Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Microcracks to prevent cracking?

With a hat tip to the CERN Courier, look at a story about making glass less brittle by micro-grooving the glass and filling in the grooves.
Here we report the implementation of these features into glass, using a laser engraving technique. Three-dimensional arrays of laser-generated microcracks can deflect and guide larger incoming cracks, following the concept of ‘stamp holes’. Jigsaw-like interfaces, infiltrated with polyurethane, furthermore channel cracks into interlocking configurations and pullout mechanisms, significantly enhancing energy dissipation and toughness. Compared with standard glass, which has no microstructure and is brittle, our bio-inspired glass displays built-in mechanisms that make it more deformable and 200 times tougher. This bio-inspired approach, based on carefully architectured interfaces, provides a new pathway to toughening glasses, ceramics or other hard and brittle materials.

Unfortunately the site wants fees (unless your university has already paid up), but the pictures and the abstract should give the gist of it. It can surely be scaled up to small objects, though I don't know about windshields. Cool.

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