It’s not often you can say that you are part of a team that has developed a brand new material, but so far as I am aware we have done just that, in partnership with the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) at Garching near Munich. The new material in question is a tungsten fibre reinforced tungsten metal. What is so wonderful about that? Well if you carefully tailor the interface between the fibres and the matrix, you can turn an brittle material into a material with considerable toughness. This is particularly useful in high temperature environments where high thermal stresses cause solid tungsten to crack up. An example being a fusion power plant such as ITER currently under construction on Caderache in France.
The tungsten fibre is the same as that you find in old fashioned filament light bulbs and the matrix material is deposited using ATL’s specialism chemical vapour infiltration or CVI for short.
You can read more about it here: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-brittle-material-toughened-tungsten-fibre-reinforced-tungsten.html