Navigation Links
U-M research: New plastic is strong as steel, transparent
Date:10/4/2007

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---By mimicking a brick-and-mortar molecular structure found in seashells, University of Michigan researchers created a composite plastic that's as strong as steel but lighter and transparent.

It's made of layers of clay nanosheets and a water-soluble polymer that shares chemistry with white glue.

Engineering professor Nicholas Kotov almost dubbed it "plastic steel," but the new material isn't quite stretchy enough to earn that name. Nevertheless, he says its further development could lead to lighter, stronger armor for soldiers or police and their vehicles. It could also be used in microelectromechanical devices, microfluidics, biomedical sensors and valves and unmanned aircraft.

Kotov and other U-M faculty members are authors of a paper on this composite material, "Ultrastrong and Stiff Layered Polymer Nanocomposites," published in the Oct. 5 edition of Science.

The scientists solved a problem that has confounded engineers and scientists for decades: Individual nano-size building blocks such as nanotubes, nanosheets and nanorods are ultrastrong. But larger materials made out of bonded nano-size building blocks were comparatively weak. Until now.

"When you tried to build something you can hold in your arms, scientists had difficulties transferring the strength of individual nanosheets or nanotubes to the entire material," Kotov said. "We've demonstrated that one can achieve almost ideal transfer of stress between nanosheets and a polymer matrix."

The researchers created this new composite plastic with a machine they developed that builds materials one nanoscale layer after another.

The robotic machine consists of an arm that hovers over a wheel of vials of different liquids. In this case, the arm held a piece of glass about the size of a stick of gum on which it built the new material.

The arm dipped the glass into the glue-like polymer solution and then into a liquid that was a dispersion of clay nanosheets. After those layers dried, the process repeated. It took 300 layers of each the glue-like polymer and the clay nanosheets to create a piece of this material as thick as a piece of plastic wrap.

Mother of pearl, the iridescent lining of mussel and oyster shells, is built layer-by-layer like this. It's one of the toughest natural mineral-based materials.

The glue-like polymer used in this experiment, which is polyvinyl alcohol, was as important as the layer-by-layer assembly process. The structure of the "nanoglue" and the clay nanosheets allowed the layers to form cooperative hydrogen bonds, which gives rise to what Kotov called "the Velcro effect." Such bonds, if broken, can reform easily in a new place.

The Velcro effect is one reason the material is so strong. Another is the arrangement of the nanosheets. They're stacked like bricks, in an alternating pattern.

"When you have a brick-and-mortar structure, any cracks are blunted by each interface," Kotov explained. "It's hard to replicate with nanoscale building blocks on a large scale, but that's what we've achieved."


'/>"/>

Contact: Nicole Casal Moore
ncmoore@umich.edu
734-647-1838
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Proteomics in Bladder Cancer Research: Protein Profiling of Bladder Squamous Cell Carcinomas, Rev C
2. A week in UW research: fusion, racing and sleep
3. Phillips Plastics to help develop orthopedics with stem cells
4. Wisconsin identity theft law: A cheap plastic sword
5. UWM receives state funding for plastics research
6. Lance Armstrong and the future of cancer care
7. Entrepreneurship grant will build strong foundation
8. Corporate control begins with a strong board
9. Midwest colleges strong contenders for NIH funds
10. Fiserv reports stronger earnings and revenues
11. Third Wave reports another loss, stronger sales
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/23/2017)... Colo. , March 23, 2017  GlobeImmune, Inc. ... agreement for the sale of 12,835,490 shares of its ... NantWorks  ecosystem of companies. In connection with the sale of ... $100,000 in cash and issue to GlobeImmune 200,000 shares, ... stock. "We are pleased to enter ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... Ellen Matloff, ... Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) as a 2017 Women of Innovation® finalist. Matloff will ... Innovation Awards Dinner. , The dinner recognizes women accomplished in science, technology, engineering ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... YORK , March 23, 2017 ... ... of death, putting significant strain on health care systems, in ... cancer diagnoses rises, so too does the development of innovative ... minimum side effects. Among the many types of cancer treatments, ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... March 23, 2017  Agriculture technology company Cool Planet ... and note conversion to commercialize its Cool Terra and ... on developing products that are simultaneously profitable as well ... the last 18 months. This latest round of funding ... Partners. The company,s primary product, Cool ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/2/2017)... Who risk to be deprived of its ... report: https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4313699/ WILL APPLE AND SAMSUNG ... Fingerprint sensors using capacitive technology represent a fast growing ... forecasts an increase of 360% of the number of ... fingerprint sensor market between 2014 and 2017 (source : ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... BARCELONA , Spanien, 27. Februar 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... durch Iris-Scan, wird seine erstklassige biometrische Lösung ... Snapdragon™ 835 mit X16 LTE auf dem ... 2. März) am Qualcomm-Stand in Halle 3, ... 835-Prozessor beinhaltet die Sicherheitsplattform Qualcomm Haven™ – ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... PORTLAND, Ore. , Feb. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... of Companies (Avamere Health Services, Infinity Rehab, Signature Hospice, ... study that will apply the power of IBM cognitive ... and health centers. By analyzing data streaming from sensors ... into physical and environmental conditions, and obtain deeper learnings ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):