Mechanical unfolding of fluorescent protein enables self-reporting of damage in carbon-fibre-reinforced composites

Lörcher, Samuel and Winkler, Thomas and Makyła, Katarzyna and Ouellet-Plamondon, Claudiane and Burgert, Ingo and Bruns, Nico. (2014) Mechanical unfolding of fluorescent protein enables self-reporting of damage in carbon-fibre-reinforced composites. Journal of materials chemistry A, Vol. 2, issue 17. pp. 6231-6237.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6233673

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Carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer composites with enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (eYFP) at the interface of fibres and resin were prepared. The protein was immobilized on the carbon fibres by physisorbtion and by covalent conjugation, respectively. Immobilized eYFP fluoresced on the carbon fibers, in contrast to non-protein fluorophores that were fully quenched by the carbon surface. The fibres were embedded into epoxy resin and eYFP remained fluorescent within the composite material. Michromechanical tests demonstrated that the interfacial shear strength of the material was not altered by the presence of the protein. Immunostainig of single fibre specimen revealed that eYFP loses its fluorescence in response to pull-out of fibres from resin droplets. The protein was able to detect barely visible impact damage such as fibre-resin debonding and fibre fractures by loss of its fluorescence. Therefore, it acts as a molecular force and stress/strain sensor at the fibre-resin interface and renderers the composite self-sensing and self-reporting of microscopic damage. The mechanoresponsive effect of eYFP did not depend on the type of eYFP immobilization. Fibres with physisorbed protein gave similar results as fibres to which the protein was conjugated via covalent linkers. The results show that fluorescent proteins are compatible with carbon fibre composites. Such mechanophores could therefore be implemented as safety feature into composites to assure material integrity and thereby prevent catastrophic material failure.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Chemie > Chemie
05 Faculty of Science > Departement Chemie > Former Organization Units Chemistry > Makromolekulare Chemie (Meier)
UniBasel Contributors:Lörcher, Samuel and Bruns, Nico and Makyla, Katarzyna
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Royal Society of Chemistry
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:10 Apr 2015 09:12
Deposited On:06 Feb 2015 09:58

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