Chemists have developed a new system of piezoelectric polymer in a fluid similar in ionic composition to the plasma of human blood. The system can adapt under conditions of mechanical load like bones, while it increases its modulus of elasticity is 1.8 times in a particular load. Work published in the journal Advanced Materials.
Traditionally, scholars in the choice of material for mechanical application of a database of properties of materials originate from the expected load conditions and project restrictions and requirements. This method is not suitable for unexpected load conditions, causing the engineers to increase the safety margin, which increases the cost and weight of the structure, thereby lowering the mechanical efficiency. One of the solutions to such problems can become the materials with adaptive properties, which change their properties depending on the loading conditions. For example, chemists have studied the polybutadiene functionalized dibromocyclopropene, which changes the degree of crosslinking, depending on the mechanical load. But snowpocalypse synthetic materials have a limited ability to load, complexity of production, high cost and the need for additional energy to change the properties.
However, in nature there are examples of materials, such as bone, wood, fish scales, and coral, which can change their mechanical properties due to the use of the surrounding resources. For example, a bone using cellular signals control the level of build up of minerals in specific areas. In this process, the organic matrix serves as the basis for the crystallization of the mineral from the blood plasma, which in turn increases bone strength. Scientists have long been discussing the process of hardening of the bones, they came to the conclusion about the presence of the piezoelectric effect in the bone in the build-up of minerals on its surface. But still no one got the synthetic system on the basis of the bone, which is able to strengthen its positions depending on the mechanical load.
Sung-Hoon Kang (Sung Hoon Kang) with colleagues have created a system of materials that can adapt their mechanical properties in response to external loads. The system consists of a matrix capable of generating a charge proportional to external mechanical stress, and fluid similar in ionic composition to the plasma of human blood — the authors call it a simulator of the plasma. The charge on the surface of the matrix induces the growth of minerals from a liquid, which increases the strength of the plate.