Every substance we’ve known of is cuttable, including diamonds. If you’re under the illusion that 2020 is done spewing surprises at us, think again. Researchers and scientists from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute and UK’s Durham University have developed a material they named as “Proteus”, claimed as the world’s first manufactured non-cuttable material with only 15% density of steel. They say it resists cutting by turning the cutting tools against themselves, a characteristic that’ll be very useful for lightweight armor!
Proteus is made up of porous aluminum and ceramic, meaning it is lighter than steel, and surprising it has the strength to withstand any grinder or any cutting tool. The aluminum matrix is embedded into spheres of ceramic, so when a cutting tool starts biting into the cellular aluminum structure, it suffers extreme vibrations when it reaches the ceramic spheres. These destructive vibrations, or resonance, caused by the spheres, foils the tool and ultimately results in the “dulling” of the tool. The design of Proteus has been inspired by the tough, cellular skin of grapefruit and its fracture-resistant shells of mollusks.
The drill or an angle grinder will be able to cut through the outer plate of aluminum, but it’s the embedded spheres that qualify Proteus as an uncuttable material. Furthermore, the fine particles of ceramic dust begin filling the matrix, and due to interatomic forces between these grains, it makes it harder for the tool to cut. Ultimately, the more energy and force the tool exerts on the material, proteus successfully manages to turn back the efforts onto the tool. “The force and energy of the disc or the drill is turned back on itself, and it is weakened and destroyed by its own attack,” said Durham’s Assistant Professor of Applied Mechanics Stefan Szyniszewski. “Essentially cutting our material is like cutting through a jelly filled with nuggets. If you get through the jelly, you hit the nuggets, and the material will vibrate in such a way that it destroys the cutting disc or drill bit.”
Researches claim that this material is effective against drills, grinders and other conventional tools, including high-pressure water jet cutters. It is due to the rounded surface of the ceramic sphere; it disperses the water easily causing the water jet to weaken. Possible applications are seen in the security and safety sectors, armoured vehicles could be lighter and stronger etc. At the moment, Proteus is patent-pending, and the team is looking for manufacturers to commercialize this material and bring it into the market.