'Plastic Steel': Optically Transparent Plastic Nanocomposites

"Plastic steel", an optically transparent nanocomposite has provided Paul Podsiadlo, a graduate student at the University of Michigan, with an award at the 2008 Collegiate Inventors Competition.

"Plastic steel" is stiff and ultra strong, with properties approaching the values of steel and its alloys. Podsiadlo creates the material layer by layer from nanometer-thin wafers of clay nanosheets and polymer; the end product has hundreds of layers.


('Plastic steel' Paul Posiadlo's polymer matrix nanocomposite)
Fig. 1. Preparation of PVS-MTM nanocomposite. (A) Schematic representation of the internal architecture of PVA-MTM composite (picture shows 5.5 bilayers). (B) Atomic force microscopy phase image of a single PVA-MTM bilayer adsorbed on top of a silicon wafer. Top inset gives a simplified schematic representation of the microscopy image. Lower inset is a 1 μm x 1 μm close up of the main image showing individual MTM platelets more clearly. (C) Compilation of UV-V is absorbance spectra collected after multiples of 25 bilayers of PVA-MTM composite deposited on a microscope glass slide. (D) Free-standing, 300-bilayer PVA-MTM composite film showing high flexibility and high transparency. Lower image is taken at an angle to show diffraction colors.

The structure of this artificial material resembles that of the nacre found in seashells. Podsiadlo envisions this material being used in a variety of applications, from body armor to biomedical coatings. Research for the project was initially funded by the U.S. Defense Department and the National Institutes of Health.

Science fiction fans prick up their ears whenever anyone mentions "plastic steel" or transparent materials that are as strong as steel. Frank Herbert popularized the idea of science-fictional plasteel in his 1965 novel Dune.

Star Trek fans will, of course, recall the transparent aluminum from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Scotty barters the formula to an alert 20th century plastics executive.


(The completed formula for transparent aluminum)

I'm looking forward to being able to pick up sheets of plastic steel at my local hardware store before I retire. From Alum wins national invention competition with “plastic steel” and UM Engineering.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/25/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Material ")

New Paper - Write With Light Erase With Heat
Writing with light, erasing with heat.

Reconfigured Graphene 10X Strong, 5 Percent Dense, As Steel
'...It was made of Alohydrolium, which is the lightest of all metals.' - Hugo Gernsback, 1911.

MIT's aeroMorph Technology
'... It falls into that structure like a rubber figure returning to shape.' - Samuel R. Delany, 1966.

Russia's Protective Ferrite Fabric
'His suit-shield sucked in the energy and discharged it...'- Philip K. Dick, 1954.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'

Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'

Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'

Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.'

Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'

Wear Your Self-Powered Generator
'It's basically a micro-sandwich...'

TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!'

Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'

Handle, New Wheeled Hopping Robot
'the hopper sprang thirty feet into the air...'

Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!

Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.