Nanoscale switches for memorizing polymers

Published on August 1, 2015

To prevent accidents and damage, detection of materials failure ahead of of the breakdown of a construction is necessary. Especially the material failure in composites like particle or fiber reinforced polymers is a complex process.


One solution is to fill the polymer matrix with a material which indicates the mechanical states of the polymer. E.g., a molecular switch which changes its color by different external stimuli like mechanical stress or softening due to temperature. For demonstration a polymer matrix that has shape memory abilities is filled with a very low filling factor of spiropyrane molecules. The colour change of the molecules indicate a the mechanical transformation of the polymer at elevated temperatures. In addition, ZnO microparticles can also be used for failure reporting due to its photoluminescence of surface defects that occur either at higher temperatures or under mechanical damage. In this video scientists from the functional nanomaterials group at the materials science institute of Kiel University will give a demonstration of the unique properties of all the three components mentioned.

Adelung Group | Christian Albrechts-University of Kiel, Germany

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Rainer Adelung is the head of the group Functional Nanomaterials with interests in the field of nanowire and nanoparticle fabrications. A novel research focus in the group is on 3D flexible semiconductor networks for self reporting, adhesive and ultralight-weight materials such as aerographite and their applications.

Dr.-Ing. Xin Jin is a scientific researcher who works in the framework of the collaborative research center SFB 677 (switchable adhesion)

B. Sc. Sindushree Sindushree is a student research assistant working with a student scholarship in the collaborative research center SFB 677.


Jin, X., Götz, M., Wille, S., Mishra, Y. K., Adelung, R., Zollfrank,C.: “A Novel Concept for Self-Reporting Materials: Stress Sensitive Photoluminescence in ZnO Tetrapod Filled Elastomers.” Advanced Materials 2013, 25(9),1342–1347, DOI: 10.1002/adma.201203849.

Mishra, Y. K., Kaps, S., Schuchardt, A., Paulowicz, I., Xin, X., Gedamu, D., Freitag, S., Claus, M., Wille, S., Kovalev, A., Gorb, S. N., Adelung, R.: “Fabrication of Macroscopically Flexible and Highly Porous 3D Semiconductor Networks from Interpenetrating Nanostructures by a Simple Flame Transport Approach” Part. Part. Syst. Charact. 2013, 30(9),775–783, DOI: 10.1002/ppsc.201300197.

To download this video, right-click on the icon. Then, choose “Save … As…” from the menu that appears. Choose a location on your computer to download the file, and then click the “Save” button. All videos published by the Beilstein-Institut on this Web Site are licensed for use in accordance with the Creative Commons License.

Category Tag