Can steel look like plastic?

This plastic tape is said to be as hard as steel

Shaping a new link for a metal chain, building a towing tape without further ado or making a custom-fit splint for a broken finger in the wilderness: Braeön makes it possible. The plastic tape can be heated, shaped and should become as hard as steel when it cools down.

According to the manufacturer, one layer of Braeön plastic tape can withstand a pull of almost 1,000 kg.

Photo: Braeön

Braeön's mouth is pretty full in the product video. Allegedly, the start-up from Las Vegas started nothing less than a revolution for do-it-yourselfers with a new material. "This is the lightest, strongest and most flexible material that has ever been invented," claim the inventors. What is meant is a plastic band that at first glance looks like a gaffa roll.

One layer can withstand a pull of 1,000 kg

The highlight: As soon as you heat the plastic tape to 40 ° C, it can be shaped. The inventors justify this with the molecular structure. When heated, the molecules separate and make the tape malleable. When it cools down, the molecules recombine and fix the new shape. And this shape seems sturdy.

The inventors want to go into series production in 2017. On Kickstarter, a 6-meter roll of tape costs $ 18.

Source: Braeön

Allegedly, one layer of the tape can withstand a pull of almost 1,000 kg. And when it is wrapped around a tree, even a chainsaw struggles to get through the material. It weighs just 450 g over a length of 30 m and is as thin as paper.

There are no limits to the imagination of DIY enthusiasts

If so, Braeön gives some suggestions. For example, the plastic band can be used to create a link for a broken metal chain. Simply heat the material with the lighter, form a chain link and let it cool down. In the video, after this repair, the chain is stable enough to pull a tree trunk through the forest. A towing tape can also be improvised without any problems.

Repaired chain: The plastic band can be heated, shaped and is then as hard as steel.

Source: Braeön

But that's not all. Do-it-yourselfers optimize their tools with the material. For example, you produce a customized handle for a knife. This is done by heating the tape in a water bath, wrapping several layers around the original handle, gripping your fingerprints firmly into the material and letting it cool down.

Individual grip: Simply heat the tape, wrap it around the knife, grip firmly and let it cool down.

Source: Braeön

Et voilà: A handle is already ready that cannot be bought like this. In an emergency, a custom-fit splint for the broken finger can be made in the wilderness.

6m roll is $ 18

Braeön is not yet available for sale. But the inventors have successfully solicited supporters on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform. You can go into series production with the product.

Almost $ 75,000 landed in the pot - the financing target was $ 15,000. After the campaign, the start-up claims to need three months to set up production lines. The product will be on the market in mid-2017 at the earliest. At Kickstarter, a 6-meter roll was $ 18.

You are more of a cyclist than a do-it-yourselfer. Then you should be interested in this textile bicycle lock: It should withstand a bolt cutter for minutes and a 1,200 ° C flame. And at the same time, the invention called tex – lock scores with its unbelievably low weight. Read more about this here.

Almost like glass: water can become this stiff

Another exciting material comes from the laboratories of the TU Dortmund: a hydrogel that consists of 90% water and is nevertheless ultra-stiff and extremely tough. In the future, this hydrogel could be used as a pressure-stable separating membrane in more water desalination or as a highly porous electrode material for batteries or fuel cells.


A contribution by:

  • Patrick Schroeder

    Patrick Schroeder works as a freelance journalist for magazines and online magazines such as VDI Nachrichten and