Smart, Self-Healing Hydrogels
A smart, self-healing hydrogel developed at UC San Diego is made of linked chains of polymer molecules that are similar to the soft tissues of the body. "Dangling side chain" molecules add the capability of self-repair when the body of the hydrogel is cut or damaged.
(Smart, self-healing hydrogels)
"Self-healing is one of the most fundamental properties of living tissues that allows them to sustain repeated damage," says Varghese. "Being bioengineers, one question that repeatedly appeared before us was if one could mimic self-healing in synthetic, tissue-like materials such as hydrogels. The benefits of creating such an aqueous self-healing material would be far-reaching in medicine and engineering."
To design the side chain molecules of the hydrogel that would enable rapid self-healing, Varghese and her collaborators performed computer simulations of the hydrogel network. The simulations revealed that the ability of the hydrogel to self-heal depended critically on the length of the side chain molecules, or fingers, and that hydrogels having an optimal length of side chain molecules exhibited the strongest self-healing. When two cylindrical pieces of gels featuring these optimized fingers were placed together in an acidic solution, they stuck together instantly. Varghese's lab further found that by simply adjusting the solution's pH levels up or down, the pieces weld (low pH) and separate (high pH) very easily. The process was successfully repeated numerous times without any reduction in the weld strength.
Self-healing materials have a long history in science fiction; in his 1951 story Asteroid of Fear, sf great Raymond Z. Gallun, we encounter a unique plastic that can repair itself:
But the wide roof was all the way up, now—intact. It made a great, squarish bubble, the skin of which [a 'transparent, wire-strengthened plastic '] was specially treated to stop the hard and dangerous part of the ultra-violet rays of the sun, and also the lethal portion of the cosmic rays. It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that could seal the punctures that grain-of-sand-sized meteors might make.
(Read more about self-healing plastic)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/13/2012)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
New Material Absorbs and Stores Solar Energy
'The light that is thus trapped can be released by making a small spark near the glass.' - L. Sprague de Camp, 1940.
3D Printed Damascus Steel Now Possible
'... lined with durite, that strange close-packed laboratory product.' - Robert Heinlein, 1939.
3D Printing Of Metallic Glass
Draw Circuits With Conductive Ink
'It's rewiring things... squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon along the printed circuitry.'
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
SpaceX Requests Starlink For Starship
'... sweating, heat-blistered engineers at every interplanetary radiograph station on three planets.'
SF Writers Predicted John Deere Autonomous Tractors
'The huge plow... seemed to shake itself - and began to move back southward.'
DARPA Funding AI Fighter Pilots
'Cultured brains on a slab.'
StoryFile To Help William Shatner Become Landru
"I am Landru. I am he! All that he was, I am."
Telehealth Drones To The Rescue
'A shadow passed over him, and he looked up.'
Capture Asteroids In A Bag
'... just as a small boy catches a swift ball in his cap.'
Sony Pocket Air Conditioner Is Phil Dick's Idea!
'... he went to the hall closet to get his pith helmet and his mandatory cooling-unit.'
Is It Possible To GROW Planes And Vehicles?
'These are your rudimentary seed packages...'
Guard Dog Robot Security Check
'We still use people at the main gates, but here it's an automated sentry.'
Sheepskin Parchment Helped Medieval Lawyers Prevent Fraud
'The single sheet he held, and even the words and signatures upon it, were all integral parts of a single giant molecule...'
Space 'Hurricane' Has Been Seen
'... it was the biggest of the four hundred odd storms raging in the Fifty Suns region.'
PR2 Fencing Robot Perfect For Kwisatz Haderach-in-training
'Now, we'll work on your timing. Let me see you catch that thing sinister.'
Sole Morphing Astronaut Boots - A New Pair Of Moon Boots?
'It’s an ideal device for kangarooing along in lunar gravity.'
Mice Gestate In Mechanical Womb
'... in the Decanting Room, the newly-unbottled babes uttered their first yell of horror and amazement.'
3rd Century BC Gold Bee Is Just The Start
Bees knees, I order you to freeze!
Worlds With Underground Oceans More Conducive To Life
'There is life on Europa.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories