materials-that-self-repair-mechanical-damages

Context: Recently, Indian scientists discover materials that self-repair mechanical damages.

Impact of Mechanical Damages:

  • Devices that we use daily often break down due to mechanical damage, forcing us either to repair or replace them. 
  • This decreases the life of the equipment and increases maintenance costs. 
  • In many cases, like in space crafts, human intervention for restoration is not possible.
  • New materials may soon make it possible for damaged electronic components, such as in space crafts, to mend themselves.

Key Points:

  • The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata, teaming up with IIT Kharagpur, have developed piezoelectric molecular crystals that repair themselves from mechanical damages without the need for any external intervention
  • It can repair its own mechanical damages with the electrical charges generated by the mechanical impact on them.
  • Piezoelectric crystals:
    • They are a class of materials that generate electricity when it undergoes a mechanical impact.
  • Process of Healing the mechanical damages:
    • The piezoelectric molecules developed by the scientists called bipyrazole organic crystals recombine following mechanical fracture without any external intervention, autonomously self-healing in milliseconds with crystallographic precision.
    • In these molecular solids, due to the unique property of generating electrical charges on mechanical impact, the broken pieces acquire electrical charges at the crack junction. 
      • That leads to attraction by damaged parts and precise autonomous repair.

Related Fact

Crystallography:

  • It is a branch of science that deals with discerning the arrangement and bonding of atoms in crystalline solids and with the geometric structure of crystal lattices. 
  • Classically, the optical properties of crystals were of value in mineralogy and chemistry for the identification of substances. 
  • Modern crystallography is largely based on the analysis of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals acting as optical gratings
  • Using X-ray crystallography, chemists are able to determine the internal structures and bonding arrangements of minerals and molecules, including the structures of large complex molecules, such as proteins and DNA.

Source:https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1738607