Recently, researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Texas at Austin discovered a unique property in complex nanomaterials. Surprisingly, this feature has so far only been observed in simple nanostructures.
The principle brought to light is the behavior inelastic. Is about alternative displacement of small defects when a specific material deforms. Against all odds, this phenomenon gives rise to ideal damping properties to dissipate certain forms of energy. Chih-Hao Chang, an associate professor in the Walker Mechanical Engineering Department at UT Austin, is the lead author of the study. The results of the research have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A configuration conducive to energy dissipation
When pressure is exerted on the study materials, the researchers noted a displacement of small strains in response to the stress gradient. As long as the force remains in application, the little flaws keep on moving.
However, as soon as the stress is removed, the microscopic defects gradually return to their original location – this is the characteristic inelastic. The discovery of this manifestation also lifted the veil on another phenomenon well known to scientists.
Actually, the alternating displacement of the tiny deformations gives the materials the ability to dissipate energy effectively. With this feature, it would be possible to dampen energies such as vibrations and pressure waves.
Interesting applications in engineering.
The ability to dissipate energy combined with the ability to move nanodefects opens the way to multiple applications. First, the researchers thought of build state-of-the-art shock absorbers. However, the materials in the study are so thin that the damping properties would only be on a small scale. However, this restriction is beneficial in the electronic field, more precisely for the protection of chips and processors.
The assumption behind this idea is that with clean damping and inelastic behavior, it would be possibleabsorb shocks and vibrations to which electronic components are subjected machines. However, it is still time for research and development, as these new properties are not yet mastered.
“It would be possible to use materials with these characteristics to protect semiconductor chips to avoid vibrations and shocks. »
Chih-Hao Chang, associate professor in the Walker Mechanical Engineering Department at UT Austin
But by the way, what is a nanomaterial?
nanomaterials are artificial materials exhibiting exceptional physical properties. In fact, they have characteristics that are not found in natural materials. These properties are essentially electromagnetic, acoustic, seismic, thermal and mechanical. Composed of periodic, dielectric or mechanical structures, they behave as a homogeneous material.
The concept was first proposed by Russian physicist Victor Veselago in the late 1960s. It was not until 2000 that the first nanomaterial was born, thanks to the work of John Pendry and David Smith. The two physicists had carried out, in particular, experiments on invisibility cloak prototypes.
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