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Issue 22, 2014
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Self-defending anti-vandalism surfaces based on mechanically triggered mixing of reactants in polymer foils

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Abstract

The bombardier beetle uses attack-triggered mixing of reactants (hydrochinone, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and enzymes as catalysts) to defend itself against predators. Using multi-layer polymer sheets with H2O2 and catalyst (MnO2) filled compartments we developed a 2D analogous bio-inspired chemical defence mechanism for anti-vandalism applications. The reactants were separated by a brittle layer that ruptures upon mechanical attack and converts the mechanical energy trigger (usually a few Joules) into a chemical self-defence reaction involving release of steam, and optionally persistent dyes and a DNA-based marker for forensics. These surfaces effectively translate a weak mechanical trigger into an energetic chemical reaction with energy amplification of several orders of magnitude. Since the responsive materials presented here do not depend on electricity, they may provide a cost effective alternative to currently used safety systems in the public domain, automatic teller machines and protection of money transport systems. Anti-feeding protection in forestry or agriculture may similarly profit from such mechanically triggered chemical self-defending polymer surfaces.

Graphical abstract: Self-defending anti-vandalism surfaces based on mechanically triggered mixing of reactants in polymer foils

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Dec 2013, accepted on 07 Mar 2014 and first published on 07 Mar 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3TA15326F
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2014,2, 8425-8430
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    Self-defending anti-vandalism surfaces based on mechanically triggered mixing of reactants in polymer foils

    J. G. Halter, N. H. Cohrs, N. Hild, D. Paunescu, R. N. Grass and W. J. Stark, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2014, 2, 8425
    DOI: 10.1039/C3TA15326F

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