Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New method to identify microscopic failure

18.08.2016

Damage-reporting polymeric materials

If you've never had the plumber to your house, you've been lucky. Pipes can burst due to a catastrophic event, like subzero temperatures, or time and use can take a toll, wearing away at the materials with small dings and dents that aren't evident until it's too late.


Colorless, non-fluorescent microcapsules use a type of fluorescence called aggregation-induced emission (AIE), which becomes brighter as the indicator solidifies from solution and is visible under ultraviolet (UV) light.

Credit: Autonomous Materials Systems Group, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois

But what if there were a way to identify those small, often microscopic failures before you had to call for help?

The Autonomous Materials Systems (AMS) Group at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology has recently found a new way to identify microscopic damage in polymers and composite materials before total failure occurs.

"Autonomous indication of small cracks has exciting potential to make structures safer and more reliable by giving time to intervene and repair or replace the damaged region prior to catastrophic failure," said Nancy Sottos, professor of materials science and engineering, and one of the authors of "A Robust Damage-Reporting Strategy for Polymeric Materials Enabled by Aggression-Induced Emission," recently published in ACS Central Science. The paper is part of a research project selected as a finalist for the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Global Awards 2016.

The researchers sequestered fluids containing turn-on fluorescence indicators in microcapsules, and then incorporated them into polymeric materials.

"We've developed microcapsules that are colorless and non-fluorescent when intact," said Maxwell Robb, Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow and a lead author on the paper. "We can embed them into materials, and when damage occurs, the microcapsules will release their payload and become fluorescent, indicating that repair is needed."

Previous work led by Wenle Li, a postdoctoral research associate and co-first author of the study, had investigated another type of indicator within microcapsules, which underwent a chemical reaction upon release to produce a color change. However, the nature of the chemical reaction limited the system to a narrow range of materials.

The new method uses a type of fluorescence called aggregation-induced emission (AIE), which becomes brighter as the indicator solidifies from solution and is visible under ultraviolet (UV) light. The unique mechanism of indication, which relies on a physical change of state instead of a chemical reaction, enables excellent performance in a wide variety of materials and for visualizing different types of damage.

"The elegance of this system lies in its versatility as well as its sensitivity," said Li. "We can easily visualize a fluorescence signal resulting from mechanical damage as small as two microns."

The research is funded by BP, which is interested in coating oil and gas pipelines with a polymer coating that will be able to indicate damage. The goal is to target damage at its earliest stage to prevent further deterioration, improve safety and reliability, and reduce life cycle costs associated with regular maintenance and inspection.

Using instruments in Beckman's Microscopy Suite, the group was able to study the microcapsules and coatings of various materials, image them, and correlate the fluorescence signals to 3D structures of the damaged coatings.

"This is incredibly interdisciplinary work," said Robb. "Having knowledge about the aggregation-induced emission effect, and being able to design the chemistry of the microcapsule system was the starting point. Then there is the actual application of this technology into materials and coatings, which relies heavily on the expertise within materials science and engineering."

The AMS Group includes Sottos, Jeffrey Moore, professor of chemistry, and Scott White, professor of aerospace engineering, who also co-authored the study. Their work has led to new discoveries in self-detecting and self-healing materials.

"To impact the coatings industry, materials with self-reporting capability must meet a few criteria: they must be simple, not change the way the materials are traditionally applied, and perform just as well," said Moore. "Our approach hits this target - the new self-reporting function is realized by just one simple additive."

The next steps for this research are to combine damage indication with self-healing materials.

"If you could couple this technology that lets you know that damage has occurred with a self-healing material that tells you when the damage has been healed, it could be really powerful," said Robb.

"We have developed both turn-on fluorescence and color-changing indication systems. Our vision is to combine these multi-channel strategies to enable materials that monitor their mechanical integrity throughout the entire polymer lifecycle," said Li.

Maeve Reilly | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: chemical reaction coating damage fluorescence microcapsules microscopic self-healing

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht A new tool for discovering nanoporous materials
23.05.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Did you know that packaging is becoming intelligent through flash systems?
23.05.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A CLOUD of possibilities: Finding new therapies by combining drugs

24.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Carcinogenic soot particles from GDI engines

24.05.2017 | Life Sciences

A quantum walk of photons

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>