Smart materials get SMARTer (Image 1)
A strategy for building self-regulating nanomaterials relies on an array of tiny nanofibers, akin to little hairs, embedded in a layer of hydrogel. [See related image Here.]
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In 2012, a Harvard University-led team of engineers presented a strategy for building self-thermoregulating nanomaterials that can, in principle, be tailored to maintain a set pH, pressure, or just about any other desired parameter by meeting the environmental changes with a compensatory chemical feedback response.
Called SMARTS (Self-regulated Mechano-chemical Adaptively Reconfigurable Tunable System), this newly developed materials platform offers a customizable way to autonomously turn chemical reactions on and off and reproduce the type of dynamic self-powered feedback loops found in biological systems.
The advance represents a step toward more intelligent and efficient medical implants and even dynamic buildings that could respond to the weather for increased energy efficiency.
The research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (grant CMMI 11-24839).
Read more about this research in the NSF News From the Field story Smart materials get SMARTer. (Date image taken: July 2012; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Dec. 27, 2017)
|Credit: Simulation image courtesy of Ximin He and Lauren Zarzar, Harvard University
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