Freelancer Community Network

Important Message

You are browsing the archived Lancers Reactor forums. You cannot register or login.
The content may be outdated and links may not be functional.

To get the latest in Freelancer news, mods, modding and downloads, go to

Transparent aluminum ?? wheres Scotty ??

This is where you can discuss your homework, family, just about anything, make strange sounds and otherwise discuss things which are really not related to the Lancer-series. Yes that means you can discuss other games.

Post Sat Oct 06, 2007 1:34 pm

Transparent aluminum ?? wheres Scotty ??

New Plastic Is Strong As Steel, Transparent
Science Daily — By mimicking a brick-and-mortar molecular structure found in seashells, University of Michigan researchers created a composite plastic that's as strong as steel but lighter and transparent.

Detailed views of the new composite plastic that's as strong as steel but lighter and transparent. It's made of layers of clay nanosheets and a water-soluble polymer that shares chemistry with white glue. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Michigan)Ads by Google Advertise on this site

It's made of layers of clay nanosheets and a water-soluble polymer that shares chemistry with white glue.

Engineering professor Nicholas Kotov almost dubbed it "plastic steel," but the new material isn't quite stretchy enough to earn that name. Nevertheless, he says its further development could lead to lighter, stronger armor for soldiers or police and their vehicles. It could also be used in microelectromechanical devices, microfluidics, biomedical sensors and valves and unmanned aircraft.

Kotov and other U-M faculty members are authors of a paper on this composite material, "Ultrastrong and Stiff Layered Polymer Nanocomposites," published in the Oct. 5 edition of Science.

The scientists solved a problem that has confounded engineers and scientists for decades: Individual nano-size building blocks such as nanotubes, nanosheets and nanorods are ultrastrong. But larger materials made out of bonded nano-size building blocks were comparatively weak. Until now.

"When you tried to build something you can hold in your arms, scientists had difficulties transferring the strength of individual nanosheets or nanotubes to the entire material," Kotov said. "We've demonstrated that one can achieve almost ideal transfer of stress between nanosheets and a polymer matrix."

The researchers created this new composite plastic with a machine they developed that builds materials one nanoscale layer after another.

The robotic machine consists of an arm that hovers over a wheel of vials of different liquids. In this case, the arm held a piece of glass about the size of a stick of gum on which it built the new material.

The arm dipped the glass into the glue-like polymer solution and then into a liquid that was a dispersion of clay nanosheets. After those layers dried, the process repeated. It took 300 layers of each the glue-like polymer and the clay nanosheets to create a piece of this material as thick as a piece of plastic wrap.

Mother of pearl, the iridescent lining of mussel and oyster shells, is built layer-by-layer like this. It's one of the toughest natural mineral-based materials.

The glue-like polymer used in this experiment, which is polyvinyl alcohol, was as important as the layer-by-layer assembly process. The structure of the "nanoglue" and the clay nanosheets allowed the layers to form cooperative hydrogen bonds, which gives rise to what Kotov called "the Velcro effect." Such bonds, if broken, can reform easily in a new place.

The Velcro effect is one reason the material is so strong. Another is the arrangement of the nanosheets. They're stacked like bricks, in an alternating pattern.

"When you have a brick-and-mortar structure, any cracks are blunted by each interface," Kotov explained. "It's hard to replicate with nanoscale building blocks on a large scale, but that's what we've achieved."

Collaborators include: mechanical engineering professor Ellen Arruda; aerospace engineering professor Anthony Waas; chemical, materials science and biomedical engineering professor Joerg Lahann; and chemistry professor Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy. Kotov is a professor of chemical engineering, materials science and engineering, and biomedical engineering.

The nanomechanical behavior of these materials is being modeled by professor Arruda's group; Waas and his group are working on applications in aviation.

Post Sat Oct 06, 2007 2:55 pm

they've been warned about ignoring the potential consequences of breaching the Temporal Prime Directive. now the timeline's been polluted - transparent aluminum isn't supposed to be invented for another two centuries yet!

Edited by - Tawakalna on 10/14/2007 4:05:23 AM

Post Sat Oct 06, 2007 5:08 pm

It was inwented by Rossia!

Post Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:35 am

like the nuclear wessels, keptin?

Post Sun Oct 07, 2007 4:20 pm

If it mimics the hardness of steel, then I would still see it as closer to the "Star Wars" concept of "plasteel" than transparent aluminium.

Edited by - esquilax on 10/7/2007 5:22:02 PM

Post Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:56 am

I first saw a reference to "Plasteel" in Frank Hurbert's, Dune. That was out long before Star Wars was written.

us dummy capitalvists are still mucking around with standard petrolium products.

Post Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:12 pm

I beleive that KITT, the incredibly camp talking car from "Knight Rider" was also made out of "plasteel" and I definitely remember that it was used in Clive Cussler's novel "Raise the Titanic!"

I also think, but I'm not sure, that it was mentioned in Asimov's Foundation series which easily would predate Star Wars. But I'm not 100% on it.

Post Tue Oct 09, 2007 5:19 am


Plasteel was first mentioned in sci-fi in 1957 in a piece written for a magazine by Harlan Ellison: Run for the Stars. That's 50 years ago folks!

I also thought that the prescient Isaac Asimov would have had a hand in it but so far no citations from that quarter.

Edited by - indy11 on 10/9/2007 6:19:20 AM

Post Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:54 pm

Plasteel eh? Whats next? Duracrete? Bondanium Alloy?

Ishnu Daldiesh Friends

Return to Off Topic

Hosted by The-Starport
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by ST Software for PTF.