Top 20 Potential New Materials For the Future

Published time:23 February 2020

New materials technology is integrated with nanotechnology, biotechnology, and information technology, and the trend of functional integration and intelligence is obvious. The materials’ low-carbon, green, renewable cycle and other environmentally friendly characteristics have attracted much attention.

In this article, the top 20 new materials (in no particular order) are selected based on the research progress of well-known domestic and foreign research institutions and companies, scientific and technological media reviews, and industry hot research.

1. Graphene

Breakthrough: extraordinary electrical conductivity, extremely low electrical resistivity and fast electron migration speed, tens of times more strength than steel, and excellent light transmission.

Development Trend: The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics has made graphene hot in technology and capital markets in recent years. It will be used in optoelectronic displays, semiconductors, touch screens, electronic devices, energy storage batteries, displays, sensors, semiconductors, aerospace, military, and composite materials, biomedicine and other fields will grow explosively.

Main research institutions (companies): Graphene Technologies, Angstron Materials, Graphene Square, Forsman Technology, etc.

2. Aerogel

Breakthrough: high porosity, low density, light weight, low thermal conductivity, excellent thermal insulation properties.

Development trend: New materials with great potential have great potential in the fields of energy conservation and environmental protection, thermal insulation and electrical appliances, and construction.

Main research institutions (companies): Forsman Technology, W.R. Grace, Japan Fuji-Silysia, etc.

3. CNT(carbon nano tube)

CNT(carbon nano tube)
Breakthrough: high electrical conductivity, high thermal conductivity, high elastic modulus, high tensile strength, etc.

Development trend: electrodes of functional devices, catalyst carriers, sensors, etc.

Main research institutions (companies): Unidym, Inc., Toray Industries, Inc., Bayer Materials Science AG, Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd., Forsman Technology, Suzhou First Element, etc.

4. Fullerene

Breakthrough: With linear and nonlinear optical properties, alkali metal fullerene superconductivity, etc.

Development trend: The future has important prospects in the fields of life sciences, medicine, astrophysics, etc., and is expected to be used in optoelectronic devices such as optical converters, signal conversions and data storage.

Main research institutions (companies): Michigan State University, Xiamen Funa New Materials, etc.

5. Amorphous Alloy

amorphous alloy
Breakthrough: high strength and toughness, excellent magnetic permeability and low magnetic loss, excellent liquid flow.

Development trend: high-frequency low-loss transformers, structural parts of mobile terminal equipment, etc.

Main research institutions (companies): Liquidmetal Technologies, Inc., Chinese Academy of Sciences Metals Institute, BYD Co., Ltd., etc.

6. Foam metal

foam metal
Breakthrough: Lightweight, low density, high porosity, and large specific surface area.

Development trend: It has conductivity and can replace the application areas where inorganic non-metallic materials cannot conduct electricity; it has great potential in the field of sound insulation and noise reduction.

Main research institutions (companies): Alcan, Rio Tinto, Symat, Norsk Hydro, etc.

7. Ionic liquid

ionic liquid
Breakthrough: With high thermal stability, wide liquid temperature range, adjustable acid and alkali, polarity, coordination ability, etc.

Development trend: It has broad application prospects in the field of the green chemical industry, as well as in the field of biology and catalysis.

Major research institutions (companies): Solvent Innovation, BASF, Lanzhou Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tongji University, etc.

8. Nano-crystalline cellulose

nano-crystalline cellulose
Breakthrough: with good biocompatibility, water-holding capacity, wide range of pH stability; nano-network structure, and high mechanical properties.

Development trend: It has great prospects in biomedicine, enhancer, paper industry, purification, conductive and inorganic compound food, and industrial magnetic compound.

Main research institutions (companies): Cellu Force (Canada), US Forest Service (US Forest Service), Innventia (Sweden), etc.

9. Nanocrystalline perovskite

Nanocrystalline perovskite
Breakthrough: Nano-dot perovskite has giant magnetoresistance, high ionic conductivity, and plays a catalytic role in the precipitation and reduction of oxygen.

Development trend: The future has huge potential in the fields of catalysis, storage, sensors, and light absorption.

Main research institutions (companies): Epry, AlfaAesar, etc.

10. 3D printed materials

3D printed materials
Breakthrough: Changing traditional industrial processing methods can quickly achieve the formation of complex structures.

