Transparent plastic steel

By mimicking a brick-and-mortar molecular structure found in seashells, University of Michigan researchers have created a composite plastic that's claimed to be as strong as steel but lighter and transparent.

It's made of layers of clay nanosheets and a water-soluble polymer that shares chemistry with white glue.

EngineeringProf Nicholas Kotov almost dubbed it "plastic steel," but the newmaterial isn't quite stretchy enough to earn that name. Nevertheless,he said, its further development could lead to lighter, stronger armourfor soldiers or police and their vehicles.

Source: ns.umich.eduAdded: 24 October 2007