We can make strong material like graphene, but we also make hardened material, even harder than diamond. Hyperdiamonds or Aggregated Diamond Nanorods are the hardest most dense and least compressible mayterial we know of. Diamonds are hard because of the molecular structure, each carbon atom forms 4 covalent bonds with the carbon atoms around it, which forms the hardest possible crystal structure. Hyperdiamond is an even more wear resistent type of diamond. This material is made up of many tiny interlocked diamond crystals rather than one single structure. They can be made in a lab by applying extreme heat and pressure to graphite. Diamonds are frequently used for industrial jobs like grinding and polishing because they’re so tough. But hyperdiamonds can be even useful than regular diamonds because they’re even more resistant to the temperature and pressure changes that can wear diamond down over time
What about invisibility or cloacking technology? In 2015 scientists designed a very very thin material about 80 nanometers thick, that could hide equally tiny objects. In order for us to see an object light has to bounce off of it and any distortion of that light reveal it’s shape and features. This invisibility material uses teny tiny brick shaped gold antennas to counteract that natural light distortion. So when this cloack is wrapped around an object any light bouncing off of it looks like it’s coming froma perfectly flat mirror, hiding the fact that the cloack and object are even there. Theoretically you could even adjust the gold antennas to make the reflected light look like any object or background. This technology only hides microscopic objects right now so scientists need to figure out how to scale up the idea before we could use the cloaking technology on larger objects, like soldiers.
These nanostructures are the smallest part yet they make a huge impact. The prefix nano means something really small, like 10 to the negative 9 small. 0.000000001 centimeters. Nano has been oaired with materials, bots, optics and other super clicky topics, scientists and engineers are working tirelessly to build nanostrucutes. Because of the physics advantages of these projects. In 2016 the journal nature materials published a paper detailing the smallest lattice structure ever created by humans. This is important because building things at these tiny scales hack the laws of physics. Creations like these are called metamaterials because even though it’s made of carbon, it has properties that are way different than the normal material. In this case the strength to densioty ratio is 6 times higher than previously created materials. Engneers and scientists think they could use this new metamaterial for batteries or other electrochemical purposes. Metamaterials are basically specifically arrangements of plastics or metals that take advantage of a tendancy hidden in those elements, usually regarding the electromagentic spectrum. For example, the reason you can see trees is because they’re made of atom that wasn’t speicifcally arranged. But with the right design a metamaterial could reroute electrical waves around an object, this is called negative refraction, which gives the illusion of invisibility. It was predicted by russian physicist Victor Vesilago in teh 1960s and since the founding of metamaterials as a field of nanotechnology, it has been covered ad nauseum as a possible technological harry potter or predator invisibility cloak.
The promises that in the coming decades with carbon nanotubes, with graphene, will create even new substances which can replace the silicon of computers, maybe even give us a space elevator. Graphene is a substance made of a one molecule thick layer of carbon atoms . That graphene is so strong in principle you can put the elephant on a pencil, suspend the elephant on the pencil, put the pencil on the sheet of grapnehe, and the graphene will not break. It is the strongest material known to science at the present day. Graphene is a one atom thick, perfect electrical capacitor. Roll it into tubes, it becomes super strong carbon nanotubes. Layer it with copper and you get a metamaterial. A highly engineered structure that is 500 times stronger than the pure metal itself. The best part is that this graphene can be printed with a regular inkjet printer. Thanks to researchers at the university of Utah, metamaterials can be created using regular 4 color inkjet printers loaded with carbon and silver ink. Using that researchers were able to build 10 different sample prototypes in a fraction of the time of traditional manufacturing. The materials can be tested against terrahertz waves to ensure that they block and reflect them just right. The researchers were pumped that office equipmetn can create super intricate plasmonic metamaterials. The researchers say the ability to create these prototypes might revolutionize the engineering of wireless data transmission, magnetic materials, the sensing of biological weapons, and even space craft insulation. There are several different approaches that scientists use to hide an object. One technique involves bending light to mask the object. Another method is to render an object virtually transparent to microwaves, by using metamaterials, which are basically lab mad materials not found in nature to prevent the waves from scattering after contacting the object in question. Though the effect created by these metamaterials isn’t quite transparent enough yet.
