Ultralight Material Withstands Supersonic Microparticle Impacts

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Source: Shutterstock, https://www.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/blue-molecule-structure-background-cells-biological-1789079645

June 30, 2021 | Originally published by Massachusetts Institute of Technology on June 24, 2021

A new study by engineers at MIT, Caltech, and ETH Zürich shows that “nanoarchitected” materials — materials designed from precisely patterned nanoscale structures — may be a promising route to lightweight armor, protective coatings, blast shields, and other impact-resistant materials.

The researchers have fabricated an ultralight material made from nanometer-scale carbon struts that give the material toughness and mechanical robustness. The team tested the material’s resilience by shooting it with microparticles at supersonic speeds and found that the material, which is thinner than the width of a human hair, prevented the miniature projectiles from tearing through it.

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