Engineers have created a revolutionary type of polymer, called 2DPA-1, that promises greater strength then ever before while remaining remarkably light weight. Typically, polymers (which include all plastics), consist of chains of building blocks called monomers. These one-dimensional chains grow by adding new molecules onto their ends. The new two-dimensional polymer was created by chemical engineers at MIT and is the only substance that self-assembles into sheets, providing steel-like strength, perfect for use with construction materials. The substance is also very lightweight, and can be spun into a thin protective shield, making it a great way to protect products like the exterior housing of your cell phone.

So how strong is the 2D material? it’s twice as hard to break as steel and 4-6 times harder to deform than bulletproof glass. It’s also impermeable to gases providing engineers the ability to create ultrathin coatings that completely prevent water or gases from getting through. This type of barrier coating could be used to coat car parts or other steel structures, protecting them from rust and the elements.

The Polymers Center helps companies research materials through a wide variety of tests in our testing laboratory. We can help develop prototypes and processes for creating new products. Contact us to learn more about how we can work hand in hand with your company’s research and development team.