There are materials in nature that exhibit these abilities, called auxhetics, like cat skin, the protective layer in the shells of mussels and tendons in the human body, but it is the first time that a synthetic material with these properties is created, that is, it becomes thicker, level molecular, as it stretches.
The creators of this material have been researchers at the University of Leeds.
The auxhetics They are also excellent for absorbing energy and resisting fractures. There may be many potential applications for materials with these properties, such as body armor, architecture and medical equipment.
The team discovered the material, still without denomination, while examining the capabilities of liquid crystal elastomers. Liquid crystals are best known for their use on mobile phone and television screens and have both liquid and solid properties. As he explains Deves Mistry, from the Leeds School of Physics and Astronomy, and lead author of the new research:
This is a really exciting discovery, which will have significant benefits in the future for product development with a wide range of applications. This new synthetic material is inherently auxhetic at the molecular level and, therefore, is much simpler to manufacture and avoids the problems that are generally encountered with engineering products. But more research is needed to understand exactly how they can be used.