bike locked to drainpipe in sunny street
What could possibly go wrong?

Grapefruit-inspired material makes uncuttable bike locks

The difference between the best and worst bike locks is how long they take to cut or break. Even the very toughest bike lock is vulnerable to power tools. And the stronger the lock, the heavier it is. A new material could change both of those facts.

Adele Peters writing for Fast Company:

The uncuttable material, made from ceramic spheres embedded in a cellular structure made of metallic foam. The researchers started by looking at the structure of abalone shells, which are made from a relatively weak material but arranged in a way that means sharks can’t easily bite through the shell.

The ceramic spheres inside the material vibrate so much that it blunts the tool attempting to cut through.

Ceramic balls in a metal foam. Photo credit: Stefan Szyniszewski et al.
Ceramic balls in a metal foam. Photo credit: Stefan Szyniszewski et al.

The material, called Proteus by the researchers who developed it, cannot be drilled, cut by angle grinder, or sliced open with a water jet. Bike-lock manufacturers have already been in touch.

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