When a high-strength steel beam is damaged, the metal can easily fracture and break.
To prevent this, engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology created a plate of steel that is very strong, and can withstand much higher temperatures.
Here, engineers use a high voltage electric current to power a plate that can withstand temperatures of thousands of degrees Fahrenheit.
(Photo: Thomas Johnson, The Washington D.C. Times via Getty Images)The researchers were able to achieve this by using a very high voltage current to heat a steel rod, called the steel plate, to nearly 500 degrees Fahrenheit in just a few seconds.
The steel plate then began to break apart and disintegrate, with little or no damage to the object that was being heated.
When this happens, the researchers say, the heat is the main reason the rod disintegrates, with a new piece of the rod emerging from the damaged part of the beam.
This process also reduces the possibility of the steel rod getting trapped by the beam itself, which could cause the beam to break and send the entire beam flying, according to MIT.
This kind of beam-breaking could be used to create very strong and stable beams, the team wrote in the journal Advanced Materials.
And if these beams could be built on a large scale, they could be able to create a whole new type of beam that is much more durable and much more flexible.
In the future, the engineers envision a whole variety of uses for the beam-break technology, from providing energy for small robots to creating energy storage for batteries.
If this beam-breaks technology can be scaled up to the point that it could be widely used, the materials could also be used in many other applications.
The MIT team is currently working on another, more powerful type of steel beam, called a square plate.
This type of plate is also much stronger, and could also use the heat generated by the square to melt and break apart.