Development trend: The revolutionary molding method has great prospects in the field of complex structure molding and rapid processing molding.

Main research institutions (companies): Object, 3DSystems, Stratasys, Huashu Hi-Tech, etc.

11. Willow Glass

Willow Glass
Breakthrough: Change the rigid and fragile characteristics of traditional glass and realize the revolutionary innovation of glass flexibility.

Development trend: The future of flexible display and foldable devices has great prospects.

Main research institutions (companies): Corning, Germany SCHOTT, etc.

12. Self-assembling (self-repairing) material

Self-assembling (self-repairing) material
Breakthrough: Material molecules self-assemble to realize “intelligence” of the material itself, change the previous method of material preparation, and realize the material to form a certain shape and structure spontaneously.

Development trend: Changing traditional materials preparation and materials repair methods will have great prospects in the fields of molecular devices, surface engineering, and nanotechnology.

Main research institutions (companies): Harvard University, etc.

13. Biodegradable plastics

Biodegradable plastics
Breakthrough: Naturally degradable, raw materials come from renewable resources, changing traditional plastics’ dependence on fossil resources such as oil, natural gas, coal, and reducing the environmental pollution.

Development trend: The future substitutes for traditional plastics has great prospects.

Main research institutions (companies): Natureworks, Basf, Kaneka, etc.

14. Titanium carbon composites

Titanium carbon composites
Breakthrough: With high strength, low density, and excellent corrosion resistance, it has unlimited prospects in the aviation and civil fields.

Development trend: In the future, it has a wide potential for environmental applications such as lightweight, high strength and corrosion resistance.

Main research institutions (companies): Harbin Institute of Technology, etc.

15. Metamaterials

Breakthrough: It has physical characteristics that conventional materials do not have, such as negative permeability and negative permittivity.

Development trend: Change the traditional concept of processing according to the nature of materials. In the future, the characteristics of materials can be designed according to needs.

Main research institutions (companies): Boeing, Kymeta, Shenzhen Guangqi Research Institute, etc.

16. Superconducting materials

superconducting materials
Breakthrough: In the superconducting state, the material has zero resistance, no current loss, and the material exhibits anti-magnetic properties in a magnetic field.

Development trend: If breakthroughs in high-temperature superconducting technology are expected in the future, it is expected to solve problems such as power transmission losses, heating of electronic devices, and new green transmission magnetic suspension technologies.

Main research institutions (companies): Sumitomo Japan, Bruker Germany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, etc.

17. shape memory alloy

shape memory alloy
Breakthrough: After pre-forming, after being forced to deform by external conditions, it will be restored to its original shape after certain conditions, to realize the design and application of material reversibility.

Development trend: It has huge potential in the fields of space technology, medical equipment, mechatronics and other fields.

Main research institutes (companies): research and development of new materials, etc.

18. Magnetostriction materials

magnetostriction materials
Breakthrough: Under the action of the magnetic field, it can produce elongation or compression performance, and realize the interaction between material deformation and magnetic field.

Development trend: It is widely used in intelligent structural devices, shock absorption devices, energy conversion structures, high-precision motors, and other fields, and its performance is better than piezoelectric ceramics under some conditions.

Main research institutes (companies): ETMRA Corporation of the United States, Rare Earth Products Corporation of Britain, Sumitomo Light Metal Corporation of Japan, etc.

19. Magnetic (electrical) fluid material

Magnetic (electrical) fluid material
Breakthrough: Liquid state, with the magnetic properties of solid magnetic materials, and the fluidity of liquids. It has characteristics and applications that traditional magnetic bulk materials do not have.

Development trend: It is applied to the fields of the magnetic seal, magnetic refrigeration, magnetic heat pump, etc., and changes the traditional sealed refrigeration and other methods.

Main research institutions (companies): American ATA Applied Technology Corporation, Japan Panasonic, etc.

20. Intelligent polymer gel

Intelligent polymer gel
Breakthrough: Can sense and respond to changes in the surrounding environment, and has similar biological response characteristics.

Development trend: The expansion-contraction cycle of intelligent polymer gel can be used for chemical valves, adsorption separation, sensors and memory materials; the power provided by the cycle is used to design “chemical engines”; the controllability of the mesh is suitable for intelligent drug release systems Wait.

Main research institutions (companies): American and Japanese universities.

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