No More Broken Antennas at the Carwash

Apr 11, 2006

Imagine a trip to the carwash without that feeling of panic when you realize you’ve left your radio antenna up. That worry could become a thing of the past thanks to a new, flexible material developed by University of Maryland engineers that can be used to manufacture radio antennas that bend, but do not break. It contains nanometer-sized particles of iron and strontium.

The new material, a lightweight, plastic-like composite, will also render rigid cell-phone antennas obsolete and make future antennas smaller and more efficient.

Peter Kofinas, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UM’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, developed the material in a “chemistry shake-and-bake process” resulting in a self-organizing polymer containing nanometer-sized particles of two metals, iron and strontium.

Chemical engineering undergraduate student Joshua Silverstein and graduate student Ta-I Yang also worked on this research.

The substance possesses magnetic and dielectric properties and can be used to make antennas that can be formed into any shape.

“The new material will allow for more freedom in the creation of the next-generation of devices, which will have lighter, smaller, more efficient design and aesthetic appeal now that a straight, brittle metallic antenna does not have to be incorporated,” Kofinas says.

For instance, by making a cell-phone case out of this material, the case could then become the antenna, resulting in a smaller cell phone with better reception, he says.

Kofinas’ work is still in the research stage, but the U.S. Air Force is interested in the material for use in protective covers for radar equipment and other types of shielding for electronics. The Air Force recently awarded Kofinas a $367,000 grant for further research.

Source: University of Maryland

Explore further: New 'designer carbon' boosts battery performance

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New 'designer carbon' boosts battery performance

May 29, 2015

Stanford University scientists have created a new carbon material that significantly boosts the performance of energy-storage technologies. Their results are featured on the cover of the journal ACS Central Sc ...

Self-replicating nanostructures made from DNA

May 28, 2015

(Phys.org)—Is it possible to engineer self-replicating nanomaterials? It could be if we borrow nature's building blocks. DNA is a self-replicating molecule where its component parts, nucleotides, have specific ...

Could computers reach light speed?

May 28, 2015

Light waves trapped on a metal's surface travel nearly as fast as light through the air, and new research at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory shows these waves, called surface plasmons, travel far enough ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.