Scientists from the United States and Great Britain have created a substance whose crystals are able to change size depending on humidity. The development, as RIA Novosti news agency writes, referring to the publication Nature Materials, can be the basis of molecular nanomotors.
Condensation and evaporation of water are processes whose energy is not yet used for practical purposes. The situation was decided to be corrected by the staff of the Center for Advanced Scientific Research at the University of New York, who, together with scientists from the Scottish University of Strathclyde, created a crystalline material that contracts or expands depending on the changing humidity. The material is based on simple biomolecules tripeptides.
The mechanical energy that is produced by morphogenic crystals can be used to drive various molecular devices. For example, crystals can be used to create nanoscale engines.
“We managed to create a new type of actuator that works by the evaporation of water. By observing the changes in crystals, we studied the basic mechanisms that are responsible for converting the energy of evaporation of water into mechanical energy. The data obtained from the project will help to create a new type of molecular engine “Says Roxana Piotrowska, lead author of the study.