Scientists revealed a novel wafer-thin paper that can change its rigidity in response to an electric charge

Apr, 2021 - By SMI

Scientists revealed a novel wafer-thin paper that can change its rigidity in response to an electric charge

Researchers in Germany has created a new wafer-thin paper substance which could transform between hard to soft with an electrical switch, based on how sea cucumbers reinforce their surface whenever attacked.

Professor Andreas Walther of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) led a team of researchers who were effective in endowing materials with a bioinspired property: wafer-thin rigid nanopaper becomes soft and elastic at the touch of a button. The composition of this material was created using cellulose nanofibrils as a starting point by scientists from the University of Freiburg and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. "This is extraordinary," says Professor Andreas Walther, who led the research team. "All of the materials in our world are difficult to convert from rigid to elastic. With the aid of energy, we'll do it here in a quick and elegant fashion."

Tree cell walls can be withdrawn, and since the microfibers used to render normal paper are thinner, they create a glass-like paper that is entirely transparent, rigid, and sturdy. The scientists have been able to warm their wafer-thin "nanopaper" and split apart cross-linking points in the substance on a molecular basis by moving it through an electrical current. The further cross-links that are broken and the thinner the component gets. This system may be reversed by interrupting the electrical supply. The team is looking to improve its adaptive content, which is already amazing. The scientists are planning to create a version with its own onboard energy storage. When a substance is overwhelmed above a certain amount and must consume a certain amount of energy, the reactions would be caused internally, without the need for human intervention.

"For now, we have to do it ourselves," Walther states, “although our hope is for the material structure to be willing to do it on its own."

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