Strong and hard yet as light as a feather—materials with this exceptional mixture of properties are urgently wanted in lots of industrial sectors and in medication, in addition to being of great interest for scientific research. A research group from the University of Bayreuth has now developed polymer fibers with exactly these properties. Along with partners in Germany, China, and Switzerland, the polymer fibers have been characterized. The scientists have revealed their results in the journal Science.
Because of the unique properties, the polymer fibers are ideally suited to technical components that are exposed to excessive loads. They allow innovative functions in all kinds of fields, for instance, within the textile industry or medical technology, in automotive engineering, or within the aerospace industry. As well as, the polymer fibers could be recycled simply. Practical purposes on the part of trade may be expected within the close to future. In polymer science, our fibers will be capable of present valuable services within the additional research and growth of high-performance functional materials.
The chemical basis of those promising fibers is polyacrylonitrile. A single fiber with a diameter of about 40,000 nanometres consists of as much as 4,000 ultra-thin fibrils. These fibrils are linked by small quantities of an additive. Three-dimensional X-ray pictures present that the fibrils throughout the fiber are nearly at all times organized in the same longitudinal direction.
The intensive interdisciplinary contact between chemistry, physics, and materials sciences on the Bayreuth campus has offered some important impetus in recent years