The name is strange, and the material seems to possess otherworldly strength, but it's all very serious. Buckypaper is a new material composed of carbon nanotubes that promises to revolutionize composite materials. Stacking sheets of buckypaper together nets a material that's 500 times stronger than steel, yet 10 times lighter. Florida State University is working on making the material inexpensive to produce in large batches of ultra-strong sheets, and the possible applications are wide and varied. Airplanes, automobiles, household items, the possibilities are endless, though we'd be most interested to see buckypaper mature to the point where it can comprise a monocoque shell for an automobile. There are challenges to getting the nanotubes to arrange properly for high strength, and bonding something with such surface smoothness is also difficult, but the promise of a new wonder-material has built a lot of excitement and could one day replace carbon fiber as the exotic material of choice to both lighten and strengthen our cars at the same time. Thanks for the tip, everyone!


[Source: Baltimore Sun]


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