Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



TECH SPACE
Researchers work to improve the lifecycle of materials
by Staff Writers
Chicago IL (SPX) Dec 16, 2016


File image.

When most living creatures get hurt, they can self-heal and recover from the injury. But, when damage occurs to inanimate objects, they don't have that same ability and typically either lose functionality or have their useful lifecycle reduced. Researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology are working to change that.

For more than 15 years, Jeff Moore, a professor of chemistry, Nancy Sottos, a professor of materials science and engineering, and Scott White, a professor of aerospace engineering, have been collaborating in the Autonomous Materials Systems Group. Their work focuses on creating synthetic materials that can react to their environment, recover from damage, and even self-destruct once their usefulness has come to an end.

The trio of Beckman researchers are pioneers in what is now a dynamic and growing field. Their work on self-healing polymers was first presented in the journal Nature more than a decade-and-a-half ago. Prior to that, there had been just a few papers published on the subject of autonomous polymers. In the years since, research in the field has exploded, with hundreds of papers published.

Now, in a sweeping perspective article published this month in the journal Nature, the researchers, along with Beckman Postdoctoral Fellows Jason Patrick and Maxwell Robb, review the state-of-the-art autonomous polymers and lay out future directions for the field. "What we've tried to capture for the first time is a vision of polymers as multifunctional entities that can manage their well-being," Moore said.

The article is an overview of how their work has evolved from the development of self-healing polymers to a concentration on "life cycle control of polymers" - what he called "the healthy aging of materials." He described the autonomous function of materials this way: "Live long, be fit, die fast, and leave no mess behind. ... We want the materials to live as long as they can in a healthy state and, when the time comes, be able to trigger the inevitable from a functional state to recoverable materials resources."

In the paper, the researchers identified five landscape-altering developments: self-protection, self-reporting, self-healing, regeneration, and controlled degradation. Much of their work revolves around microcapsules, which are small, fluid-filled spheres that can be integrated into various material systems. The capsules contain a healing agent that is released automatically when exposed to a specific environmental change, such as physical damage or excessive temperature.

"You have capsules that remain stable in the material until the environment causes a stress that causes them to rupture," explained Sottos. "A lot of different external stimuli can open up the capsules. You can have a thermal trigger, a mechanical trigger, and we've worked a lot on chemical triggers. They open up, release their contents, and the science is in what comes out and reacts."

By developing new chemistries and ways to integrate microcapsules over the years, the researchers have created polymers that can do everything from re-filling minor damage in paints and coatings (self-protecting), changing color when undergoing stress (self-reporting), and re-bonding cracks or restoring electrical conductivity (self-healing).

The AMS Group also developed a way to efficiently fabricate vascular networks within polymers. These networks, which can include multiple channels that run throughout a material, are able to deliver healing agents multiple times, change thermal or magnetic properties, and facilitate other useful chemical interactions in a material.

A major development in their self-healing work focuses on repairing large-scale damage through the process of regeneration.

"Ballistic impacts, drilling holes in sheets of plastic, and these sorts of things, where a significant mass is lost ... traditional self-healing has no way of dealing with that problem at all," White said. "The materials that would be used to heal that hole would simply fall out, bleed out under gravity."

So White and his collaborators came up with a two-channel healing system. When damage occurs on a large scale, a gel-like substance fills the space and builds upon itself, keeping the healing agents in place until they harden.

Their most recent work is concerned with how to deal with material systems when they have reached the end of their useful life. This work involves making materials that can self-destruct when a specific environmental signal is given (triggered transience). The researchers believe that triggers such as high temperature, water, ultraviolet light, and many others may one day be used to make obsolete devices degrade quickly so that they can be reused or recycled, thus reducing electronic waste and boosting sustainability.

Autonomous polymers are beginning to make their way into the commercial sector. Commercialization efforts have produced materials such as wear-resistant mobile device cases and automotive paints that can self-repair minor scratches. And more self-healing products are slowly coming to market including a microcapsule-based powder coating produced by the Champaign-based start-up company Autonomic Materials Inc.

While the practical application of many of these techniques still face challenges, Moore, Sottos, White, and their colleagues continue to work toward the creation of smart materials that can function independently, self-heal, and disintegrate once they are no longer useful, offering the eventual promise of safer, more efficient, and longer-lasting products that require fewer resources and produce less waste.


Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
Space Technology News - Applications and Research






Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
TECH SPACE
Uncovering the secrets of water and ice as materials
Washington DC (SPX) Dec 13, 2016
Water is vital to life on Earth and its importance simply can't be overstated - it's also deeply rooted within our conscience that there's something extremely special about it. Yet, from a scientific point of view, much remains unknown about water and its many solid phases, which display a plethora of unusual properties and so-called anomalies that, while central to water's chemical and biologic ... read more


TECH SPACE
Space Network upgrade to double data rates on ISS

Spacewalk for Thomas Pesquet at ISS

NASA's Exo-Brake 'Parachute' to Enable Safe Return for Small Spacecraft

Trump sits down with tech execs, including critics

TECH SPACE
NASA Engineers Test Combustion Chamber to Advance 3-D Printed Rocket Engine Design

Ultra-Cold Storage - Liquid Hydrogen may be Fuel of the Future

Technical glitch postpones NASA satellite launch

After glitch, NASA satellite launch set for Wednesday

TECH SPACE
Bremen robot team successfully simulates Mars mission in Utah

First detection of boron on the surface of Mars

All eyes on Trump over Mars

A Promising Spot for Life on Mars

TECH SPACE
Chinese missile giant seeks 20% of a satellite market

China-made satellites in high demand

Space exploration plans unveiled

China launches 4th data relay satellite

TECH SPACE
OneWeb announces key funding form SoftBank Group and other investors

SoftBank delivers first $1 bn of Trump pledge, to space firm

Telecom satellite system to encircle globe

UAE launches national space policy

TECH SPACE
Uncovering the secrets of water and ice as materials

NASA Satellite Servicing Office Becomes a Projects Division

Raytheon to produce additional Air and Missile Defense Radar equipment

U.S. State Dept. approves Sea Giraffe 3D radars for the Philippines

TECH SPACE
Astronomers discover dark past of planet-eating 'Death Star'

Microlensing Study Suggests Most Common Outer Planets Likely Neptune-mass

New species found near ocean floor hot springs

Carbonaceous chondrites shed light on the origins of life in the universe

TECH SPACE
Juno Captures Jupiter 'Pearl'

Juno Mission Prepares for December 11 Jupiter Flyby

Research Offers Clues About the Timing of Jupiter's Formation

New Perspective on How Pluto's "Icy Heart" Came to Be




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement