Monday, July 18, 2011

No. 293: New material as soft as rubber that grows as hard as plastic on magnet (July 18, 2011)

Tetsu Mitsumata, an assistance professor of Yamagata University, developed a new material as soft as rubber that grows as hard as plastic on magnet with a graduate school student in his laboratory. They mixed minute ferrous particles in rubber and successfully made it 180 times harder than the original rubber at a maximum depending on the size of the magnetic field. They put ferrous particles, each of which is 3 micrometers in diameter, in polyurethane resin. They applied the magnetic field of 300 millitesla to the new material with permanent magnet and found that the ferrous particles lined up and hardened in 0.1 second. A column of 3.5 cm in diameter and 5.0 cm in height made of this new material is hard enough to bear the weight of more tan 8 tons. It is possible to make it back to the original hardness by eliminating the magnetic field for scores of seconds. Research activities are under way to develop the same kind of materials worldwide, but they mostly succeeded in increasing the hardness by 3 times at the most. The new material developed by the assistant professor will collaborate with Panasonic Electric Works with a view to applying it to building a pedestal that absorbs an earthquake, producing materials to control car vibration, and developing functional furniture.

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