Another approach to invisibility is making something so dark that the human eye can’t actually see it, especially at night. The Natural Physical Laboratory in the UK have recently invented the darkest material known to man called Vantablack. It is darker than the blackest of blacks, it is so dark that almost no light can escape it. It’s absorbed 99.965% of photons that hit it. It’s made from carbon nanotubes that trap any light that hits them. It’s so dark that you can’t even see how fdark it is because your computer monitor is not capable of reproducing such a dark black. If you cover any object with vantablack it immediately removes any 3d ness from it, turning it into a completely 2d black spot, blending into the horizon in the night sky. For this reason, the military is ordering it in vast quantities to make armor for shocktroopers, they are suspected to use it to cloack military aircraft and naval vessels at night.
What if you could see the complete absence of light? the darker something looks the more light its absorbing and the less it’s reflecting back at your eyes. So a black hole which absorbs 100% of all light is the darkest thing possible, but you’ll never see a black hole in person. A new material clled vantablack is pretty close to complete and total darkness. And this stuff is freakylooking. Back in 2012 the british company Surrey nanosystems started developing Vantablack. A coating that’s made to absorb as much light as possible. The first version of vanta black released in 2014 absorbed 99.965% of all visible light that hit it. In march of 2016 the company announced that it created a new version of vantablack called vantablack 2, it absorbs so much light that they can’t even measure how much it’s absorbing. With either version of vantablack so little light gets reflected that your eyes can’t figure out what they’re looking at. A black chalkboard reflects 7% of the light that hits it, so you can see the natural texture. You can see the bumps and cracks on asphalt becuase it still reflects 4% of light hits it. An object coated with vantablack on the other hand, reflects so little light that all of it’s surface details vanish. Even crumpled up aluminum foil looks flat when coated with vantablack. The VANTA stands for Vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays, which makes sense since the material is made of hollow carbon nanotubes 1 meter in diameter. It’s made with specially designed chamnber and heat lamps which raise the temperature to above 430 degrees celsius. Each carbon nanotube or CNT is 10 thousand times thinner than a human hair. So small that photons, the particles that make up light, can’t get inside the tubes. But 99 % of Vantablack is actually just free space. Light goes between the tubes where it gets trapped and turned into heat, in other words, it’s absorbed. A material that absorbes almost all light has huge implications in the military. Vantablack is also incredibly strong, in the sense that it can resist the vibration and shock of a rocket launch so it can be used as a coating for military aircraft or spacecraft. There is a spreay on form of vantablack put it has to be applied by a specialist. f it’s not applied in just the right way the material in the spray won’t bind together and the coating won’t work properly. Anything coated by the material looks 2 dimensional, so it can any depth of movement for military troops moving at night.
Carbon nanofibers or vapor grown carbon nanofibers are cylindric nanostructures with graphene layers arranged as stacked cones, cups or plates. We’ve figured out how to pull carbon nanofibers out of thin air. Carbon nanofibers, more precisely the production of carbon nanofiber, a material used in high end electronics like computers and smart phones. and can also be used to improve carbon composit materials in cars, airplanes, or spacecraft, where strong lightweigth material is a necessity. Normally the fabrication of this material is very expensive, prevented it from being used in common household aplications. Often cheaper materials such as plastics will suffice. But now scientists from geroge washington university have invented a low energy system that can be used to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into valuable carbon nanofibers. It gets rid of useless carbon dioxzide from the atmosphere and makes a rare material. According to BBC news and laboratory tests, scientits put together a bath of molten salts and dropped some elctrodes in the baths. They then passed an electrical current through the salt and let it do its thing. Through a chemical reaction, black sooty residue began to form around the electrodes and the black stuff is carbon nanofibers. This system converts carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to this carbon residue at a rate of 10 grams per hour. And this is just a laboratory test, can you imagine what it could do once the system is scaled up for industrial use? The inventors want to scale it up to tap into a limitless supply of carbon dioxide, but perhaps one more lofty goal is to possibly help slow the global warming trend by pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide as we all know is a potent greenhouse gas, and our burning of fossil fuels is showing no signs of halting. It could be used as a ressource for infdustrial scale carbon nanofiber cfactories. But some scientists aren’t convinced they can be scaled up to the point where they can make a difference in the global co2 level. But the technology would produce an endless supply of carbon nanofibers whioch are biodegradable and can replace plastic. It could transform industrila applications for the material driving doewn the price and revolutioonizing certain products and technologies.