Editorial Feature

Why Put MXenes in Alloys?

MXenes are a class of 2D materials that have gained much attention in recent years due to their unique properties and potential applications in various fields. One of the most promising applications of MXenes is developing new alloys and composites with enhanced mechanical and physical properties. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using MXenes in alloys and composites and how these can revolutionize the field of material science.

Image Credit: Hywit Dimyadi/Shutterstock.com

What Are MXenes?

MXenes are a family of 2D materials first discovered in 2011 by two groups of Drexel University researchers led by Yury Gogotsi and Michel Barsoum. They are formed by selectively etching out the A layer of a MAX phase material, leaving behind a 2D layer of transition metal carbides, nitrides, or carbonitrides.

The resulting material has a layered structure similar to graphene but with a unique combination of metallic conductivity, hydrophilicity, and tunable surface chemistry. Their distinguishing features also include the presence of layered structures that can be easily exfoliated to form 2D sheets. MXenes are highly versatile, with the ability to be functionalized and tailored for specific applications.

The MXene family has grown rapidly in recent years, with over 30 types identified. Each MXene type has its unique set of properties, making them suitable for various applications, including energy storage, catalysis, sensors, and electronics.

Benefits of Using MXenes in Alloys/Composites

Recent studies have revealed that adding MXenes to alloys can offer many benefits, each with unique applications.

Firstly, incorporating MXenes into alloys/composites can enhance their mechanical properties, providing greater strength and toughness. This property is highly sought after in industries such as aerospace and construction, where materials are exposed to high-stress environments. Additionally, MXenes can improve electrical conductivity when used in electronic applications, where materials with high conductivity are essential.

Another benefit of MXenes is their high corrosion resistance, which is highly desirable in harsh environments. They can protect alloys and composites from corrosion caused by exposure to acids, bases, and saltwater. Furthermore, MXenes are lightweight, making them highly sought after in applications where weight is critical, such as in the automotive and aerospace industries.

Lastly, MXenes can also enhance the thermal properties of alloys and composites, making them ideal for applications where heat transfer is essential. The versatility of MXenes makes them highly desirable for a wide range of industries.

Potential Applications of MXene-Alloy Composites

MXene-alloy composites exhibit excellent mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties, making them suitable for numerous applications.

One potential application of MXene-alloy composites is in the field of energy storage. These materials have high capacitance and can store more energy than traditional capacitors. They also have the potential to replace expensive and heavy batteries in various applications, such as electric vehicles and portable electronic devices.

Another potential application is in the field of sensing. MXene-alloy composites have a high surface area and can detect various gases and chemicals, making them suitable for gas and biosensors. They can also be used in water purification systems to remove heavy metals and other contaminants from the water.

Furthermore, MXene-alloy composites have potential applications in the field of catalysis. They exhibit excellent catalytic activity, which can be used for various industrial processes, such as the production of hydrogen fuel.

MXene-alloy composites are also being studied for their potential use in biomedical applications. They can be used in drug delivery systems, tissue engineering, and as biosensors for disease diagnosis.

Conclusion and Prospects

MXenes are a highly versatile class of 2D materials that offer numerous benefits when incorporated into alloys and composites. The potential for these materials to enhance mechanical, electrical, thermal, and corrosion-resistant properties makes them highly desirable in a wide range of industries.

Adding MXenes to alloys can revolutionize the field of material science, leading to the development of highly efficient and durable products.

Despite their many benefits, the market for MXene-alloy composites is still in its early stages, making it challenging to predict the impact they will have on the industry. However, the potential applications of MXene-alloy composites are vast, with opportunities for new markets and novel applications.

For instance, MXene-alloy composites could be used for smart textiles, flexible electronics, self-healing materials, shape-memory materials, or thermoelectric materials. As material scientists continue to research MXenes, more exciting potential applications for these materials will be discovered.

MXene-alloy composites have the potential to be a game-changer in material science, and the demand for these materials is expected to grow rapidly in the future. Material scientists, manufacturers, and researchers are encouraged to explore the possibilities of incorporating MXenes into alloys and composites to create highly efficient and durable products.

The future of materials science looks bright with the emergence of MXenes and their potential to revolutionize the industry.

Continue reading: How MXene Nanomaterials Are Unlocking Future Nanotechnologies

References and Further Reading

Davey, R. (2022). How Can We Use MXene–Metal Composites? [Online]. Azom.com. Available at: https://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=58820 (Accessed on 2 April 2023).

Mohajer, F., Ziarani, G.M., Badiei, A., Iravani, S. and Varma, R.S. (2023). MXene-Carbon Nanotube Composites: Properties and Applications. Nanomaterials, 13(2), p. 345. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13020345

Prakash, N.J., Kandasubramanian, B. (2021). Nanocomposites of MXene for industrial applications. Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 862, p. 158547. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jallcom.2020.158547

Sun, Z. (2022). MXene chemistry, electrochemistry and energy storage applications. Nature Reviews Chemistry, 6(2), pp. 84-103. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41570-022-00384-8

Tran, M.H., Schäfer, T., Shahraei, A., Dürrschnabel, M., Molina-Luna, L., Kramm, U.I. and Birkel, C.S. (2018). Adding a new member to the MXene family: synthesis, structure, and electrocatalytic activity for the hydrogen evolution reaction of V4C3Tx. ACS Applied Energy Materials, 1(8), pp. 3908-3914. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsaem.8b00652

Zhan, X., Si, C., Zhou, J. and Sun, Z. (2020). MXene and MXene-based composites: synthesis, properties and environment-related applications. Nanoscale Horizons, 5(5), pp. 820-853. https://doi.org/10.1039/C9NH00571D

Zhan, X., Si, C., Zhou, J. and Sun, Z. (2020). MXene and MXene-based composites: synthesis, properties and environment-related applications. Nanoscale Horizons, 5(19), pp. 10395-10428. https://doi.org/10.1039/C9NH00571D

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Blaise Manga Enuh

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Blaise Manga Enuh

Blaise Manga Enuh has primary interests in biotechnology and bio-safety, science communication, and bioinformatics. Being a part of a multidisciplinary team, he has been able to collaborate with people of different cultures, identify important project needs, and work with the team to provide solutions towards the accomplishment of desired targets. Over the years he has been able to develop skills that are transferrable to different positions which have helped his accomplish his work.

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