Carbon fibres were developed in the 1950s and have since helped to revolutionise the design, manufacture and performance of everything from yachts and planes to cars and bicycles.
Now, 60 years later, a new material looks set to have a similar impact: graphene paper.
For the moment, it's only possible to make graphene in tiny scraps. So the trick in scaling it up is to find ways to stack these sheets and bond them together to make something larger. Trouble is nobody has yet managed this feat.
Today, Yilun Liu and pals at Tsinghua University in Beijing, calculate from first principles what such a material might be like.
The trick in making graphene paper strong is to find ways to bind small sheets of graphene together end-to-end to make a larger sheet but also to bind layers together using bonds between them. Many biological materials use the same trick to increase their strength, materials such as bone, teeth and nacre.