A New Lightweight Material Stronger Than Steel
This month #asloves the new polymer development – 2DPA-1 – that was revealed by researchers at MIT:
“Using a novel polymerization process, MIT chemical engineers have created a new material that is stronger than steel and as light as plastic, and can be easily manufactured in large quantities. The new material is a two-dimensional polymer that self-assembles into sheets, unlike all other polymers, which form one-dimensional, spaghetti-like chains. Until now, scientists had believed it was impossible to induce polymers to form 2D sheets.” MIT News Office, February 2, 2022
Their new polymerization process allows them to generate a two-dimensional sheet called a polyaramide. For the monomer building blocks, they use a compound called melamine, which contains a ring of carbon and nitrogen atoms. Under the right conditions, these monomers grow in two dimensions, forming disks. These disks stack on top of each other, held together by hydrogen bonds between the layers, which make the structure very stable and strong.
“This could allow us to create ultrathin coatings that can completely prevent water or gases from getting through… This kind of barrier coating could be used to protect metal in cars and other vehicles, or steel structures. We don’t usually think of plastics as being something that you could use to support a building, but with this material, you can enable new things. It has very unusual properties and we’re very excited about that.” Michael Strano, MIT professor of chemical engineering
Though 2DPA-1 is still in the research stage, it gives hope as better more hardy plastic, means less inefficient plastic – Bravo!
Visit the MIT news site to learn more: https://news.mit.edu/2022/polymer-lightweight-material-2d-0202
Quotes courtesy MIT
Image credit: Christine Daniloff, MIT