The new properties of metamaterials allow them to quickly move from a solid state to a flexible one
Over the past 10 years, scientists from different countries have been able to achieve a great breakthrough in the development and study of the properties of metamaterials. However, this is not the limit. Experts believe that modern technology will not only improve them, but also to direct to production, gradually introducing into everyday life.
Metamaterials is a group of materials that have a number of characteristics and qualities. They do not exist in nature, they are man-made. The advantages are not due to the raw materials used for manufacturing, but to the specific structure that is developed in research centers. In this direction, we managed to get excellent results. For example, in 2018, researchers from the United States developed a substance with unique characteristics. It can be as strong as metal or as soft as plasticine in different situations.
What are the new properties of metamaterials?
According to the leading American scientific publication Science Advance, the authors of the project are specialists of the National laboratory Livermore at the University of California in San Diego. The creation was called Field Responsive Mechanical Metamaterials (FRMM), which is translated as “mechanical metamaterials that respond to fields.”
The main feature of the development is directly in the production process. A key role is played by 3D printer, which creates special microtubes made of plastic. They serve as the basis for a new substance. The length of each copy is only 5 mm. A mixture of oil and microscopic pieces of metal is poured into the inner hollow space.
The ordinary state of FRMM is flexible because the filler retains fluidity and high viscosity. To change the properties, the material must be exposed to a magnetic field. In this case, iron particles are rearranged in a certain order, due to the direction of magnetism. The composition quickly hardens and becomes very strong. It is quite difficult to break through.
Testing the development, the researchers learned that in this way it is possible to increase the rigidity of the structure by about 62%. According to experts, it is possible to achieve much better results. Scientists believe that using fragments of stronger metals, this figure can grow significantly.
It also became known how to apply this technology in real life. First of all, it is going to be introduced into the military industry. Professionals are convinced that there is a huge future of development in the production of “flexible” body armor and armor for equipment. At times when there is no danger, it will help to save the strength of soldiers, increase the speed and improve the mobility of tanks, armoured personnel carriers and aircraft. In addition, this solution is interesting for the creation of rescue robots. With “soft” protection it will be easier to penetrate into bottlenecks.