- Journal Article
The increasing use of lightweight composite materials in structural applications requires the development of new damage monitoring technologies to ensure their safe use and prevent accidents. Although several molecular strategies have been proposed to report damage in polymers through mechanochromic responses, these approaches have not yet been translated into lightweight bioinspired composites for load-bearing applications. Here, we report on the development of bioinspired laminates of alternating polymer and nacre-like layers that combine optical translucency, high fracture toughness, and damage-reporting capabilities. The composites signal damage via a fluorescence color change that arises from the force activation of mechanophore molecules embedded in the material’s polymer phase. A quantitative correlation between the applied strain and the fluorescence intensity was successfully established. We demonstrate that optical imaging of mechanically loaded composites allows for the localized detection of damage prior to fracture. This fluorescence-based self-reporting mechanism offers a promising approach for the early detection of damage in lightweight structural composites and can serve as a useful tool for the analysis of fracture processes in bulk transparent materials. © 2021 American Chemical Society Show more
Journal / seriesACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Pages / Article No.
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Subjectbioinspired composites; hierarchical structure; damage reporting; fracture mechanics; bioinspiration; mechanical properties; nacre-like materials
Organisational unit03831 - Studart, André R. / Studart, André R.
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