When it comes to engineered products, we often focus more on the end result, but the individual components that make up these items can be just as impressive. Here is a look at five of the trends that will make a big impact on materials engineering in the future.
Exceptionally thin materials
Graphite is an extremely useful material, but it can be even more beneficial if it’s manufactured into a very thin layer. Scientists have been working for several years to create a layer that is only as thick as a single atom yet is very flexible, light, strong, resistant to oxidisation, flawless and able to carry a charge.
The use of multiferroics
Typically, ferroelectricity and magnetism aren’t exhibited at the same time by the same material, but some materials can achieve this, especially metal oxides. This enables electric fields to be used to store data, which is considerably easier to create than a magnetic field; however, magnetism is still present so the data can be stored in this way, too.
3D printing technology has come a long way since it was first developed, but there are still many new ways it can be used. Currently, the majority of the applications manufacture prototypes quickly and at a cost-effective price, such as those for silicone hose manufacturers like https://www.goodflexrubber.com/pages/silicone-hose-manufacturer. However, new innovations, such as electric inks, will open up the ways in which this technology can be beneficial. This would allow the printers to produce LEDs, solar cells, antennas and many other electric components.
Improving lithium-ion batteries
Increasing the lithium capacity of electrode materials will enable higher-density batteries to be manufactured, which could then improve the efficiency of electric cars and other products. Scientists have now discovered that if silicon spheres are combined with boron and pores are etched onto them, the resulting battery can store three times the amount of energy and is able to charge in only 10 minutes. Currently, they only work for around 200 cycles, but further improvements are expected.
Nanotube pencils have previously been developed that enabled nanotubes to be sketched whenever needed, but they had their limitations. Researchers have not created a nanotube thread that is flexible and long enough and ten times stronger than steel with the conductive power of copper.