What words come to your mind when we speak about materials? Metals, glass, ceramics, plastics. We share with you some new-age materials that will change our conventional beliefs about materials. Here are some materials that are predicted to change the course of applications like construction, electronics and transportation, to truly shape the future.
Graphene and Carbon Nanotube (CNT)
Graphene is an extremely thin two dimensional material made from Carbon. It is one of the thinnest and strongest of materials. Graphene is around 100 times stronger than steel of the same thickness. It is an extremely good conductor of heat and electricity. It is optically transparent, yet has high density. Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) are cylindrical molecules that consist of rolled-up sheets of graphene. This enhances the features that it gets from graphene, and reinforces its strength, while remaining extremely thin. Both graphene and CNT have the potential for a wide variety of applications like electronics, energy storage, aerospace and biomedicine, just to name a few.
Aerogels are lightweight porous materials made from gels. They have extremely low density and its major part by volume comprises air. They also have extremely low thermal conductivity, and can act as insulation material. Being lightweight and insulating, allows it to be used in applications like narrow and compact thermal insulation and chemical adsorbent for wastewater treatment.
Self-healing materials are synthetically created substances that have the inherent property of self-healing any damage or crack without need for intervention. Several polymers, elastomers, and composites have biomimetic properties which allow them to self-repair.
Artificial Spider Silk
Artificial spider silk is a type of silk which is made by artificial bioengineering processes. It shares properties of naturally found spider silk, and is biodegradable. It can be used in protective fabric and safety gear, and also find uses in defense and aerospace applications.
Amorphous metals enjoy the best of both worlds; they are strong, tough and malleable like metals, and also possess high corrosion resistance and wear resistance like plastics. They are also called metallic glass. They find primary uses in medical applications, aerospace and robotics. Due to the unique properties of these materials, they can be used in applications like biomedicine, coatings, electronics and aerospace.
While the above list is not exhaustive, it highlights the possibilities that future usage of these materials holds for us. It is only a matter of time that these materials that we now call modern and new-age, start being produced and used in mass, for common everyday applications.