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At MIT, chemical engineers have invented a new material that is as light as plastic, and it’s stronger than steel, and it may one day help protect your iPhone, hold up bridges, support new buildings, and much more.
If tiny molecules named “monomers” will attach themselves under the right circumstances to form a chain called “polymers.”
These polymers can be morphed into 3D shapes, which is how people create plastic products.
Scientists have suspected that if one could create a polymerization process that persuaded monomers to create flat sheets instead of chains, it would be a super lightweight material and very strong.
After many years of failing at the project, it was commonly thought impossible.
MIT Scientists Developed 2DPA-1
MIT researchers have created the impossible, creating a polymerization procedure that helps monomers form into sheets of new material researchers call it “2DPA-1.”
“Rather than creating a spaghetti-like molecule, one can create a sheet-like molecular plane, as the molecules link themselves together in a two-dimensional being,” explains Michael Strano, the senior author.
As the molecules readjust during the polymerization procedures, ramping up the manufacturing process may be easy: apply more of the beginning materials to the starting solution.
This brand-new material has extraordinary properties.
It showed to be twice as strong as steel, and it was as light as plastic during the testing phase.
It has also proven to be resistant to gasses and withstand more than four to six times as much force as bulletproof glass before losing its initial shape.
According to the scientists, these unique features allow the potential material uses for everything from consumer electronics to construction. They’ve recently filed applications for two patents for their new polymerization procedure and are now looking at ways to use it to invent other materials.
The New Material Class with Polymerization
Scientists have only been making “2D” materials similar to this since 2004, although this class included other “super materials,” like the very light superconductor graphene and the solid hexagonal boron nitride.
Disregard their extraordinary possessions, and these following materials have remained mainly in a lab setting as scientists work to scale up production. However, according to the comments from MIT researchers, doing a mass production may not be such a bad idea with 2DPA-1.