A team of materials scientists at Harvard University and the University of Exeter has invented a new fibre which changes colour when stretched. Inspired by nature, the researchers identified and replicated the unique structural elements, which create the bright iridescent blue colour of a tropical plant’s fruit.
The multilayered fibre, described in the journal Advanced Materials, could lend itself to the creation of smart fabrics that visibly react to heat or pressure.
“Our new fibre is based on a structure we found in nature, and through clever engineering we’ve taken its capabilities a step further,” says lead author Dr Mathias Kolle, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). “The plant, of course, cannot change colour. By combining its structure with an elastic material, however, we’ve created an artificial version that passes through a full rainbow of colours as it’s stretched.” (more…)