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Northwestern University researchers have become the first to image and analyze a class of nanostructures that are stronger and lighter than steel and that could be used in the transportation industry, possibly as hard coatings on gears to improve the efficiency of vehicles or as an oxidation-resistant outer coating for airplane windows.
Once developed fully, the nanostructures also could be embedded in other materials, such as polymers, to increase their strength. “”Knowledge of these exotic new structures will open the doors to making novel hard coatings for a variety of materials,”” said Laurence Marks, director of the new Center for Transportation Nanotechnology at Northwestern. “”Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the BN nanostructures will enable us to make better materials at a reasonable cost.””
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