Rigid new bioinspired material to replace oil-based plastics

Based on various commercially available raw materials (eg TiO2-mica, Fe2O3-mica), completely natural bioinspired structural materials with different colors can be made. Credit: GUAN Qingfang

Although oil-based production poses serious environmental challenges, modern life relies heavily on plastics. The industry chooses to use durable materials due to their limited mechanical properties or complex manufacturing processes. There is a great need for an advanced strategy to design and produce high-performance durable structural materials.

A new bioinhaved material to overtake oil-based plastics. Chinese University of Science and Technology (USTC) Prof. A group led by Shu-Hong Yu describes the production method of materials with a similar structure, such as adaptability to mass production, good workability, wood fiber and mica nacre. and adjustable painting.

Bioinspired Material Mobile Phone Case

This figure shows a prototype of a cell phone box made from this bioin-inspired material. Thanks to its good workability, the material can be made in any shape and size, which shows a wide potential to replace plastics for practical application, for example, structural support for a high-level individual electronic device. Credit: GUAN Qingfang

Natural nacre, like both brick and mortar, has a hierarchical structure on multi-dimensional levels, ensuring that it is both solid and solid. Inspired by Nacre, the researchers mimicked the ordered brick and mortar structure using a TiO2-coated microplate (TiO2-mica) and cellulose nanofiber (CNF) with the proposed directional deformation assembly method.

This method keeps the dimensions of the directions on the plane unchanged by pressing directly on the TiO2-mica and CNF hydrogel. The thickness of the hydrogel is sharply reduced, and the materials are built directly with high-order brick and mortar construction.

TiO2 nanoparticles on the surface of nano-sized TiO2-mica lead to efficient energy dissipation by friction sliding during TiO2-mica drawing. The whole structure, hierarchically arranged on multi-scale levels, helps to redistribute loads and increase rigidity.

Large Size Full Natural Bioinspired Structural Material

Since the proposed production method can be effective and scalable in the directional deformation assembly, it is possible to achieve mass production of structural material inspired by completely natural bioin. Credit: GUAN Qingfang

The resulting materials have excellent strength (~ 281 MPa) and strength (~ 11.5 MPa m1 / 2), which is 2 times higher than high-performance engineering plastics (eg, polyamides, aromatic polycarbonate) and make it strong. rival of oil-based plastics.

Better yet, these materials adapt to temperatures from -130 ° C to 250 ° C, while normal plastics soften easily at high temperatures. Therefore, such materials are more reliable and dependable at high or variable temperatures.

Results Nature Communication.

Reference: “A completely natural biochemical structural material for plastic replacement” by Qing-Fang Guan, Huai-Bin Yang, Zi-Meng Han, Zhang-Chi Ling and Shu-Hong Yu, November 3, 2020, Nature Communication.
DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-020-19174-1

This biomimetic design of a highly ordered brick and mortar structure provides key ideas for developing durable structural materials for plastic replacement. As it is environmentally friendly and has better mechanical and thermal properties than plastics, materials are expected to play a key role in plastic replacement.

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