A little bit of a stretch… materials that thickens because it’s pulled …
Scientists have found the primary artificial materials that turns into thicker — on the molecular stage — as it’s stretched.
Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the College of Leeds found a brand new non-porous materials that has distinctive and inherent “auxetic” stretching properties. Their findings are printed immediately in Nature Communications.
There are supplies in nature that exhibit auxetic capabilities, comparable to cat pores and skin, the protecting layer in mussel shells and tendons within the human physique. Consultants have been actively researching artificial auxetic supplies for greater than 30 years, however till now have solely been in a position to create them by structuring standard supplies utilizing advanced engineering processes, together with 3D printing. These processes are time consuming, pricey, and might result in weaker, porous merchandise.
The identification of an artificial molecular model is a serious step ahead for physicists, supplies scientists and growth corporations, however researchers acknowledge that extra analysis is required to develop a fuller understanding of what drives the auxetic behaviour and the way this behaviour will be utilized commercially.
Dr Mistry, from the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy at Leeds, mentioned: “This is a really exciting discovery, which will have significant benefits in the future for the development of products with a wide range of applications. This new synthetic material is inherently auxetic on the molecular level and is therefore much simpler to fabricate and avoids the problems usually found with engineered products. But more research is needed to understand exactly how they can be used.”
He added: “After we stretch standard supplies, comparable to metal bars and rubber bands they grow to be thinner. Auxetic supplies then again get thicker.
“Auxetics are also great at energy absorption and resisting fracture. There may be many potential applications for materials with these properties including body armour, architecture and medical equipment. We have already submitted a patent and are talking to industry about the next steps.”
Increasing the potential of liquid crystals
The group found the yet-to-be-named materials whereas analyzing the capabilities of Liquid Crystal Elastomers. Liquid crystals are finest recognized for his or her use in cell phone and tv screens and have each liquid and strong properties. When they’re linked with polymer chains to kind rubbery networks, they’ve fully new properties and potential functions.
“Our results demonstrate a new use for liquid crystals beyond the flat screen monitors and televisions many of us are familiar with,” mentioned Professor Helen Gleeson, research co-author and Head of Physics and Astronomy at Leeds.
“This new synthetic material is a great example of what physics research and exploring the potential of materials such as liquid crystals can discover. Collaboration between scientists with several areas of expertise and the extensive technical facilities we have at Leeds make this kind of exploration and discovery possible.”
The devices and experience of employees within the Leeds Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy Centre (LEMAS) on the College enabled the group to scrupulously take a look at the brand new materials.
Professor Gleeson mentioned: “We wanted to be sure the material wouldn’t break down or become porous when stretched to its limits. Our LEMAS centre had the tools to do this.”
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