Tag Archives: material science

Self-healing composite developed

Scientists have produced a small amount of a self-healing solid composite that not only remembers its shape but can, under certain conditions, heal itself should it break or crack.

Don’t get out your checkbook yet. This is only the preliminary research, though the concepts look very promising.

The darkest material ever made

Scientists have developed a material so dark it is difficult to discern the shape of any object it coats.

The material absorbs all but 0.035 per cent of light, a new world record, and is so dark the human eye struggles to discern its shape and dimension, giving the appearance of a black hole. Named Vantablack, or super black, it also conducts heat seven and half times more effectively than copper, and is ten times stronger than steel. It is created by Surrey NanoSystems using carbon nanotubes, which are 10,000 thinner than human hair and so miniscule that light cannot get in but can pass into the gaps in between.

The pictures at the website are especially amazing. They coated half of a sheet of aluminum foil with the material and then crinkled the foil. You can see the crinkles in the uncoated material, but the coated material just looks black.

This will be very useful for astronomical instruments, as well as many other technical applications. For example, if you coat the body of your telescope with this material it will help eliminate stray light, which means that you will increase the efficiency of your observations.

An new material has claimed the record as the world’s lightest solid.

An new material has claimed the record as the world’s lightest solid.

Developed by a team from the Technical University of Hamburg and Germany’s University of Kiel, the material is composed of 99.99 percent air, along with a three-dimensional network of porous carbon nanotubes that were grown into each other. Aerographite has a density of less than 0.2 milligrams per cubic centimeter, which allows it be compressed by a factor of 1,000, then subsequently spring back to its original state. Despite its extremely low density, it is black and optically-opaque in appearance. By contrast, the density of metallic microlattice sits at 0.9 mg per cubic centimeter.