scorecardResearchers develop Black Panther suit-like material that can absorb and release large amounts of energy
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Researchers develop Black Panther suit-like material that can absorb and release large amounts of energy

Researchers develop Black Panther suit-like material that can absorb and release large amounts of energy
LifeScience2 min read
  • Researchers have engineered a new powerful rubber-like material
  • It is designed to absorb and release very large amounts of energy.
  • The material can be used in areas where high-force impacts or lightning-quick responses are needed.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have engineered a new rubber-like material that can absorb and release very large amounts of energy. This new material can be used in areas like robotics, building protective gear and more.

Alfred Crosby, professor of polymer science and engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, explained this material with the simplest example of a rubber band. "You pull it back, and when you let it go, it flies across the room. Now imagine a super rubber band. When you stretch it past a certain point, you activate extra energy stored in the material. When you let this rubber band go, it flies for a mile," Crosby said.

It’s made out of a new metamaterial containing an elastic and rubber-like substance along with tiny magnets embedded in it. This material can also take advantage of a physical property known as a phase shift that makes it capable of releasing or absorbing energy. One might be reminded of the Black Panther suit that is capable of absorbing kinetic based attacks such as bullet shots, penetrating blades, and crushing blows. It goes without saying that the material is in the research phase and holds no properties of the fictional Vibranium suit.

Crosby explained that getting enough energy through a phase shift is the difficult part but the team could achieve it by using metamaterials. Crosby added that they have “not only made new materials but also developed the design algorithms that allow these materials to be programmed with specific responses, making them predictable.”

Since this elastic material has tiny magnets, the phase transitions can be controlled to do exactly what the researchers want and that is either “absorbing the energy from a large impact, or releasing great quantities of energy for explosive movement.”

In real-world applications, the material can be used in scenarios where high-force impacts or lightning-quick responses are needed.

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