Two Russian scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize for discovery of a one-atom thick material called graphene that has significant potential for electronic applications, including semiconductors. In what appeared to be just a wacky experiment at the time, they applied Scotch tape to a sheet of graphite and extracted the extremely thin, totally transparent material with excellent strength and electrical properties.
Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov will split the prize of about $1.4 million.
Hundreds of researchers are now exploring potential for the material as ultracapacitors, sensors, touchscreens, liquid crystal displays, organic photovoltaic cells, and organic light-emitting diodes.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
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