(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have created mechanosensing material, which changes color in case of damage or severe deformation. The discovery will find application in the creation of artificial leather and wearable sensors.
Our skin turns blue after being hit due to the accumulation of blood under it. The new material may turn blue in the same way after being hit, but its mechanism of operation is slightly different.
Bruises on our skin occur when the vessels located underneath are damaged. The color of the hematoma and its size can tell a lot about the nature and severity of the injury. Scientists have long wanted to create a material that could signal its condition in the same way through a color change.
For example, when testing the strength of aircraft materials, it is important to be aware of their internal defects and damage. If the material changed color when a crack or severe deformation was formed, specialists could easily notice this.
The authors of the new study have created such material. A molecule called spiropyran helped them in this. This compound reacts to external forces by changing color upon physical impact. This is due to a change in its chemical structure. If this molecule is introduced into concrete or silicone, it will react to deformation, force and damage.
However, the mechanical sensitivity of such a composite material turned out to be too low for practical use. For example, when spiropyran is added to silicone, its color changes only after the material is elongated five times. To increase the sensitivity of the material, researchers at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology first synthesized the composite material and then added a special solvent to it.
The authors observed color changes and fluorescence of the composite material at different times of its contact with the solvent. It turned out that an increase in this contact time improves the sensitivity to mechanical stress of the future material. Researchers have shown that using this technology, materials with spiropyran can have mechanosensitivity 850% higher than modern analogues.
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