Why in News?
- On July 24, 2021, Union Ministry of Science and Technology informed that Indian scientists have discovered materials (piezoelectric molecular crystals) that self-repair mechanical damages.
- The researchers were from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata, teaming up with IIT Kharagpur.
About the Discovery
- Scientists have developed piezoelectric molecular crystals that repair themselves from mechanical damages without need for any external intervention.
- The materials (piezoelectric) repair their own mechanical damages with the electrical charges generated by the mechanical impact on them.
- The piezoelectric molecules also called bipyrazole organic crystals recombine following mechanical fracture autonomously self-healing in milliseconds with crystallographic precision.
- These crystals have the unique property of generating electrical charges. When the object is damaged an electrical charge is generated at the crack areas followed by broken pieces attracting each other leading to an autonomous precise repair.
- This methodology was initially developed by the IISER Kolkata team by Prof. C. Malla Reddy, a recipient of Swarnajayanti fellowship (2015) given by the Deparment of Science & Technology GoI.
- Prof. Niramala Ghosh of IISER Kolkata probed the crystals and Prof. Bhanu Bhusan Khatua and Dr. Sumanta Karan studied the performance of the new materials for fabricating mechanical energy harvesting devices.
Why Piezoelectric crystals?
- Devices of daily use often break down due to mechanical damage and forces us to repair or replace them.
- The damage of devices decreases its life and increases the maintenance costs.
- In cases like maintenance of spacecrafts, human intervention is not possible.
Uses of Piezoelectric Materials
- Application in high-end micro-chips high-precision mechanical sensors, actuators, micro-robotics, etc.
- It may also lead to the development of smart gadgets that self-repair cracks or scratches.
The development of piezoelectric crystals (bipyrazole organic crystals) by Indian researchers is a matter of pride. The achievement should further lead the scientists towards developing such equipment made up of piezoelectric crystals as these are claimed to be abundant in nature. This will surely make a significant impact on the lives of people in India and across the world.
@ Abhay Pandey