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Nanotechnology plastic as strong as steel

MSNBC brings news of a new nanotechnology achievement at University of Michigan:

Nanotech produces plastic as strong as steel
Researchers mimic structures found in seashells, using clay and glue

By mimicking structures found in seashells, scientists have created a transparent plastic that is as strong as steel…

Kotov and his colleagues have devised a process that builds materials one nanoscale layer at a time, similar to the way that mother-of-pearl, the iridescent lining of mussel, oyster and other mollusk shells, is built.

They built a machine that dips a piece of glass about the size of a stick of gum alternately into a gluelike polymer solution and a dispersion of clay nanosheets. These materials form cooperative hydrogen bonds with each other across the layers, which give rise to a “Velcro effect,” Kotov explained.

If we can do this now, just imagine how strong materials will be when we have atomic-level precision. –Christine

4 Responses to “Nanotechnology plastic as strong as steel”

  1. Nanoman Says:

    This is a very good point Christine! What is interesting too is that science fiction authors have been predicting a “plasteel” material strong as or stronger than steel but flexible/elastic and light as plastic, and also transparent, for decades. Frank Herbert had it in the “Dune” series and it has been in Star Trek, Star Wars, and much more. The seperation between scifi and reality science has been blurring for some time now hasn’t it?

    I would also be curious as to know what is meant by strength vs hardness? For example, is the material able to scratch regular steel, or no? Could we make cutting tools from it, or only tensile strength things?

  2. Daniel Hazelton Waters Says:

    I predict that will not be a long time away… This good news for Oceanic Food & Fuel project I have in mind. Floating biospheres in the pacific absorbing greenhouse gases and creating food for everyone. It would be paid for by the fuel it made too.

  3. Rick Says:

    So this could be used to build a glass house that you could actually throw stones at :)

  4. Rasool Nilieh Boroujeni Says:

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