The Materials of the Future - A Guide

The materials of the future have three key criteria to meet. They must be durable, lightweight, and economical. This is due to the simple reason that it is now recognized that our natural resources are finite. To be able to keep making technological advancements in the 21st century, societies need to adapt their manufacturing so they get as much done with as little as possible.

It is, therefore, necessary for the technological marvels of tomorrow to consist of materials which can withstand the elements while also requiring minimal energy to operate.

For the future entrepreneurs or inventors or a combination of the two, learning what materials already exist and committing them to memory is probably a worthwhile use of brain cells. Here is a quick reference to get started:

Graphene

Graphene in its purest form is a single sheet of carbon arranged hexagonally on the atomic level. A semi-metal, and currently the strongest and thinnest material known to science, graphene is being shortlisted as a potential replacement for silicon as an essential component of computer chips.

Graphene is also being explored for use in touchscreen displays and filtration technology. First discovered in 2004, controlled-manufactured graphene has only become a reality in the last ten years, meaning commercial graphene sheets have only recently stopped being cost-prohibitive. The increasing affordability of graphene is due to the chemical vapor deposition method of creating the material as well as other refinements of the process.

Aerogel

Technically an entire class of different types, aerogel is an ultralight material, with 95-99% of it consisting of air or other gas. Although it may appear to be foam or a type of translucent sponge, the insulating nature of aerogels make them capable of protecting against extremely high temperatures.

This makes aerogels an attractive material for heat insulation as well as other uses which require shielding from against high temperatures.

Metallic Glass

Technically known as amorphous metal, metallic glass possesses properties which are promising in the development of new and improved energy conductivity techniques. This is because unlike traditional metals that possess a crystalline structure, the properties of metallic glass is, as you can guess, are more closely related to glass.

This aids in better distribution of energy, particularly in the case of ballistic impacts i.e. as the key component of the military armor of the future. On top of this it also has an extremely efficient electrical conductivity, amorphous metal is also considered as the prime candidate for power grid overhauls.

Electronic Textiles

While it may not be to everyone’s fashion tastes, “e-textiles” are nevertheless bound to be an integral part of the style trends of the 21st century. As well as the strictly for show examples of glowing dresses and vests which project videos across the back, electronic textiles are being used for more practical applications as well. These include e-textiles being used in the gathering of biometric data via clothing or as a non-lethal self-defense through activating a blinding light array.

Transparent Aluminum

If it sounds like the stuff of science fiction, you would have been right: transparent aluminum features in the plot of the fourth Star Trek movie 'The Voyage Home'. However, this material has now crossed over into the realm of science reality, as a clear material three-times stronger than steel. While being able to use transparent aluminum to build ultrathin windows capable of withstanding direct bullet impacts is still a way off, the fact that it is being considered is a testament to the inventiveness and perseverance of science.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Grolltex Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit Grolltex Inc.

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