Crack-Resistant New Material Inspired by Tooth Enamel

Engineers from the University of Michigan have developed a rigid and durable new material inspired by tooth enamel. Unavoidable vibrations, like those on an airplane, cause rigid structures to age and crack, but most materials that effectively absorb vibrations are soft, so they don't make good structural components. The researchers chose to model their new material after enamel because it is strong and rigid, but also effectively absorbs vibrations. The researchers recreated the enamel structure by growing zinc oxide nanowires on a chip. They then layered two polymers over the nanowires, spinning the chip to spread out the liquid and baking it to cure the plastic between coats.