Researchers turn cement into metal that could be used in electronics

Updated May 30, 2013

cement chuteA collective of researchers from the U.S., Finland, Germany and Japan have connected a few dots that weren’t particularly obvious. The group, according to a report from The Atlantic, has figured out a way to turn cement into metal.

The researchers employed lasers and a process known as electron trapping to melt mayenite—also known as calcium aluminate in cement—into a liquid that cools into a material that is a “glass-metal” hybrid. To melt the mayenite, the team had to heat it to 3,362 degrees F.

But the trickiest part of the process was figuring out how to properly cool the liquid mayenite. In order for it to cool to a metal, the team devised a way to levitate the material in its container.

And what’s interesting about all of this is that the resulting material is a good semiconductor in all kinds of electronics. According to The Atlantic, the material “offers good conductivity, low energy loss in magnetic fields, better resistance to corrosion than traditional metal, less brittleness than traditional glass, and fluidity for ease of processing and molding.”