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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Future Super Materials in Aeronautics - 2

Metamaterials
 

Metamaterials are artificial materials engineered to have properties that may not be found in nature. They are assemblies of multiple individual elements fashioned from conventional microscopic materials such as metals or plastics, but the materials are usually arranged in specific patterns. Metamaterials gain their properties not from their composition, but from their structures. Their precise shape, geometry, size, orientation and arrangement can affect the waves of light or sound in an unconventional manner, creating material properties which are unachievable with conventional materials.
 
These metamaterials achieve desired effects by incorporating structural elements of sub-wavelength sizes, i.e. features that are actually smaller than the wavelength of the waves they affect. The primary research in metamaterials investigates materials with negative refractive indexes. Negative refractive index materials appear to permit the creation of lenses which literally bend light around them, allowing for an invisibility cloak. This is just one of the many applications of metamaterials, and will be of great interest to militaries, for who an invisible plane or troop transport will be a boon on the battlefield.
 
Nanodiamonds

Nanodiamond was demonstrated to be produced by the compression of graphite in 2003 and also found to be much harder than bulk diamond. This makes it the hardest known material, while also being incredibly strong, light and made of the most common element you can find - carbon. It is an amazing heat conductor and has the highest melting point of all materials. Machines built with this material would be lighter, stronger and more powerful than anything we have today. This bodes well for the aerospace industry, which is forever looking to cut down the costs on anything from fuel to the number of seats in the economy class of an airplane. Planes made of nanodiamonds will be extremely light, stronger than today's aircraft and can fly faster than every before.
 
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