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A self-healing sensitive material was created

13 November 2012, 21:02

The new material can be used in the prosthesis, as well as the creation of electronic devices.

Created resettable sensitive material

Scientists are far from being the first year of trying to create a material that would mimic the human skin, had the same characteristics, and to carry out similar functions. The main quality of the skin that are trying to recreate the scientists are the sensitivity and the ability to heal. Because of these properties of human skin brain sends signals about the temperature and pressure, and serves as a protective barrier from the environment stimuli.

Team of chemical engineering professor at Stanford University Chzhenana Bao as a result of hard work for the first time managed to create a material that combines these two qualities.

Created resettable sensitive material

Was created many examples of "artificial skin" for the past ten years, however, even the best of them had serious deficiencies. Some of them for the "healing" requires exposure to high temperatures, making it impossible for their daily use in a domestic environment. Other restored at room temperature, but the reduction varies their mechanical or chemical structure makes them essentially disposable. But most importantly, none of these materials was not a good conductor of electricity.

Chzhenanu Bao and his colleagues managed to make a big step forward in this direction, and the first to combine in a single material self-healing plastic polymer and the conductivity of the metal.

Scientists started with plastics, which consisted of a long chain molecules linked by hydrogen bonds. This is a fairly weak bond between the positively charged region of one atom and the negatively charged region of the next. This structure allowed the material to effectively regenerate after an external impact. Molecules quite simply destroyed, but then joined again in its original form. The result is a flexible material that scientists compared to the left in the refrigerator for toffee.

By this elastic polymer scientists added nickel microparticles that have increased mechanical strength of the material. Furthermore, these particles increased its conductivity: current easily carried from one to another microparticles.

Created resettable sensitive material

The result met all expectations. "Most plastics are good insulators, but we have made a great conductor," - concluded Chzhenan Bao.

The researchers then tested the ability of a material to recover. They cut a small piece of half matearila knife. Lightly pressing two formed parts to each other, the researchers found that the material is 75% restored its original strength and electrical conductivity. After half an hour the material is fully restored their original properties.

"Even human skin takes days to heal So, in my opinion, we have achieved a very good result." - said colleague Bao Bendzhamin Chi Kion Tee.

The new material has successfully passed the test and the next - 50 cut-recovery cycles.

The researchers are not going to stop there. In the future, they want to achieve more efficient use of the nickel particles in the material, as they not only make it stronger and improve electrical conductivity, but also reduce the ability to heal itself. The use of smaller metal particles may make the material even more effective.

By measuring the sensitivity of the material, scientists have found that it is able to detect and respond to the pressure force of a handshake. Because the Bao and his team believe that their invention can be used in the prosthetic limb. In addition, they are going to make their material as thin and transparent, so that it can be used to cover electronic devices and screens.

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