Scientists at MIT revealed ultralight graphene that’s ten times stronger than steel.
A team of MIT engineers has successfully designed a new 3-D material with five percent the density of steel and ten times the strength.
Above, 3-D-printed gyroid models such as this one were used to test the strength and mechanical properties of a new lightweight material. Credit Melanie Gonick/MIT
By compressing and fusing flakes of graphene, they created one of the strongest and lightest materials.
In its two-dimensional form, graphene is thought to be the strongest of all known materials. But researchers until now have had a hard time translating that two-dimensional strength into useful three-dimensional materials.
Two-dimensional materials — basically flat sheets that are just one atom in thickness but can be indefinitely large in the other dimensions — have exceptional strength as well as unique electrical properties.
The findings are being reported in the journal Science Advances, in a paper by Markus Buehler, the head of MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and the McAfee Professor of Engineering; Zhao Qin, a CEE research scientist; Gang Seob Jung, a graduate student; and Min Jeong Kang MEng ’16, a recent graduate.
Markus Buehler, explains:
“Because of their extraordinary thinness, they are not very useful for making 3-D materials that could be used in vehicles, buildings, or devices. What we’ve done is to realize the wish of translating these 2-D materials into three-dimensional structures.”
The illustration shows computer simulation compression tests on the 3-D graphene. Credit Zhao Qin