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Fibrous stainless steel
These super fine wisps of grey fluff are in fact tiny filaments of stainless steel. Each strand is around a 10th of the thickness of a human hair and make for form of steel like no other – one that is soft and able to be spun into yarns and woven into cloth. If you hold a magnet against the fibres you can see each little hair rise and fall. It still has the weight of steel and is for some a skin irritant as the super fine fibres can tickle. The fibres can be combined with other materials to produce a variety of effects like embedded conductivity and structural reinforcement. Explore fibrous stainless steel on the Institute of Making website: https://www.instituteofmaking.org.uk/materials-library/material/fibrous-stainless-steel.

Shared with the World by Dr Zoe Laughlin

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Ridged aluminium honeycomb
Aluminium honeycomb structures can take many different forms – from regular hexagons, to partially compressed diamonds, to elongated, reinforced shapes. Mimicking the geometry of natural honeycomb, these widely varied structures all have one common feature - an array of hollow cells between two thin vertical walls. The combination of strong side panels with light-weight honeycomb core, commonly referred to as sandwich construction, makes for a very solid form through the use of minimal material. With a high strength-to-weight ratio and minimal density honeycomb structures exhibit structural integrity as well as insulative qualities. By increasing the depth, such as this sample, one can increase structural strength along the shape’s Y plane, but if compressed along the X plane this shape will easily deform due to its thin walls. Aluminium honeycomb is widely used throughout aerospace applications (including aircraft and rockets), as well as within architectural applications. But it can also be found in everyday products like packaging material and cardboard. Explore ridged aluminium honeycomb on the Institute of Making website: https://www.instituteofmaking.org.uk/materials-library/material/ridged-aluminium-honeycomb.

Shared with the World by Dr Zoe Laughlin

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Shape memory actuator
This metallic wire shaped in a form of a spring is made of a special alloy of nickel and titanium (commonly termed a shape memory alloy) that is able to contract 4% or more when heated and then return to its original shape when cooling. This material’s ability to contract upon heating makes it useful in mechanical devices where heat, which is usually precisely delivered through an electric current, is used to generate some kind of motion. Shape memory actuators (SMA) are found in a wide variety of applications, from medical devices (portable insulin pumps) to computers and vending machines. Explore shape memory actuators on the Institute of Making website: https://www.instituteofmaking.org.uk/materials-library/material/shape-memory-actuator.

Shared with the World by Dr Zoe Laughlin

This list was generated on Wed Feb 28 14:55:29 2024 UTC.