The development of advanced materials provides opportunities and can affect many sectors in the society. A broad definition is that these materials are multifunctional and have one or more properties that can be changed by a minor external influence. Nanotechnology is a base for many new advanced materials.
Several of the materials technologies that have been developed and that are available have not come into widespread use. An example is the graph whose properties can lead to sustainable, efficient and flexible functions in products. Several Swedish startups, like Nanologica, Disruptive materials and Graphmatech have materials with interesting functions and work to find the use for them in sectors such as sports, medicine or composites for durable connectors.
In a near future, we will probably see more types of materials that can be combined and give new properties. Ongoing research will most likely find materials that can be used in various applications such as semiconductors and electronics without silicone, components for energy harvesting and more. It would, for example, provide the opportunity to develop flexible “wearables” that can be easily integrated into clothing. One area of application for this may be in healthcare in order to be able to more easily monitor the state of health of patients. Another example that can be useful for industrial applications is smart mechatronics that integrate sensors, small motors, electronics and software.
In order to ensure that we get durability and circularity for these new materials, new joining methods are required, including methods for separating materials when products are to be recycled. Models are also needed to make it efficient to construct processes based on material mixtures that in the development process include the sustainability aspect. We see a need for a combination of materials and process development that is supported by advanced simulation.
In the long term, the advanced materials will be able to have functions that enable them to repair the product they are part of. An example is that scratches and cracks in surfaces on mobile phones and watches will be able to become “self-healing”.
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