2009 Science News of the Year: Technology | Science News

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2009 Science News of the Year: Technology

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12:32pm, December 18, 2009

About to break
Engineers one day may not need to guess when a bridge is near its breaking point. New materials that flush red in response to damage may provide a visual warning sign of trouble to come (SN: 6/6/09, p. 15). A small four-ringed molecule called a mechanophore gives the materials their chameleon-like abilities. When the weakest bond in the mechanophore breaks, the molecule takes on a dog-bone shape, and the reaction causes the molecule to redden. Researchers spiked two kinds of polymers with the molecule and found that

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