from the urls-we-dig-up dept
The history of materials once correlated highly with the development of civilization: the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, … the Silicon Age…. However, we seem to have gotten away from huge advances depending on the discovery of new materials. Or maybe we just haven’t discovered how to make the right materials yet (e.g., room temperature superconductors, nanotubes, etc). Here are just a few interesting materials that might change the world (if we can make them).
- Diamond nanothread is a stable form of one-dimensional diamond, and it could be a very useful material if we figure out how to make it reliably in large quantities — with just enough defects to prevent it from being too brittle. Graphene is a similar “wonder material” that promises breakthrough properties, if only we could manufacture it correctly. So far, diamond nanothread can only be made a couple of cubic millimeters at a time, but it could someday make ultra-strong materials for space elevator tethers and other applications that currently remain in the realm of science fiction. [url]
- The potential of graphene has been held back by the expense of manufacturing it, but that might change in the near future. Researchers claim that large-area graphene sheets can be made about 100 times cheaper than ever before, using commercially-available copper foil. Billions are being spent to crack graphene production issues, so we’re presumably going to see graphene-based products in our lifetimes. [url]
- A modified buckminsterfullerene molecule called a “buckybomb” (or dodecanitrofullerene) could be a new class of high energy nanomaterials. This stuff actually needs to be synthesized first to determine if it’s actually as explosive as the simulations predict it will be, but if anyone dares to make this molecule in significant quantities, it could be many orders of magnitude more powerful than TNT. [url]
After you’ve finished checking out those links, check out this holiday gift guide for some awesome deals at the Techdirt deals store.