Monday, March 19, 2012

A smart material is self-healing

A team of Jacobs School of Engineering, University of California at San Diego (USA) has developed a hydrogel that adheres in seconds , with the same ease as the velcro, and could have numerous applications in the field of medicine for sealing wounds, as well as engineering. Hydrogels are intertwined chains of polymers that form a flexible gel material similar to the soft tissues. The team, led by Shyni Varghese, has developed a material whose molecules come together like the fingers of one hand.

"Self-healing is one of the fundamental properties of living tissues allowing them to overcome the ongoing damage," says Varghese, adding that this is the first time you get to develop a synthetic material services itself. The gel works especially well in a acidic environment similar to the stomach, making it into the adhesive suitable for treating holes in the wall of the stomach or controlled drug release in gastric ulcers , the authors explain in the journal PNAS . However, the researchers hope to apply it in sutures and wound healing . On the other hand, the new material could be useful in engineering, since the self-repair of breaks could help reduce industrial waste and consumer products. In addition, rapid self-repair has been shown that the hydrogel makes it a promising candidate to seal the leaking vessels containing corrosive acids .


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