The new substance is the result of a feat thought to be impossible: polymerizing a material in two dimensions.
Using a novel polymerization process, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) chemical engineers have created a new material that is stronger than steel and as light as plastic, and can be easily manufactured in large quantities.
The new material is a two-dimensional polymer that self-assembles into sheets, unlike all other polymers, which form one-dimensional, spaghetti-like chains. Until now, scientists had believed it was impossible to induce polymers to form 2D sheets.
Such a material could be used as a lightweight, durable coating for car parts or cell phones, or as a building material for bridges or other structures, says Michael Strano, the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT and the senior author of the new study.
MIT: New lightweight material is stronger than steel