electro reactive materials

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
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Ok, I have googled my little brain out on this one...

a few months ago, I saw a show (Science channel or Discovery or Learning channel or something) about materials. In the show, they glossed over a bunch of cool things like nanotubules that could be forned into the shape of a 2" block, hold up to 5 pounds and weighed like nothing and could be vacuum compressed into a pellet and stuff like that.

Anyways, one of the materials they mentioned was a elastomer/polmer/plastic that was pliable, but became rigid when a small DC current was applied. The concept was similar to how an LCD works, but rigid instead of opaque.

I need to identify what this stuff was and learn about the science behind it for semi-unrelated reasons. Does anyone have any clue what I am talking about?

TIA

--DDTM

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--DDTM ('Fritter Critter' since Apr 26 2004 - 18:16)

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I can't say that ive seen exa

I can't say that ive seen exactly what your talking about before, but it sounds pretty interesting. However, I have seen a liquid that turns almost solid when a magnetic force is applied near it.

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
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similar

yes, something similar to this. Can you post or PM a link or point me in a direction. This type of material may be helpful for my research as well.

Thanks!

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--DDTM ('Fritter Critter' since Apr 26 2004 - 18:16)

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Dr. Webster's picture
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Re: electro reactive materials

doug-doug the mighty wrote:

Anyways, one of the materials they mentioned was a elastomer/polmer/plastic that was pliable, but became rigid when a small DC current was applied.

You sure you didn't see that in the new Batman movie instead of the Discovery Channel?

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the batman movie got it after

the batman movie got it after the real stuff, i have seen it to but i can't identify it.

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Joined: Jan 23 2005
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Hmmm...

Quote:

The concept was similar to how an LCD works, but rigid instead of opaque.

An opaque LCD? That doesn't strike me as being terribly useful. What would you do with an LCD that light couldn't pass through?

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opaque LCD . . .

Heh heh, that pretty much describes every LCD ever. The trick is the ability to switch between opaque and transparent, preventing or allowing the backlight to shine through.

You can also get these really cool (but super-pricey!) LCD windows (like for a house), able to switch instantly between opaque and transparent, like window blinds.

etc. Cool Mac

dan k

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
Posts: 1355
Re: opaque LCD . . .

dankephoto wrote:

Heh heh, that pretty much describes every LCD ever. The trick is the ability to switch between opaque and transparent, preventing or allowing the backlight to shine through.

You can also get these really cool (but super-pricey!) LCD windows (like for a house), able to switch instantly between opaque and transparent, like window blinds.

etc. Cool Mac

dan k

True. Many applications utilize this today. I know of a local secutiry company that has this in its ops room by the entry door. when the door is opened, the window goes opaque, when closed, it goes clear.

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--DDTM ('Fritter Critter' since Apr 26 2004 - 18:16)

'If it ain't broke, take it apart anyways. If you can't take it apart, break it so that you can fix it.'

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Yes, I've worked on a subcontract for it

My job is in product prototypes. About seven years ago I heard about this stuff at work. I was assigned to make a model of a future device that utilizes this material.

It was a pretty silly consumer application (I think). Basically, I made a handheld unit that was solid, and had about a 2" LCD screen (faked), an array of button controllers and a "joystick"/pad (if I'm remembering correctly, which is a design that did get adopted more into product use come to think of it, not just for game controllers). Then the idea was that it held a finite amount of this electro sensitive substance that could be formed into three different configurations; a mini-disc player, a comb, and something else that I forget.

I may still have drawings of the concept and pictures of my prototype. If I find them, I'll post them here.

The company in question was out of South Korea. I did not sign, nor have a project specific or blanket non-disclosure agreement at that place of work.

Mutant_Pie

doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
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Re: Yes, I've worked on a subcontract for it

mutant_pie wrote:

About seven years ago I heard about this stuff at work. I was assigned to make a model of a future device that utilizes this material....

What was the type of material called? What family of plastics was it in - electro-plastic? nanotubules? ... Was it a polymer or elastomer? I would be happy to know the name of the company as well (even if only by PM).

THANKS!

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--DDTM ('Fritter Critter' since Apr 26 2004 - 18:16)

'If it ain't broke, take it apart anyways. If you can't take it apart, break it so that you can fix it.'

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Found'em. . . . drawings/pictures

I found some pictures of the drawings/prototype/model that I described above. The third configuration of the device was a cel phone. This was when they were a bit more expensive and rare (1997-1998). I'll post them when I've digitized them. Sorry, no clues about the manufacturer name, nor the name of the substance.

Based on the dates, I'm pretty sure that this was pre-nanotube era.

Mutant_Pie

eeun's picture
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I've come across [i]similar[/

I've come across similar but not quite the same description as your, er...stuff, when reading about artificial muscles.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050307095233.htm

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=0003FCFC-BB3C-1F5C-905980A84189EEDF

http://eap.jpl.nasa.gov/

You've probably been here already,
http://www.pa.msu.edu/cmp/csc/nanotube.html

...and because I've just finished reading it, and it has a nanotube space elevator in it:
http://www.curledup.com/greenmar.htm

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
Posts: 1355
ah ha!

Electroactive polymers (EAP). This is the closest thing to what I want and is probally the more general application of my specific example.

Thanks!

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--DDTM ('Fritter Critter' since Apr 26 2004 - 18:16)

'If it ain't broke, take it apart anyways. If you can't take it apart, break it so that you can fix it.'

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Here's the pic's of the prototype device

The pic's

Sorry for the fuzzy images, probably taken under an extreme deadline. The top images are of drawings, the bottom of the actual prototypes. These were "looks-like", not "works-like" proto's. There was the main non-changing handheld unit, and then the changing device accoutraments that would "grow" out of the handheld part. Sure sounds like the Electroactive Polymers.

Mutant_Pie