With Mechanophores, A Material Changes Color As It Reaches Breaking Point

A new rapid-acting, reversible polymer changes color when it is about to fail.

Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign  added force-sensitive molecules, known as mechanophores, to materials.

“The color change is the result of stress applied to the bonds that connect the mechanophores to a polymer chain,” said Hai Qian, materials science and engineering professor.

The mechanophore materials support new kinds of stress sensors.