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Erik Rakhou

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Can we replace current materials by abundant lighter alternatives?

Imagine ceramics could replace metal as material? The weight of cars and buildings would immediately be reduced, resulting in much less energy consumption. Let alone, count the savings because of abundant availability of basic resource for ceramics, sand.

I understand at NASA teams were succesfully over the years able to reduce the weight of spaceshuttles, partly by thinking on used materials. As every gram going to space, cost a fortune on energy.

I simply wonder - potentially in my ignorance - are there inventions we could use to replace traditional materials by more abundant alternatives to make a leap, like NASA did, towards less energy use and cheaper cost of materials for societal benefit. In parallel thus helping reducing ecological footprint.

Look forward to any comments - curious to learn together. A lighter world - easier to place those 9 billion people in 2050?

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  • Aug 1 2011: Jimmy

    Carbon nanotubes are indeed very interesting. An anecdotal way to illustrate that is the fact they were used to make strongest Damascus steel (secret of which we lost in history). See http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v444/n7117/abs/444286a.html

    The applications seem tremedous. But i am still wondering if it is easy and cost effective to produce? The making of carbon nanotubes seems to depend on non-abundant resources and still developing technology.

    Any other innovations to pay attention to?

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