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:8/16/2017)... OH (PRWEB) , ... August 16, 2017 , ... ... a beneficial microbe delivery system, announced it has secured $2M in funding from ... Queen City Angels, Carmen Innovations, and SVG Thrive Fund. With this investment, 3Bar ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... Aug. 15, 2017 After spending the past two years ... crowdsourced data collection, GeneFo now offers this platform to healthcare stakeholders ... amplifying support, adherence, and data collection vis a vis their members, ... the successful launch of this offer. ... GeneFo ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... August 15, 2017 , ... Any expert in stem cell research or ... for more than half a century. Despite their essential roles in human health ... known that molecular tags developed for this purpose also tag other, more abundant, non-stem ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... August 15, 2017 , ... ... cart. Now mobile responsive, the new website makes it easy to navigate through ... between. Users can now find detailed product information, educational industry content and visit ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:4/18/2017)... -- Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging and computing solutions, ... which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration utilizing TeraFaces ... will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at Tokyo Big ... Las Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an image of ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... India , April 13, 2017 According to ... Proofing, Identity Authentication, Identity Analytics, Identity Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, ... MarketsandMarkets™, the IAM Market is expected to grow from USD 14.30 Billion ... Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.3%. ... MarketsandMarkets ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... April 11, 2017 No two people ... at the New York University Tandon School of ... have found that partial similarities between prints are ... in mobile phones and other electronic devices can ... The vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):