Scientists have finally found a way to keep me protected during my nights of crime fighting — boron.
By weaving boron — the third hardest element known to man — into the carbon of cotton, scientists create a little forest of ultra-hard boron spikes. These little spikes can essentially create something that is harder than steel but light-weight and flexible.
USC professor Dr. Xiaodong Li authored a paper detailing the breakthrough and said it is a “conceptual change in fabricating lightweight, fuel-efficient, super-strong and ultra-tough materials.”
Instead of getting me a sleek crime fighting body suit, Li has other applications in mind.
Unlike the brittle boron carbide currently in use, the synthesized fibers (“nanowires”) are super-elastic. Yet they maintain the same strength and stiffness of their predecessors. “They are not only lightweight but also flexible,” Li says. “We should be able to fabricate much tougher body armors using this new technique. It could even be used to produce lightweight, fuel-efficient cars and aircrafts.”