New nanosensor of Silk could speed development of new infrastructure; Aerospace and Consumer Materials

From a post by Nanoneophyte:

Consumers want fuel-efficient vehicles and high-performance sporting goods, municipalities want weather-resistant bridges, and manufacturers want more efficient ways to make reliable cars and aircraft.

What’s needed are new lightweight, energy-saving composites that won’t crack or break even after prolonged exposure to environmental or structural stress.

To help make that possible, researchers working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a way to embed a nanoscale damage-sensing probe into a lightweight composite made of epoxy and silk.

The probe, known as a mechanophore, could speed up product testing and potentially reduce the amount of time and materials needed for the development of many kinds of new composites.

The NIST team created their probe from a dye known as rhodamine spirolactam (RS), which changes from a dark state to a light state in reaction to an applied force. In this experiment, the molecule was attached to silk fibers contained inside an epoxy-based composite.

 

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Image Credit:  Chelsea Davis and Jeremiah Woodcock/NIST

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2017-03-18T06:17:05+00:00

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