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A professor in Virginia Tech's College of Science wants to power planes and cars using energy stored in their exterior shells. He may have discovered a path toward that vision using porous carbon fibers made from what's known as block copolymers.

Carbon fibers, already known as a high-performing engineering material, are widely used in the aerospace and automotive industries. One application is the shells of luxury cars like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, or Lamborghini.

Carbon fibers, thin hair-like strands of carbon, possess multiple prime material properties: they are mechanically strong, chemically resistant, electrically conductive, fire retardant, and perhaps most importantly, lightweight. The weight of carbon fibers improves fuel and energy efficiency, producing faster jets and vehicles.

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Category: Science