Strong, Light, and Stretchy Materials

Researchers have dispersed tiny platelets of aluminum oxide in apolymer to make a material that is tough, stretchy, and lightweight.The material could lead to longer-lasting bone and dental implants andlighter, more fuel-efficient car and airplane parts. It could also beused to make bendable, transparent electronics.

In their efforts to create strong yet light materials, chemists andmaterials scientists have long tried to mimic nanostructures found innature. Shells, bones, and tooth enamel all consist of stiff ceramicplatelets arranged in a polymer matrix like bricks in mortar. Thesehybrid materials combine the strength of ceramics and thestretchability of polymers.

Source: technologyreview.comAdded: 7 March 2008