A new and highly controllable technique to manufacture functional gradient nanocomposites has been reported in a recent article, published in Materials Horizons. The technique enables smooth and programmable stiff-to-compliant (or compliant-to-stiff) transitions within micro-scale regions.
This technique, developed by Dr. Zhengzhi Wang and colleagues at Wuhan University, is based on a typical two-step process:
- Use a magnetic field to generate a desired concentration gradient of magnetic-responsive nano-reinforcements inside a polymer matrix in liquid state.
- Polymerize and solidify the redistributed polymer nanocomposites.
Using this technique, Wang et al. fabricated various biomimetic interfaces and surfaces and found that the functional gradient designs, with reduced stress concentrations, simultaneously improved the mechanical strength and durability over an order of magnitude compared with the traditional homogeneous counterparts.
The magnetically-actuated functional gradient nanocomposites can be further integrated into advanced additive manufacturing techniques to create a wide range of functional heterogeneous materials with unprecedented combinations of mechanical properties.
TEM image of functional gradient nanocomposites for compliant-stiff-compliant transitions
Mengye Wang is a member of the Community Board for Materials Horizons. Currently, she works as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Applied Physics at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She has a keen interest in advanced materials for environmental and energy applications, including photocatalysis and electrocatalysis.