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New Materials Technology and Applications

(University of Michigan at Ann Arbor)


The Age of New Materials and The Materials Revolution



The Materials Revolution


Throughout history, materials and advances in material technology have influenced humankind. Now, we just might be on the verge of the next shift in this type of technology, enabling products and functions we never believed possible. The materials of the future have three key criteria to meet. They must be durable, lightweight, and economical. This is due to the simple reason that it is now recognized that our natural resources are finite. To be able to keep making technological advancements in the 21st century, societies need to adapt their manufacturing so they get as much done with as little as possible.

Demands from industry are requiring that materials be lighter, tougher, thinner, denser, and more flexible or rigid, as well as to be heat- and wear-resistant. At the same time, researchers are pushing the boundaries of what we imagine is possible, seeking to improve and enhance existing materials, and at the same time, come up with completely new materials that, while years away from day-to-day use, take us down entirely new, technological pathways. It is, therefore, necessary for the technological marvels of tomorrow to consist of materials which can withstand the elements while also requiring minimal energy to operate. 

For the future entrepreneurs or inventors or a combination of the two, learning what materials already exist and committing them to memory is probably a worthwhile use of brain cells. Here is a quick reference to get started:

Some of the following materials may be decades away from being of use to the majority of us and yet others may change our world forever, This list is far from exhaustive and in no particular order. Aerogel, Graphene, Artificial Spider Silk, Carbon Nanotubes, MetaMaterials, Metallic Glass., Metal Foam, Transparent Alumina, E-textiles, Molecular superglue.


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