two-dimensional crystal structure of graphite, where the carbon atom is placed in a hexagonal network. It was studied in the 40s, because of its very strong bond of the carbon atom, but it hasn’t been found a way to be made useful to create a new building material.
Although graphene is an extremely thin material with electrical properties, it is very difficult to build, informs Science Alert.
The biggest problem was that graphene’s resistance was only two-dimensional. Scientists had to make ‘sheets’ the thickness of an atom in a three-dimensional structure.
So, scientists at MIT have synthesized the graphene by adding heat and pressure to compress these ‘sheets’, creating complex porous and convoluted structures that resemble corals and diatoms (unicellular algae). These structures, although they had very low density, were found to be highly resistant – 10 times as resistant as steel, with only 5% of its density.
Markus Buehler, the leading researcher of the study reveals that ‘geometry is the dominant factor and it has the potential of being transferred to other materials’, that will supposedly have countless utilities.
For now, such material can not be implemented as there is a method for manufacturing on a larger scale, but it is possible that in the future it will replace many materials currently used.