Polymer manufacturing involves a technique termed as cold drawing, which is utilized to imbue nylon and polyester fibers with great tensile strength. It encompasses drawing the fiber so that its dimension is reduced and the chains of the polymer are aligned. Nobody ever truly considered performing this with composite materials because no one thought that it would result in anything lucrative.
But the scientists at the University of Central Florida (UCF), in Orlando, have a different belief. They believed that watching the entire event was worth a research. The results obtained from this experiment could alter the Nanomanufacturing by allowing the production of novel types of materials.
“It was an unexpected development,” says Ayman Abouraddy, a co-author and associate professor of the research panel. “While we considered that when they executed the cold drawing on the complex fiber, which comprised of a ductile outer coating and a brittle core, the core material would break into two bigger pieces, instead it collapsed into numerous equal-sized sections.
Though an astonishing news to Abouraddy, Robert S. Hoy, a physicist at the University of South Florida who specializes in the characteristics of materials like plastic and glass, was not shocked by the initial findings of the UCF professor. Hoy deemed such behavior as somewhat familiar to those in the polymer business – a procedure known as ‘necking’ that occurs when cold drawing leads to non-uniform strain in the material.
“Dr. Abouraddy has identified a novel application of necking,” says Hoy. “Normally you avoid necking, but he utilized it to perform something potentially groundbreaking.”
The big deal about breaking this fiber is that this novel twist on necking could result in amazing approaches to creating smart materials. For instance, the volume of mechanical force employed to pull the fiber will affect the pattern of breakage in a way that will alter the physical traits of the material.
“Processing structure-property relationships are required to be strategically described for compound material systems,” says Ali P. Gordon. He is an associate professor at UCF and one of the members of the research panel. He also confirms that it is easier to comprehend the fragmentation process in more details by linking together the computational mechanics, microscopy and the experiments. As Gordon says, “By linking the computational mechanics, microscopy and experiments, the physical procedures or mechanisms that are involved in the process of fragmentation were more deeply comprehended.”
According to the team of UCF, it is a highly useful process that can be applied to a range of applications for achieving desired results. The team suggested that this procedure is also useful to multi-layered materials. By applying this procedure to such mechanics, it is possible to gain packaging of hybrid materials efficiently. Such hybrid materials may be inclusive of optical, mechanical and sensing properties that no one or single material could accomplish. It is now to be seen that how the unexpected benefits that are revealed are going to bring huge benefits in the future.