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July 12, 2010
Polycarbonate, a type of polymer glass, can be bent (sheet), mashed (cylinder) or twisted (rod) without breaking. University of Wisconsin-Madison chemistry professor Mark Ediger studies the fundamental properties of polymer glasses that allow them to bend rather than break when put under stress. In a paper published in a major scientific journal, Ediger reported that a pulling force speeds up the movements of individual molecules within a polymer glass by more than a factor of 1,000. These fast molecular rearrangements allow the material to be shaped without cracking. [Research supported by National Science Foundation grants CTS 05-06840 and NIRT 05-06840.] (Date of Image: November 2008)

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