Powered by a unique fiber stronger than Kevlar

11.12.2010


Researchers at Northwestern University have created a new type of fiber, Kevlar is stronger. A group of specialists in several areas, has created a high-quality fiber from carbon nanotubes and the polymer, which differs incredible durability, strength and resistance to breakage.


Using the advanced method of electron microscopy, the team was able to test and examine the fibers at many different scales — from the nano-scale and ending with the macro-scale. This helped them understand how the slightest interactions affect the quality of the material.


"We want to create a new generation of fibers that are different strength and durability. Biggest obstacle in making fibers, is the need to compromise between strength and elasticity of the material. But we want a fiber that has both these qualities. Fibers that we manufactured, show high results, as in the elasticity and strength on the part. They can absorb and dissipate large amounts of energy without breaking. These fibers wide range of applications in the defense and aerospace applications, "- said Horacio Espinosa.


Creating a new fiber, researchers started with carbon nanotubes — cylindrical carbon molecules, which are among the strongest of molecules in nature. But, when they are assembled together, they lose strength — just starting to slide the tube between each other.


The team has added a polymer to the nanotubes to lock them in place, and then made of a new material yarn. They tested the fortress of the material using a specific test, using a scanning electron microscope. This powerful microscope helped to see the deformation of the material.


This technology has allowed researchers to obtain images of the material in an incredibly high resolution and see the deformation and rupture, having studied the material in several scales.


The result is a material that is stronger than Kevlar — that is, its ability to absorb energy without breaking up. The results of the study were published in the journal ACS Nano.

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