People who have lived in a home with a large and ornate wall in the past might be a little surprised to learn that the walls are still very strong and durable, and there’s still room for a lot of creativity.
It turns out that there’s a lot more room for design, too.
A new report from a team of scientists at The University of Texas at Austin has discovered that, at the molecular level, walls are able to support structures, including human cells, without collapsing, and they can also keep water and debris out.
They were also able to develop a technique that would help build these structures.
The findings were published in Nature Communications.
(The paper also has a link to the paper on arXiv.)
The team has spent years trying to understand how walls hold up to the elements and how they maintain structural integrity, but these results were a big step forward.
They’ve been able to build these types of structures by using “super-cool” nanorobotics.
Nanorobots are tiny, electrically conductive robots that can move at very high speeds, and their ability to move across surfaces enables them to do amazing things, such as make small cracks in walls.
“Our study shows how this super-cool, nano-based nanorobe can also hold up and survive in harsh conditions,” said researcher Alex Bortz of The University.
“Its also possible to use it to build structures of any shape, size, or density.”
The team developed a super-cold nanorowire nanocomposite that’s able to form a “superstrong, flexible, and water-resistant” wall.
They then used this structure to build their own giant wall.
The researchers also found that the super-strong, water-resisting nanocomposes could be used to build walls that would have the same properties as natural stone walls.
The super-fast super-resilient nanocomposition is a form of nanostructures that can be used for both structural and functional purposes.
The team also discovered that the nanocompose also held up to extreme temperatures.
“We were able to get these super-super-fast nanocompoises up to over 800 degrees Celsius, which is about the boiling point of water,” said Bortzz.
They could then heat the nanostructure, creating an extremely brittle nanocomplet that would eventually collapse under its own weight.
The nanocomposing structures were also stable and water and dust could be kept out of the nanomaterials.
“This could open the door for building structures that would be strong and water resistant at any temperature,” Bortnz said.
The discovery could also open the way for building smaller, smaller walls.
In a future study, Bortez and his team will be able to see how the nanoscale structures hold up under stress, and how the properties of nanomagnets can be applied to different materials.
The research team is currently working on a more robust nanocomprint to be used in the construction of walls for more complex structures.
If the nanosheets do become a viable option for building wall, it would be an incredible boon to homeowners.
For now, the nanotechnology research team can only do so much.
“There are very few structures that can survive extreme environments,” Bertz said.
“For example, if you can get water into your house from the outside, that would not be a very strong barrier to your structure, but if you have a structure with a lot going on inside, that could be very strong.”
For more about building wall with nanocomples, check out the Nature Communications article.
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