Advanced Construction Materials Market to Advance as Researchers Create a Material that is Harder than Steel and Lighter than Plastic
Posted On April 16, 2022
Polymer experts believe that forcing polymers to grow into a two-dimensional sheet will result in extremely strong and light materials. Despite decades of investigation into the subject, it was determined that such sheets were unlikely to exist. One reason for this is that when one monomer rotates up or down, it expands out of the plane of the sheet. As a result, the material expanded in three dimensions, losing its sheet-like structure.
MIT chemical engineers have now developed a unique material that would prove the theories to be finally true. The novel material has a stronger structure than steel and is lighter than plastic. Further, interestingly, it can also be mass-produced in vast amounts using a unique polymerization technique. The innovation is revolutionary for the Advanced Construction Materials Market. The substance may act as a lightweight, long-lasting coating for car parts or cell phones or construction materials for bridges and other structures.
The new substance is a 2D (Two-Dimensional) polymer that self-assembles into sheets. It is different from all previous polymers, which formed one-dimensional, spaghetti-like chains.
It is generally believed that materials made of plastic cannot be used to support a structure. However, this material can permit new possibilities.
Researchers developed a new polymerization procedure to produce a two-dimensional sheet known as a polyaramide. Melamine refers to a molecule comprising a ring of carbon and nitrogen atoms. It makes the monomer building blocks. These monomers can develop in 2D, producing discs under the right situation. These discs are then stacked one above the other. It is held together by hydrogen bonds in-between the layers, resulting in a very stable and robust structure.
These new polymers can be processed in solution, making them ideal for various new applications requiring a high strength-to-weight ratio, such as new composites or diffusion barrier materials.
Another vital aspect of 2DPA-1 is that it is gas impervious. Other polymers are usually made up of coiled chains with holes that allow gases to pass through. On the other hand, the new substance is built up of monomers that lock together like LEGOs, preventing molecules from passing through.
This could allow the construction of ultrathin coatings that entirely block the passage of water or gases. This type of barrier layer might be used to safeguard metal in cars and other vehicles, as well as steel structures. The team is researching how this particular polymer can produce 2D sheets in greater detail. Further, they are also experimenting with modifying its molecular makeup to generate new materials.