A team of researchers have developed at MIT was able to design a material that is one of the strongest and lightest of all the materials known. It is known as graphene and it has always been known for its strength but in two dimensions only.
Graphene is a two-dimensional form of carbon, which, despite being lightweight, is extremely strong. The material has been designed by compressing and fusing the flakes of graphene, giving it a sponge-like configuration. With a density of just 5 percent, the material is 10 times stronger than steel!
Until now, graphene was known as the strongest material but only in its two-dimensional form. The researchers found it too hard to translate the same strength in its three-dimensional form. The solution to this problem was found to be in its use. Forming an unusual geometric pattern will bring the same strength to the 3D material. The finding also paves the way for other similar materials which can be made stronger using the geometric shape.
The attempts to explore the strength of graphene were made earlier too, but the researchers couldn’t come up with a positive result. For the current study at MIT, the team decided to study the material at its atomic level. After that, the team could develop the mathematical framework for closely matching the experiments. The graphene flakes were compressed using heat and pressure to form a strong and stable structure.
Different types of 3D models were made under this research and all of them were subjected to rigorous tests. It was the results of the tests that showed graphene to be 10 times stronger than steel. The details of the study are published in the journal Science Advances.
Source: MIT News