Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New spongy material instantly hardens on exposure to magnetism [Materials]

A new kind of material (of which currently no actual picture exists anywhere) with the consistency of pudding that hardens instantly when exposed to magnetism has been developed by a team of researchers at Japan’s Yamagata University. And once the substance, a mix between high polymer and iron oxide granules, hardens, it can become up to 500 times stiffer than plastic.
The researchers say when the magnetic field is 300 milli-tesla strong, for example, the material hardens 300-fold in under one second. The iron oxide granules are spread randomly throughout the gel-like material, but when magnetized, they align in rows and stiffen the gel, which is made of more than 50% water.
The gel could be used in card and trains one day to dampen vibrations. Furniture makers could adjust the softness of chairs and other furniture.
[CrunchGear via Nikkei]

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