MIT researchers have developed a spongelike material 10 times stronger than steel

Stainless steel? Don’t make us laugh! A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has just developed one of the strongest lightweight materials known to man, woman and, well, frankly every living creature on Earth. Formed by compressing and fusing flakes of graphene using a combination of heat and pressure, the resulting creation boasts a sponge-like configuration with just 5 percent density of steel — but 10 times its strength.

Based on all-around wonder material graphene, MIT’s new discovery is described this month in the journal Science Advances. The new 3D graphene material has a labyrinthine structure composed of a continuous surface of its 2D counterpart.

“The curvature of the surface in the 3D space is caused by distribution of pentagon and heptagon rings in [a] certain way, making the geometry feature different from planar 2D graphene, which is composed of carbon atoms that are arranged in hexagonal rings,” researcher Zhao Qin told Digital Trends.

The material was created in a lab at MIT using a high-resolution, multi-material 3D printer.

mit material 10x steel figure 3 2

It’s not just strength that’s exciting about the new graphene material, however. Two-dimensional flat sheets of graphene are immensely strong, but due to their incredible thinness, aren’t particularly useful for making 3D materials which can be used in the real world. That no longer has to be the case.

“Having the ability to design and predict the mechanical function of such porous 3D carbon material will allow us to reach a series of lightweight bulk materials, with known density and mechanical functions, for wide engineering applications,” Qin continued. “These applications in architecture, infrastructure, and the building world in general may eventually help to reduce the usage of the conventional materials, such as steel, and hence effectively reduce the building weight and handling labor cost. The high strength and high chemical resistance of such carbon materials can also help to make architecture and infrastructure more resilient.”

In other words, and with any luck. graphene houses — here we come!

Photography

MIT science photographer isn’t an artist, but her work could fill galleries

Felice Frankel is an award-winning photographer, but she doesn't consider herself an artist. As a science photographer, she has been helping researchers better communicate their ideas for nearly three decades with eye-catching imagery.
Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?
Emerging Tech

This exotic new material somehow gets thicker when stretched

Scientists at the U.K.’s University of Leeds have discovered a synthetic material which actually gets thicker the more it’s stretched. Here are some of the things it could be used for.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Emerging Tech

Scoot your commute! Here are the 9 best electric scooters on the market

Electric scooters are an affordable, convenient way to minimize your carbon footprint and zip around town. Check out 8 of our current favorites, whether you're working with a budget or have some cash to spare.
Features

Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Hear the sounds of wind on Mars from InSight’s latest audio recording

NASA's InSight craft has captured the sound of the wind blowing on the surface of Mars. The audio file was picked up by the air pressure sensor and the seismometer which detected vibrations from the 10 to 15 mph winds in the area.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.
Business

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.