A Monash University-led team of scientists has developed a new recyclable material for the construction industry, as well as for space exploration too.
The material in question are archimats – an emerging area of ‘architectured’ materials that have an organized intertwined or interlocked inner architecture.
This gives them an extra degree of freedom to expand the design space – something conventional composite materials such as concrete do not possess.
According to the scientists, archimats can be engineered to have superior strength, enhanced ductility, a high tolerance to damage, good thermal insulation and sound absorption.
They can also better absorb energy, as well as provide improved compliance and flexibility.
One way of achieving this is through severe plastic deformation (SPD) – a special metalworking technique that results in an ultrafine grain size or nanocrystalline structure.
The structural patterns caused by SPD processing could thus help improve the mechanical characteristics and physical properties of materials.
Apart from finding uses in the construction industry, archimats can also be used to build or rebuild structures in arid or disaster-affected zones.
It could also be used for extra-terrestrial and space construction, and in smart toys and games, such as 2D and 3D puzzles.
According to professor Yuri Estrin, who led the study, archimats are also suitable for micro manufacturing.
They can be produced using desktop or benchtop manufacturing processes, without the need for heavy equipment and large amounts of material.”
They could also prove useful for microelectromechanical systems, micro devices and miniaturized drones – as well as superior structural materials for the automotive and aerospace industries.
Image and content: Monash University