Researchers have been looking for ways to visualize the stress that a plastic component is under. Dyes have been used in the past to show stress on plastics, however, these dyes only show whether stress is present or not. There has been no way to see various levels of stress.

A research team has developed a dye molecule that reacts to mechanical force and can show magnitudes of stress present by continuously changing colors. Being able to see the varying levels of stress on a plastic is important to monitoring the integrity and performance of the material.

Blending a plastic material with the molecular dye, then introducing a force such as pressure or tension, scientists can analyze the plastic down to the molecular level. The dye reacts to the force and continuously changes color as the force increases or decreases. If the force is completely removed, the dye molecule changes back to its original state. This new technology can also help engineers gain a better understanding of synthetic materials ability to bounce back.

The team is working to further develop the stress analysis to discover useful applications. The Polymers Technology Center helps customers with the processing of polymers. Our group specializes in process development on both lab and pilot scale and can troubleshoot process and materials issues.

Contact us to learn more and see how we can help your company.