PerspectiveMaterials Science

Exceptional Properties by Design

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Science  08 Mar 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6124, pp. 1161-1162
DOI: 10.1126/science.1236378

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Materials, be they natural or humanmade, come with characteristic combinations of mechanical properties. For example, ceramics have high stiffness but break easily, metals have high strength but limited ability to deform elastically, and polymers can recover from large deformations but carry relatively low stresses. Materials scientists have long tried to make materials that combine desirable properties in unusual ways. One such material is the nanocomposite reported by Hao et al. (1) on page 1191 of this issue. This material combines high strength, high recoverable strain, low stiffness, and biocompatibility. It may find application in dental braces, cardiac pacemakers, implantable devices, and flexible medical instruments.