Researchers at North Carolina State University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ (CAS) Institute of Mechanics in Beijing have developed a way to enhance metals' mechanical characteristics by modifying their internal structure to be like that of bamboo.

The concept is based on the cells found inside bamboo, which vary in size and density, making the material both strong and flexible.

According to CAS scientists, the combination of characteristics found in bamboo is unattainable in conventional metals, which have small, homogenous cells that produce high strength but at the expense of reduced ductility.

The research team manufactured an industrial, interstitial free (IF) steel with a gradient cell structure.

In comparison to conventional IF steel, which has a stress limit of 65.3 kilo-pounds per square inch (ksi) and may only be stretched up to 5 percent of its length before failure, the gradient-structured steel can withstand 72.4 ksi and may be stretched up to 20 percent of its length.

The research team is now investigating gradient structures in the improvement of different materials’ corrosion resistance, wear, and fatigue capabilities.

Courtesy Residential Architect