Scientists say they've invented an electrically conductive material that can be molded and rolled out like cookie dough or the Play-Doh compound that's familiar to elementary-school kids. They say the titanium carbide clay, which belongs to a class of materials known as MXenes, could serve as battery material for next-generation cars, mobile devices and even power-grid supercapacitors.
Materials scientists and engineers from Drexel University outlined their method for making and using MXene-based clay in this week's issue of the journal Nature. The researchers tinkered with the formula for MXene film to produce a material that turned into clay when water was added but retained its conductive properties. "We were just hoping for a safer, less expensive way to make MXenes, when something even better landed on the table," Drexel's Michael Ghidiu said in a news release.
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— Alan Boyle
In addition to Ghidiu, the authors of "Conductive Two-dimensional Titanium Carbide 'Clay' With High Volumetric Capacitance" include Maria Lukatskaya, Mengqiang Zhao, Yuri Gogotsi and Michel Barsoum.