HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Engineering Materials

Process Allows Plastic to Adapt on Demand

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Threaded|Newest First|Oldest First
williamlweaver
User Rank
Platinum
Amazing Applications
williamlweaver   4/23/2012 8:26:41 AM
NO RATINGS
Wow! Combine this research with Berkeley's Gecko Project and there is a possibility of on-demand adhesion. I could spend all morning dreaming about possible applications for such a substance. I can also see this being used for aerodynamic applications... dynamic vortex shedding for variable drag profiles -- both high-speed and high-drag configurations from the same wing without flaps or geometry adjustment... sonic boom reduction... stealth radar deflection... underwater propulsion...  oh my!

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Amazing Applications
Beth Stackpole   4/23/2012 11:05:58 AM
NO RATINGS
On-demand television programming, on demand software, now plastic material that can adapt on demand. Very sci-fi, but as William notes, tons of possible applications. The real test will be in the design of the systems that can deliver the voltage changes to modify the surface texture. That's the real design challenge for any of these applications.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Amazing Applications
Ann R. Thryft   4/23/2012 12:58:32 PM

Thanks, williamlweaver, for your response. I had the same initial reaction, and my husband told me about the Gecko Project. After writing this, we saw the latest Mission Impossible via Netflix, and when Tom Cruise's right hand glove quits at 120 stories, I thought of this discovery.


NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Amazing Applications
NadineJ   4/23/2012 1:04:35 PM
NO RATINGS
I gasped when I read headline!  Hundreds of pre-comsumer appications came to mind.  The possibility of post-comsumer usage ia amazing!

Increased safety in the workplace!  Customizing your iPhone cover to fit your mood...wow!  Love it.  Thanks for sharing this.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Amazing Applications
Ann R. Thryft   4/23/2012 2:35:34 PM
NO RATINGS

Nadine, glad you liked the article. I had a similar experience contemplating applications when I first heard of this discovery: I felt like my head almost exploded with the number of possibilities.


Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Link to article
Dave Palmer   4/23/2012 4:29:51 PM
NO RATINGS
For those who are interested, here is a link to the article by Zhao.  The polymer needs to be fairly soft (modulus less than 1450 psi) -- although electrostatic lithography requires materials which are much softer still.  Zhao's group used a silicone rubber.  It was bonded to a more rigid polymer film (Kapton), which in turn was bonded to a metal electrode.  On the other side of the silicone was what Zhao describes as a "transparent conformal electrode" (actually a 20% salt solution).

This is definitely an interesting phenomenon which could have all kinds of potential applications.  Zhao's group is doing a lot of fascinating work, and it's great to see it being discussed outside of academia.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Automotive interiors
Charles Murray   4/23/2012 8:13:31 PM
NO RATINGS
I could see this being used in automotive interiors for seat surfaces versus dashboard surfaces versus armrests.

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Application
Tim   4/23/2012 9:44:43 PM
NO RATINGS
One possible application would be power tool grips.  When the tool is not in use, it could be smooth, so it could be easily cleaned.  During use, it could be then be textured for non-slip grip.

ChasChas
User Rank
Platinum
Good bye a whole bunch of fasteners
ChasChas   4/24/2012 10:16:01 AM
NO RATINGS
 

Slip something in a hole and lock it there. Then release it for disassembly.

 

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Good bye a whole bunch of fasteners
Ann R. Thryft   4/24/2012 1:01:01 PM
NO RATINGS

Thanks for the additional links, Dave. And ChasChas, I think that's a brilliant usage idea for a material that can change texture on demand, except at this point we're only talking soft plastics not hard, durable ones used in structures. I wonder how difficult it would be to extend this idea to rigid plastics, or find a different method that worked with them.


Partner Zone
More Blogs from Engineering Materials
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
A new thermoplastic composite for high-speed, high-volume injection molding has tensile strength that's close to, and sometimes better than, either lay-up composites or metals.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
Design News Webinar Series
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
6/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
5/13/2014 10:00 a.m. California / 1:00 p.m. New York / 6:00 p.m. London
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Sep 8 - 12, Get Ready for the New Internet: IPv6
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: September 30 - October 2
Sponsored by Altera
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service