Added by James Morley on December 6, 2010
A new shock-resistant material invented by Japanese researchers can be used in engines of spacecrafts and cars exposed to extreme temperatures, a recent article reports.
The material is made entirely out of carbon and its components allow it to flow and stretch and then return to its original form, much like honey, said Xu Ming, materials scientist at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.
She explained that the material “… looks like a metal sponge that is porous, it is made from trillions of entangled carbon nanotubes.” The nanotubes are grown in a mixture of silicon, iron and water. They are a mere 5 nanometers in diameters – one nanometer is one billionth of a meter – and are able to function in an oxygen free environment in temperatures ranging from -196 and 1,000°C.
As such, it has got immense potential for application in fuel tanks of spacecrafts or rockets, or to isolate vibration in car engines. “This material is totally new and unique,” said Xu, “There is no other material showing such stable properties.”
What is more is that the material can also conduct electricity, increasing its range of use even further.
A report on the invention has been published in the Science journal.