TU/e develops luminous plastic

Monday, June 4, 2012

EINDHOVEN – Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology have developed luminous plastic. The plastic lights when the molecules break down in the material, such as when you pull it.

The luminous plastic is not a totally new substance. “We have just built in something that causes a flash of light when the plastic breaks,” says inventor Rint Sijbesma of TU/e. In a dark corner of the university it can be seen well. By pulling apart the rubber-like, orange plastic the substance lights, until the moment when it tears into two parts.The new feature of the plastic is especially useful in research. You can very accurately see when and where the substance breaks. “It was not known exactly how Plexiglas breaks, with this new property we can better study it,” says Sijbesma.Applications in everyday life are not there yet. The substance responsible for the flash is found in nature. Amongst others fireflies use it to glow. “The only difference is that fireflies use a chemical reaction to produce the light. We use force, by pulling it apart.”Source: Omroep Brabant

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