Scientists are good at finding connections between two seemingly unrelated concepts or objects.
Nacre, also called "mother of pearl", is an organic-inorganic composite material secreted by mollusks, and the main component of the outer layer of pearls. A flexible heater can conform to the surface which requires heating. Flexible heaters can take the shape of a rope, tape, sheet or mat. They are used in many industrial and commercial applications. The latest efforts in research are to turn them into wearable devices.
Compared to the conducting metals in most flexible heating elements—indium tin oxide, silver nanowire-based electrodes are the ideal substitutes because of its superior conductivity, optical transparency, and mechanical flexibility. But they form a weak adhesion with plastic substrates, which reduce their usability.
Now a team of biomedical engineers has come up with a better substrate for the nanowires to bind: a nacre-like composite. The mimetics are lightweight and mechanically robust, just like the natural nacre. Research demonstrated that the silver nanowires adhered to the new material better than to traditional plastic substrates. Also, the composite material showed excellent heating properties.
Source: ACS via Youtube