How to measure and analyse the texture of food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and adhesives.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Materials of the future and how to test them


A prototype self-folding robot developed at MIT
A prototype self-folding robot developed at MIT
In laboratories around the world, scientists are finding new ways to manipulate matter at increasingly small scales, as well as drawing inspiration from biological materials.

This revolution is giving us substances with properties that were once confined to the pages of science fiction books. But these materials are more than just scientific curiosities – they are genuinely useful, to the point that as applications start to emerge they will radically change our world.



New materials on the horizon
If you’re looking for a pair of trainers woven from stainless steel, a plastic coated fabric that changes colour with temperature or a transparent material that stops bullets in their tracks, you will need to get up to date with the latest top 10 influential materials that will change the world:

Silicene – move over graphene, this is the material that will revolutionise gadgets...
Graphene – stronger, bendier, more conductive, and coming to a phone near you soon...
Ionic Liquids – a more environmentally friendly workhorse of the chemical world...
DNA Hydrogels – a shape-shifting memory goo that will be used in medicine and electronics...
Self-healing concrete – an ‘infected’ building material with an extended lifetime...
Programmable Matter – a material that can spontaneously form into a coffee cup... or a robot...
Metamaterial Invisibility Cloaks – bending light waves to make things disappear...
Polyurethane Block Copolymerthe transparent material that stops bullets in their tracks...
Gold Nanoparticlesa new gold standard in HIV tests...
Ferrofluids – the shape-shifting fluid that could transform cancer treatment...

Material Characterisation
As any material scientist knows, the physical characterisation is key to understanding the properties of these new materials, how their properties are affected by changing formulation, manufacture etc. Here we present just a few applications of measurement that will come in useful for the assessment and characterisation of new and existing materials.
 

Materials tests: flexibility, friction, tension
1: Measuring Flexibility; 2: Measuring Frictional Qualities; 3: Measuring Tensile Strength

Materials testing: tearing, adhesion, extensibility
4: Measuring Resistance to Tear; 5: Measuring Adhesion and Peel Characteristics;
6: Measuring Elongation and Extensibility


Experts in the Field of Materials Design – what they think...

 
The big question asked in a recent edition of BBC Focus magazine was: What materials will we invent in the next decade?  


Here are excerpts of answers given by leading experts in the field:
  •  “In the next decade we will see attempts to use living and lifelike systems as smart materials that self-assemble, self-heal and perform different materials.” Oron Catts, Symbiotica
  • “I believe we will see the advancement of 3D-printing technologies to enable the creation of new materials. New structures will become possible which could result in transparent metals, conductive woods, impenetrable plastics.” Zoe Laughlin, Institute of Making
  • “We will see advances in lab-grown materials with unique qualities. These may mimic nature with a fraction of the environmental footprint. We’ll see lab-grown and improved versions of leather, ivory and horn. Edible products such as cultured meat, with better nutritional qualities, will take longer, but may still be on a few tasting event’s menus.” Andras Forgacs, Modern Meadow
  • “In the next decade we are going to see all sorts of speciality 3D-printer filament. You’ll see filaments with electronic particles mixed in them, so you can print circuit boards, and filaments with tiny microsensors inside. The internet of things is going to give rise to an entire generation of contextually aware and responsive materials.” Zach Kaplan, Inventables
  • “We will use common materials such as concrete, paper or clay, with smart features including light-reflecting, conductive and sensing properties.” Thorsten Klooster, Blingcrete


The stories in this post show in graphic detail how our world is changing and are a small illustration of the wide range of industries in which Texture Analysis is becoming an indispensable aid to research and development. For more information on how to measure texture, please visit the Texture Analysis Properties section on our website.

TA.XTplus texture analyser with bloom jar The TA.XTplus texture analyser is part of a family of texture analysis instruments and equipment from Stable Micro Systems. An extensive portfolio of specialist attachments is available to measure and analyse the textural properties of a huge range of food products. Our technical experts can also custom design instrument fixtures according to individual specifications.


No-one understands texture analysis like we do!

To discuss your specific test requirements click here...


Watch our video about testing of materials Putting Packaging to the Test
 Materials and Packaging Testing

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