New Delhi: A team of five Bangalore-based researchers headed by Dr CNR Rao, scientific advisor to the Indian prime minister, has discovered the world's hardest plastic nano-composite material, which is also capable of being used in missiles and aircraft.
The team created the material by reinforcing ordinary plastic with nano-diamonds, a sheet of layered carbon honeycomb and tiny carbon nano-cylinders. Nano dimensions are smaller than the width of a single strand of human hair, with one nano-metre being one millionth of a millimetre.
The team reinforced a common polymer with nano-diamond, a new age material called graphene (one atom thick carbon honeycomb sheet) and carbon nano-tube producing the new material.
''The mechanical properties like hardness and stiffness (after moulding) improved by as much as 400 per cent compared to those obtained with single reinforcements,'' the researchers reported in the 'Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences'.
Drawn from the Indian Institute of Science and Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), the team of researchers worked on an original idea from Dr Rao.
An eminent scientist, Dr CNR Rao is also the founding president of the JNCASR.