In laboratories across the world, an exciting new breed of materials is quietly revolutionising the fields of science and engineering.
Known as metamaterials, these special materials are as innovative as they are extraordinary.
Intrigued ? Then read on as we explore the fascinating world of metamaterials.
What Are They?
From metal alloys to plastics, humans have been producing artificial materials for thousands of years.
But these astonishing metamaterials are a whole different kettle of fish.
Metamaterials are designed to have properties that do not occur in nature, and therefore possess some rather extraordinary abilities.
They ‘re able to influence light and sound in ways that no other natural material can. And it’s this ground-breaking ability that’s got scientists and engineers so excited.
What Can They Do?
When it comes to metamaterials, the possibilities really are endless.
That said, by far one of the most exciting applications of metamaterials has got to be in the development of so-called invisibility cloaks.
Yes you did read that right. Thanks to these mighty materials, invisibility may one day no longer be the stuff of only sci-fi films and Harry Potter.
In the past few years, great strides have been made in the development of cloaking devices that’re capable of rendering an object effectively invisible.
If you’re wondering how such a feat is possible, it’s because scientists have created metamaterials that can bend light waves around an object – much in the same way that a stone diverts water in a stream.
The key to this remarkable ability lies in the structure of these materials. Their components are arranged in a variety of complex patterns, and they’re tightly packed too. So tightly packed, in fact, that the spaces between them are smaller than the wavelengths of visible light.
Because of this design, light is guided around the material rather than passing through it.
We’re a long way from seeing metamaterials that’re capable of fully cloaking an object to the extent that it becomes truly invisible. But some have predicted that this pipe dream may be a reality in our lifetime – so watch this space!
Metamateials are not only helping to advance the science of stealth either. From advanced optics to satellite communications, these mind-bending materials are taking the world by storm, helping to make what was one thought impossible, possible.
As a result, you can no doubt expect to hear a lot more about these exciting materials in the future.
Here at Airedale Springs, we’re passionate about design and engineering on all scales, and can’t wait to see what’s next for metamaterials. As leading spring manufacturers, we’re suppliers of a fantastic range of high-quality spring and wire form products, suitable for a variety of exciting engineering applications.
Want to know more? Then simply contact a member of our expert team today by giving us a call on 01535 643456.