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This New, Non-Cuttable Material Is Virtually Indestructible

[July 20, 2020: Popular Mechanics]



A new material called Proteus is billed as just 15 percent the density of steel, but completely resistant to being cut through. That means cyclists around the world may be blessed with truly inviolable locks for the first time ever.


People who want to steal the outdoor furniture from restaurant patios will have to cut the furniture now instead of the cable lock. Most importantly, TV writers will have to work even harder to make it seem easy to get into a locked electrical storage or nuclear facility.


Researchers in Germany and the U.K. have teamed up to make a material they say uses harmony and vibration to thwart any attempts to cut it. “Our architecture derives its extreme hardness from the local resonance between the embedded ceramics in a flexible cellular matrix and the attacking tool, which produces high-frequency vibrations at the interface,” they explain in their paper.



Inspired by naturally occurring examples like grapefruit skin or the mother of pearl lining of seashells, the researchers embedded tiny spheres of alumina ceramic between a layer of aluminum foam at the core and a layer of steel alloy on the outside. The process is tricky:... MORE