PerspectiveMaterials Science

Toward Lighter, Stiffer Materials

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Science  13 Sep 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6151, pp. 1181-1182
DOI: 10.1126/science.1243996

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For hundreds or even thousands of years, humans have developed ever lighter and stronger materials, including alloys, polymers, and composites. Recently, these efforts have been joined by a different approach to lightweight materials: the introduction of carefully engineered open structure into solid materials to create cellular materials (see the figure). On page 1219 of this issue, Cheung and Gershenfeld (1) present a fabrication method for cellular materials that enables them to reversibly assemble cellular composite materials with tailored properties.