Chameleon skin, a self-healing screen or a bandage that heals infections: certain materials have amazing capacities and could turn our lives upside down.
Unlike living beings, capable of reproducing and forming their own, materials are considered inert and immutable. However, this is far from always being the case! In recent years, “intelligent” materials have multiplied, capable of modifying their behavior according to their environment, of carrying out an action or of processing and storing information. Here are some pretty incredible examples of the prowess of these .
A tablecloth that recognizes what is placed on a table
Imagine a tablecloth that suggests a recipe for gratin dauphinois when you place which detects what and how much you eat and drink, with sensors placed in the cervix that scan your neck muscles to observe your swallowing. A way to monitor your diet and level of , defend the researchers.and cheese on it. Or who warns you if you forget your headphones placed on it. This dream may be close at hand, thanks to a fabric called and developed by . The latter contains a grid of integrated into the fabric capable of differentiating many objects, such as food, dishes, or even of distinguishing in a glass, such as hot water, cold water, cola or milk. Even more incredible: researchers at the University of Passau have designed a prototype of
A self-repairing screen
Repairing a phone screen is expensive! So if he could fix himself, that would be handy. Several manufacturers are working on also developed a super hard organic material containing crystals which repairs itself spontaneously when damaged., capable of shallow after a fall. For example, a team from the University of California has developed a polymer with the addition of an ionic salt, where the form an ion-dipole interaction, a weaker and more dynamic type of bond than covalent. The researchers thus succeeded in stretching the up to 50 times its usual size, and the latter automatically reattached within a day after being torn. Unlike everyone else tested, it conducts current, allowing it to be used for a phone screen. Another team of
A chameleon coating that changes color when stretched
A connected dressing that detects and treats infections
Smart textile specialist, the startup have thus developed a film in flexible and stretchable that delivers medication and turns on according to skin temperature. A biocompatible dressing that could be applied not only to the outer skin, but also to organs inside the body.presented in January 2019 a bandage that emits a light signal in the presence of bacteria . This dressing also incorporates a biochemical film that promotes the production by pathogens of antimicrobial agents that will kill it. Other Chinese researchers have also developed depending on the pH, the latter becoming more during bacterial activity. This type of device is decisive in certain , as in severe burns or patients , whose wounds can quickly become infected. Some smart plasters go even further.
A 3D printable hydrogel that changes shape in light
Engineers at Rutgers University in New Jersey took inspiration from the skin of octopuses to create a 3D printable material, capable of changing shape when exposed to light. The composed of polydopamine and acrylic acid nanoparticles imitating this structure and 3D printable. They thus created a which contracts or retracts depending on the brightness. This invention could find applications in military camouflage, flexible screens or soft robots.and the in fact have cells in their skin called , which contain pigments that absorb or diffract light. By deforming, these chromatophores modify the distribution of pigments, which allows them to camouflage themselves or to change color. The researchers have
A material that stores electricity for several months
To store electricity, today we mainly use batteries in, polluting and expensive. However, some materials are capable of naturally storing thanks to their nanoporous structure. Researchers from , in the United Kingdom, have thus developed a (metal-organic framework) or metallo-organic network, loaded with azobenzene. Azobenzene is known to absorb light and change shape as a result. So when the material is exposed to during the summer, it “stretches” a little, like a spring, and thus stores the During months. In case of need, in for example, energy is suddenly released when the material is heated, like a spring that is released. This material could be applied to homes or offices in addition to conventional heating, or to make self-defrosting windshields.