A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

phys.org | 12/4/2018 | Staff
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Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker—at the molecular level—as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr. Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching properties. Their findings are published today in Nature Communications.

Materials - Nature - Exhibit - Capabilities - Cat

There are materials in nature that exhibit auxetic capabilities, such as cat skin, the protective layer in mussel shells and tendons in the human body. Experts have been actively researching synthetic auxetic materials for more than 30 years, but until now have only been able to create them by structuring conventional materials using complex engineering processes, including 3-D printing. These processes are time consuming, costly, and can lead to weaker, porous products.

The identification of a synthetic molecular version is a major step forward for physicists, materials scientists and development companies, but researchers acknowledge that more research is needed to develop a fuller understanding of what drives the auxetic behaviour and how this behaviour can be applied commercially.

Dr - Mistry - School - Physics - Astronomy

Dr. Mistry, from the School of Physics and Astronomy at Leeds, said: "This is a really exciting discovery, which will have significant benefits in the future for the development of products with a wide range of applications. This new synthetic material is inherently auxetic on the molecular level and is therefore much simpler to fabricate and avoids the problems usually found with engineered products. But more research is needed to understand exactly how they can be used."

He added: "When we stretch conventional materials, such as steel bars and rubber bands they become thinner. Auxetic materials on the other...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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