This could have very interesting implications for Formula 1 – especially being able to build much much lighter cars with the new engine formula.
“Our research establishes graphene as the strongest material ever measured, some 200 times stronger than structural steel,” mechanical engineering professor James Hone, of Columbia University, said in a statement.
“It would take an elephant, balanced on a pencil, to break through a sheet of graphene the thickness of Saran Wrap [cling film].”
Much has been made of graphene’s potential. It can be used for anything from composite materials – like how carbon-fibre is used currently – to electronics.
This material has been discovered theoretically for a long time – it is just a tight molecular arrangement of carbon atoms – but nobody thought it could actually be built and isolated. It is so strong, that even a layer that is a few atoms thick (ie. invisible) can hold up a weight of a few kilograms.
see also on Wikipedia:
I have always wondered how these recent advancements in materials science, and more importantly, nanotechnology, would apply to F1. In theory they could build a car using nanotech that is ultra thin, ultra strong and ultra light (in the order of a few tens of kilograms) and electrical signals passing through the chassis would be able to communicate with each section of the car – so in theory if you rub against someone, a computer back in the pits automatically knows which parts of the car have been touched. To take that further, the material can ‘morph’ in real time and setup the aero in any number of ways for each corner and each section of track – a bit like active suspension, but in this case it would be ‘active chassis’.
You could also build AI into the car to adjust weight distribution, flex out the wings,detect airflow and adjust (imagine an active chassis that is constantly measuring airflow and adjusting its surfaces to reduce tension and drag).
I wonder how much of this they will allow in F1 – I hope all of it. The first team that starts using these materials and nanotech is going to have a very very big advantage. The rules and regulations don’t really account for it at all.