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Strange, Unusual, Amazing & Cool Materials Which Actually Exist

Updated on April 1, 2020

There exist lot more interesting materials beside sand, glass and clay. Let's explore them.

  • Ultra Hydrophobic material.
  • Contact Explosives
  • Hydrogel
  • Nitinol
  • Gallium
  • Aerogel

Ultra-hydroPhobic Material

A material which doesn't interact with water.There is very negligible amount of interaction when water is sprayed of splashed on this type of material. Hydrophobic surface is based on lotus effect. Lotus effect is a property of lotus plant leaf, it is visible on leaf's surface under microscope.

surprisingly this property is less chemical and more physical. Due to high surface tension water always maintain it spherical shape, therefore microscopic spikes on surface of lotus-leaves allow minimal amount of water to touch the surface, as a result water rolls-out from it.

Inspired by this technology man developed many material and coatings which produce nano and microscopic spikes. This helped in making fabrics, paints, coatings, tiles, covers and papers which stay dry and clean in wet surroundings.

Ultra-hydrophobic Fabric
Ultra-hydrophobic Fabric
Lotus Effect
Lotus Effect

Contact Explosives

Chemicals, which explode even with slightest disturbance or feathery touch are known as contact explosives. Yes! they actually exist, Most of these chemicals involve Nitrogen. Molecular structure of these compound play a major role in the explosions.

Elements in these compounds other than nitrogen are under steric effect. On other hand diatomic form of Nitrogen is very stable bond. Hence whenever these Nitrogen compounds are disturbed elements under steric effect get themselves free from nitrogen bonds. Released Nitrogen atoms form more stable diatomic tri-bond Nitrogen molecules.

Nitrogen Triiodide is one of the compounds which is highly unstable. It can be detonated by slight touch or disturbance. Its molecule has a pyramidal structure, nitrogen in the middle and three iodine at the base of pyramid. large size of iodine compared to nitrogen atom in such great proximity keep three iodine molecule steric strain. A gentle touch and boom! all nitrogen atoms in the compound unite to form diatomic nitrogen molecules and remaining element forms iodine gas.

These compounds are not of any practical use because of their resistive behaviour towards touch. Addition of other ingredients make it more stable and could be used in explosions these ingredients are called phlegmatizers.

Nitrogen Triiodide Pyramidal Shape
Nitrogen Triiodide Pyramidal Shape

Hydrogel

Hydrogel is a polymer which can absorb water up-to 40 to 60 times of its own volume! It is able to change its size during absorption. Absorption capacity depends on cross linkers present in the crystal by which it is made up of.

The gel is long chain of different water loving compounds like polyvinyl alcohol, sodium polyacrylate, acrylate polymers and copolymers with an abundance of hydrophilic groups. These polymers are cross linked physically and chemically and these linking provide space and friendly environment for water and watery substance.

Hydrogel has extensive use in agriculture and medicine and tissue engineering, it can store water beneath plants in arid and dry lands as well it can also deliver medicine to vital organs of human body. Actually hydrogel are very good in Sustained and controlled drug delivery system.

Amazing Properties and Uses of Hydorgel

Nitinol

Nitinol is an alloy composed of Nickel and Titanium, both in approximately equal proportion. This alloy has an amazing property of rebounding to its original form after it is folded or deformed into other shapes. This property is known as memory effect. Process of deforming and rebounding could be repeated as many time as you wish.

When you twist, turn or fold the alloy it only rebound to its original shape when you heat it to 75° C. Original form of the alloy means the form originally it was molded in when it was 500° C. When this alloy is conditioned to -15° C it shows super-elasticity, that is when you roll it into loops it becomes straight again.

Nitinol is used in many accessories and instruments for its exciting property. Spectacles,dental-bracelets and other such accessories use it so there is no issues of deformation. Surgeon's stent (a metallic mesh) are made by nitinol so it always keep arteries open.


Shape Memory Effect and Science Behind it

Gallium

Gallium is second to mercury in metals which are liquid at room temperature. by looking at it you can't differentiate between mercury and gallium. Although very special thing about gallium is that it could be solidified below 29°C and it show off silver color in both forms. so we can have both form of the metal at around room temperature. The things which were possible only for industries are possible for kids with gallium, they can melt the metal and mould it into different shapes. Literally kids could do it because unlike mercury, it is not toxic.

Amazing Reaction of Aluminum and Gallium

Aerogel

Aerogel; also known as frozen smoke. chemical structure is similar to glass but it is thousand times less dense, only 3 times more dense than air. This makes it most lightweight solid material on the earth. 99.8% of its volume is air, trapped in pores, remaining 0.2% is silica gel used to make pores!.

Special property of the material is that it is a very good heat insulator. Because of its light weight space agencies use it in satellites to cover it from sun heat. To make aerogel, very high pressure vents are used with liquid carbon dioxide. process of manufacturing makes it very expensive.

Interesting Facts About Aerogel

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