Ink from car exhaust, 3D graphene and a brand new blue are among the top material breakthroughs of 2017, according to a story from CO.DESIGN. 

GrapheneClick image to enlarge

There’s nothing new under the sun – or is there? The past year saw some outstanding breakthroughs in materials science, including a whole new colour.

An MIT media lab developed a device to collect soot from car exhaust and turn it into a new kind of black paint for artists. A Dutch company has put 3D printing robots to work to lay down durable flooring made from recycled bioplastics over large areas, including an assignment at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

MIT scored another of the year’s material successes by finding a way to turn graphene – a 2D form of carbon that boasts incredible strength – into 3D structures 10 times stronger than steel and only 5% as dense. Applications could include a space elevator.

The other top material hits in 2017: mass-manufacturable chain mail developed by the art director for the Lord of the Rings movies; the accidental discovery of a brilliant new shade of blue (you can buy it from Crayola – ask for “Bluetiful”); and a host of trash-based materials showcased at the NYCxDesign trade show, including coasters made from recycled rubber, a chair 3D-printed from melted refrigerators, and a table composed of discarded surfboard wax.


Photo: Melanie Gonick/MIT

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