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Bicycles

For better bike tires, just add graphene

When it comes to high-end bicycle tires, buyers generally have to choose between light, fast ones and grippier, more durable models. According to Italian tire manufacturer Vittoria, however, that's no longer the case – at least, not with the company's new Graphene Plus rubber.Read More

Materials

Grass used to make thinner, stronger condoms

So first of all … no, nobody is thinking of weaving together blades of grass to make condoms. Scientists at Australia's University of Queensland, however, are having success with condoms made from a latex with added nanocellulose obtained from a native grass. Not only are they stronger than regular latex condoms, but they could be as thin as the diameter of a human hair.Read More

Materials

New boot sole rubber uses glass to grip on ice

At this time of year, people living in northern regions all over the world are faced with the same problem: icy sidewalks. Boots with otherwise grippy soles still slip, and spikes don't do well on stretches where there is no ice. Researchers from the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the University of Toronto are developing what could be a better alternative, however – rubber soles with bits of glass embedded in them. Read More

3D Printing

New flexible materials pave the way for 3D-printed clothing

Most 3D-printed objects are made out of rigid plastic or resin materials that aren't necessarily ideal for every project. Now, for a limited time online shops like i.materialise are offering designers the chance to play with experimental materials that have properties akin to rubber. Currently these materials are only being offered on a limited basis, but they're already paving the way for new ideas, including one haute couture dress that paraded down the catwalk at Spring Fashion Week 2013 earlier this year.Read More

Good Thinking

New type of silicone exhibits both viscous and elastic properties

Looking for a more effective solution to the all-too-common wobbly table dilemma than a folded up bit of cardboard or piece of rubber under the leg, University of Virginia physicist Lou Bloomfield created a new type of silicone rubber called Vistik – it's malleable enough to take on any shape when pressed, but is still resilient enough to offer support, as it gradually starts to return to its original shape as the pressure is released. The material could have many applications ... beyond just steadying up wobbly tables. Read More

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