CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (WHDH) - Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a new material that combines the strength of steel and the lightness of plastic.

Doctor Michael Strano, a professor of chemical engineering at MIT and the lead author of this study, said the new material is even harder to break than bulletproof glass.

“If you look at it chemically, it’s close to kevlar,” he explained. “We make bulletproof vests out of it — if you’re a mountain climber it’s very strong cables.”

In addition to its strength, Strano said the material can create tight seals.

“If you put your sandwich in a plastic bag you’re trying to keep oxygen out. Believe it or not, eventually, oxygen does get through that plastic bag,” he explained. “This material, as best we can tell, you can make a much much thinner sheet than that plastic bag and there’s no gas that can get through it.”

Researchers say this new material could be used to make everything from lightweight coatings for cars and phones to important infrastructure such as bridges.

“There’s excitement because that may open up a whole new class of materials that are strong in new kinds of ways,” said Strano.

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