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Published on : Dec 31, 2014

2014 saw quite a few developments in material science that could be here for the longer haul. Innovations in protective clothing paved the way to obtaining material more secure from physical and chemical attacks, and scientists came up with novel ways of disposing with the notorious greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

A team of American researchers developed a new version of Kevlar that is better protected against cuts. This was achieved with the help of an atomic plating of the oxides of aluminum and titanium. A 5-nanometer (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter) sheet of these two compounds improved the cut resistance of the Kevlar by 30%!

Elsewhere, scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology developed a material that could potentially be used to neutralize chemical weapons. Though more research is needed on its composition as well as its incorporation into clothing, the carbon nanotube-based material was successful in decomposing chemicals similar to nerve gas.

Two major innovations were performed on lithium-ion batteries, a common form of batteries in consumer electronics all over the world. In Italy, graphene-based batteries were found to have a 25% higher energy density than graphite-based batteries, whereas Chinese scientists invented a new form of stretchable batteries. Based on carbon nanotubes, the stretchable battery retained 88% of its specific capacity even after being stretched to 600% of its original dimensions!

British and American scientists came up with two materials to negate the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. One was a porous organic polymer that exclusively absorbs carbon dioxide, the other a silver-based catalyst that turns carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, which is used in various industries.