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
Todd Emrick | Newswise Science News
Smart textiles made possible by flexible transmission lines
03.06.2020 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
A remote control for neurons
02.06.2020 | College of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
An analysis of more than 200,000 spiral galaxies has revealed unexpected links between spin directions of galaxies, and the structure formed by these links...
Two prominent X-ray emission lines of highly charged iron have puzzled astrophysicists for decades: their measured and calculated brightness ratios always disagree. This hinders good determinations of plasma temperatures and densities. New, careful high-precision measurements, together with top-level calculations now exclude all hitherto proposed explanations for this discrepancy, and thus deepen the problem.
Hot astrophysical plasmas fill the intergalactic space, and brightly shine in stellar coronae, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants. They contain...
In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".
Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...
Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...
Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.
When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...
19.05.2020 | Event News
07.04.2020 | Event News
06.04.2020 | Event News
03.06.2020 | Medical Engineering
03.06.2020 | Physics and Astronomy
03.06.2020 | Physics and Astronomy