The National Institute of Standards and TechnologyÂ has devised a method to embed a nanoscale damage-sensing probe into a lightweight epoxy and silk-based composite in a push to speed up the development of materials.
NIST said FridayÂ the mechanophore probe was created usingÂ a dye called rhodamine spirolactam and worksÂ to help reduce the time and materials needed to develop and test new kinds of composites.
Researchers attachedÂ mechanophore to the silk fibers of an epoxy-based composite which caused the material to glow when force is applied, NIST added.
The installation of mechanophore also helped revealÂ damage at the composite’s interface throughÂ optical microscopy, the agency noted.
AllÂ composites have anÂ interface whereÂ components meet and the strength of that interface affects composites’ capacityÂ to resist damage.
NIST researchers plan to study the applicationÂ of probes in other kinds of composites andÂ use damage sensors to boost the capacity of composites to withstand extreme temperatures.
The studyÂ was funded through collaborative research agreements between NIST, the U.S. Air Force‘s office of scientific research and the U.S. Army‘s research office.