New Metallic Bubble Wrap: Thinner, Stronger, Better


One of the most common and beloved packing materials now comes in a metal form. Bubble wrap—first invented as three-dimensional wallpaper, believe it or not—started protecting valuables in 1960 and is branded by the Sealed Air company. It’s typically made from polyethylene, where a bubble-shaped side is bonded to a flat side. The new metallic form can offer protection in very, very tight spaces, only a few millimeters thick. So packaging can be made very, very small and much stronger than the plastic variety. Computer and cell phone cases could be made much more thin and sleek. Computer parts could be protected with very little space used. Even helmets would not need to be as bulky. The protection offered is more heat and chemical resistant and more flexible than any other bubble wrap. Making the metallic wrap is surprisingly simple. Afsaneh Rabiei , professor of engineering North Carolina State University, and her team started with a thin sheet of aluminum and used a studded roller to form small indents in the sheet. Instead of capturing air in these indentations, she filled them with a foaming agent like calcium carbonate or titanium hydrate. When such agents are heated they form bubbles within the metal, as you can see here: (more…)        

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New Metallic Bubble Wrap: Thinner, Stronger, Better


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