A finding by a University of Central Florida researcher that unlocks a means of controlling materials at the nanoscale and opens the door to a new generation of manufacturing is featured online today in the journal Nature.
Using a pair of pliers in each hand and gradually pulling taut a piece of glass fiber coated in plastic, associate professor Ayman Abouraddy found that something unexpected and never before documented occurred – the inner fiber fragmented in an orderly fashion.
“What we expected to see happen is NOT what happened,” he said. “While we thought the core material would snap into two large pieces, instead it broke into many equal-sized pieces.”
He referred to the technique in the Nature article as “Breaking Me Softly.”
The process of pulling fibers to force the realignment of the molecules that hold them together, known as cold drawing, has been the standard for mass production of flexible fibers like plastic and nylon for most of the last century.
Abouraddy and his team have shown that the process may also be applicable to multi-layered materials, a finding that could lead to the manufacturing of a new generation of materials with futuristic attributes.
The University of South Florida, also known as USF, is a member institution of the State University System of Florida and a public research university located in Tampa, Florida, USA.
Founded in 1956, USF is the fourth-largest public university in the state of Florida, with a total enrollment of 47,646 as of the 2012–2013 academic year. The USF system comprises three institutions: USF Tampa, USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Each institution is separately accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The university is home to 14 colleges, offering over 80 undergraduate majors and more than 130 graduate, specialist, and doctoral-level degree programs.
USF is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in the top tier of research universities, and is one of only four universities in Florida to hold this highest level of classification. In its 2011 ranking, the Intellectual Property Owners Association placed USF 10th among all universities worldwide in the number of US patents granted. The university has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $3.7 billion. In a ranking compiled by the National Science Foundation, USF has the 50th-highest research expenditure in the United States and in the state of Florida only trails the University of Florida.
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