In light of the world’s recent earthquakes, finding a quake-proof building material is a top priority. A group of Japanese researchers are answering the call. They’ve developed a super elastic iron alloy that maintains its original shape even after serious stretching. Once optimized, scientists think the material can be used in everything from medical stents to braces to buildings.

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Researchers from Japan’s Tohoku University designed the “shape memory” metal alloy. Because the iron alloy can be stretched greatly, designers think the substance could be used as a construction material for buildings in earthquake zones. As the tremors hit, buildings could rock with the earth’s movements, yet still return to their original structures.

The elastic alloy also has implications for the medical field, too. The material boasts double the stress level of nickel titanium, the substance currently used for heart stents. Plus, the iron alloy is much thinner, meaning it can even be used for brain stents.

+ Tohoku University

Via Popular Science