Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Nanotech Technique for Lower-Cost Materials Repair

13.01.2012
In the super-small world of nanostructures, a team of polymer scientists and engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have discovered how to make nano-scale repairs to a damaged surface equivalent to spot-filling a scratched car fender rather than re-surfacing the entire part. The work builds on a theoretical prediction by chemical engineer and co-author Anna Balazs at the University of Pittsburgh.

Their discovery is reported this week in the current issue of Nature Nanotechnology. The new technique has many practical implications, especially that repairing a damaged surface with this method would require significantly smaller amounts of material, avoiding the need to coat entire surfaces when only a tiny fraction is cracked, says team leader and UMass Amherst polymer scientist Todd Emrick.


Todd Emrick, UMass Amherst
A recent materials repair discovery validates prior theory and may lead to significant conservation of material in diagnosing and repairing structural damage. The cartoon illustrates how nanoparticle-containing capsules roll or glide over damaged substrates, selectively depositing their nanoparticle contents into fractures.

“This is particularly important because even small fractures can then lead to structural failure but our technique provides a strong and effective repair. The need for rapid, efficient coating and repair mechanisms is pervasive today in everything from airplane wings to microelectronic materials to biological implant devices,” he adds.

At nano-scale, damaged areas typically possess characteristics quite distinct from their undamaged surrounding surface, including different topography, wetting characteristics, roughness and even chemical functionality, Emrick explains. He adds, “Anna Balazs predicted, using computer simulation, that if nanoparticles were held in a certain type of microcapsule, they would probe a surface and release nanoparticles into certain specific regions of that surface,” effectively allowing a spot-repair.

This vision of capsules probing and releasing their contents in a smart, triggered fashion, known as “repair-and-go,” is characteristic of biological process, such as in white blood cells, Emrick adds.

He says the experimental work to support the concept required insight into the chemistry, physics and mechanical aspects of materials encapsulation and controlled release, and was achieved by collaboration among three polymer materials laboratories at UMass Amherst, led by Alfred Crosby, Thomas Russell and himself.

The researchers show how using a polymer surfactant stabilizes oil droplets in water (in emulsion droplets or capsules), encapsulating nanoparticles efficiently, but in a manner where they can be released when desired, since the capsule wall is very thin.

“We then found that the nanoparticle-containing capsules roll or glide over damaged substrates, and very selectively deposit their nanoparticle contents into the damaged (cracked) regions. Because the nanoparticles we use are fluorescent, their localization in the cracked regions is clearly evident, as is the selectivity of their localization.”

Using rapid and selective deposition of sensor material in damaged regions, their innovative work also provides a precise method for detecting damaged substrates, he stresses. Finally, the new encapsulation techniques allow delivery of hydrophobic objects in a water-based system, further precluding the need for organic solvents in industrial processes that are dis-advantageous from an environmental standpoint.

Emrick says, “Having realized the concept experimentally, looking forward we now hope to demonstrate recovery of mechanical properties of coated objects by adjusting the composition of the nanoparticles being delivered.”

The work was supported by the National Science Foundations’ (NSF) Materials Research Science and Engineering Center on Polymers at UMass Amherst, an NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) award, the NSF Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing, the U.S. Department of Energy and its Office of Basic Energy Science.

Todd Emrick
413/577-1613
tsemrick@mail.pse.umass.edu

Todd Emrick | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.umass.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Using a simple, scalable method, a material that can be used as a sensor is developed
15.02.2017 | University of the Basque Country

nachricht New mechanical metamaterials can block symmetry of motion, findings suggest
14.02.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>