New ceramic material glows when deformed

(ORDO NEWS) — Solid glass-ceramics remain transparent, but begin to luminesce under mechanical stress.

German scientists have created a transparent and hard glass-ceramic that luminesces under mechanical stress.

Such material can become the basis for sensors that monitor the deformation of bridges and other infrastructure and at the same time do not consume energy at all.

Developers from the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena write about this in an article published in the journal Optical Materials Express.

A special issue of the magazine is dedicated to the International Year of Glass, which the UN declared 2022 to pay tribute to the importance of this material in the history and present day of mankind.

The novelty presented by Lothar Wondraczek and his colleagues is also derived from this basis: glass -ceramic materials use glass with the addition of crystals of other minerals.

They combine amorphous and crystalline phases with different characteristics, which gives glass ceramics new useful properties – from coloring to hardness and thermal conductivity.

The new material uses potassium germanate glass with the addition of zinc gallate (ZGO) crystals doped with chromium and homogeneously distributed throughout the volume.

The sizes of the crystals are so small that they do not affect the transparency of the glass in any way. At the same time, they impart mechanoluminescent properties to glassceramics the ability to radiate under pressure or other mechanical stress.

Experiments have shown that these properties are preserved over time, and the brightness of the glow directly correlates with the applied force.

As the authors of the work note, so far such materials have existed mainly in the form of powders, which are not very convenient for practical use.

In contrast, glass-ceramics can be molded into any stable shape, from flat to elongated thin fibers, and used in a wide variety of applications.

Scientists suggest that the new material can be used as a sensor that monitors the movements of the “limbs” of robots or the voltage that occurs in infrastructure facilities. Perhaps there will even be new lighting fixtures glowing under pressure.

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