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Nanofibers stronger than steel

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  • Categories
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    28th Jan, 2021


  • Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have constructed small molecules which when added with water form nanofibers. These hard and rigid molecules become so tough that they it can hold about 200 times their own weight.

What are nanofibers?

  • Nanofibersare fibers with diameters in the nanometer range.
  • Nanofibers can be generated from different polymers and hence have different physical properties and application potentials.
  • Collagen, cellulose, silk-fibroin, keratin, gelatin and polysaccharides such as chitosan and alginate are example of natural fibres and synthetic polymers include poly(lactic acid) (PLA), polycaprolactone.

Properties of nanofibres

  • large surface area-to-volume ratio
  • high porosity
  • appreciable mechanical strength
  • flexibility in functionalization compared to their microfiber counterparts

Methods of nanofibres making

  • Drawing
  • Electrospinning 
  • Self-assembly
  • Template synthesis
  • Thermal-induced phase separation 

Use of Nanofibres

Nanofibers have many possible technological and commercial applications. They are used in tissue engineering, drug delivery, seed coating material, cancer diagnosis,  lithium-air battery, optical sensors and air filtration

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