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

Samuel Lörcher, Thomas Winkler, Katarzyna Makyła, Claudiane Ouellet-Plamondon, Ingo Burgert, Nico Bruns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer composites with an enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (eYFP) at the interface of fibres and resin were prepared. The protein was immobilized on the carbon fibres by physisorption and by covalent conjugation, respectively. The immobilized eYFP fluoresced on the carbon fibres, in contrast to non-protein fluorophores that were fully quenched by the carbon surface. The fibres were embedded into epoxy resin, and the eYFP remained fluorescent within the composite material. Micromechanical tests demonstrated that the interfacial shear strength of the material was not altered by the presence of the protein. Immunostaining 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 renders the composite self-sensing and self-reporting of microscopic damage. The mechanoresponsive effect of the eYFP did not depend on the type of eYFP immobilization. Fibres with the 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 a safety feature into composites to assure material integrity and thereby prevent catastrophic material failure. This journal is

LanguageEnglish
Pages6231-6237
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Volume2
Issue number17
Early online date28 Jan 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2014

Fingerprint

Carbon fibers
Proteins
Composite materials
Fibers
Resins
carbon fiber
Fluorescence
Epoxy Resins
Physisorption
Fluorophores
Debonding
Epoxy resins
Shear strength
Polymers
Carbon
Sensors

Keywords

  • polymer composites
  • carbon fiber
  • fluorscent proteins

Cite this

Lörcher, Samuel ; Winkler, Thomas ; Makyła, Katarzyna ; Ouellet-Plamondon, Claudiane ; Burgert, Ingo ; Bruns, Nico. / Mechanical unfolding of a fluorescent protein enables self-reporting of damage in carbon-fibre-reinforced composites. In: Journal of Materials Chemistry A. 2014 ; Vol. 2, No. 17. pp. 6231-6237.
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Mechanical unfolding of a fluorescent protein enables self-reporting of damage in carbon-fibre-reinforced composites. / Lörcher, Samuel; Winkler, Thomas; Makyła, Katarzyna; Ouellet-Plamondon, Claudiane; Burgert, Ingo; Bruns, Nico.

In: Journal of Materials Chemistry A, Vol. 2, No. 17, 07.05.2014, p. 6231-6237.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Mechanical unfolding of a fluorescent protein enables self-reporting of damage in carbon-fibre-reinforced composites

AU - Lörcher, Samuel

AU - Winkler, Thomas

AU - Makyła, Katarzyna

AU - Ouellet-Plamondon, Claudiane

AU - Burgert, Ingo

AU - Bruns, Nico

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N2 - Carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer composites with an enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (eYFP) at the interface of fibres and resin were prepared. The protein was immobilized on the carbon fibres by physisorption and by covalent conjugation, respectively. The immobilized eYFP fluoresced on the carbon fibres, in contrast to non-protein fluorophores that were fully quenched by the carbon surface. The fibres were embedded into epoxy resin, and the eYFP remained fluorescent within the composite material. Micromechanical tests demonstrated that the interfacial shear strength of the material was not altered by the presence of the protein. Immunostaining 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 renders the composite self-sensing and self-reporting of microscopic damage. The mechanoresponsive effect of the eYFP did not depend on the type of eYFP immobilization. Fibres with the 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 a safety feature into composites to assure material integrity and thereby prevent catastrophic material failure. This journal is

AB - Carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer composites with an enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (eYFP) at the interface of fibres and resin were prepared. The protein was immobilized on the carbon fibres by physisorption and by covalent conjugation, respectively. The immobilized eYFP fluoresced on the carbon fibres, in contrast to non-protein fluorophores that were fully quenched by the carbon surface. The fibres were embedded into epoxy resin, and the eYFP remained fluorescent within the composite material. Micromechanical tests demonstrated that the interfacial shear strength of the material was not altered by the presence of the protein. Immunostaining 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 renders the composite self-sensing and self-reporting of microscopic damage. The mechanoresponsive effect of the eYFP did not depend on the type of eYFP immobilization. Fibres with the 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 a safety feature into composites to assure material integrity and thereby prevent catastrophic material failure. This journal is

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