Repeated activity wears on soft robotic actuators, but these machines' moving parts need to be reliable and easily fixed. Now a team of researchers has a biosynthetic polymer, patterned after squid ring teeth, that is self-healing and biodegradable, creating a material not only good for actuators, but also for hazmat suits and other applications where tiny holes could cause a danger. "Current self-healing materials have shortcomings that limit their practical application, such as low healing strength and long healing times (hours)," the researchers report in today's (July 27) issue of Nature Materials. The researchers produced high-strength synthetic proteins that mimic those found in nature. Like the creatures they are patterned on, the proteins can self-heal both minute and visible damage.
The future of mending clothes may require one less tailor and one extra squid. In a new development, researchers at Pennsylvania State University have discovered healing properties in the proteins from squid ring teeth that can self-repair some fabrics. According to the team, this technology can be applied to create chemically protective suits that protect farmers from pesticide exposure, factory workers from toxic ingredients and soldiers from chemical and biological attacks. "Fashion designers use natural fibers made of proteins like wool or silk that are expensive and they are not self-healing," said Melik C. Demirel, professor of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State, in a statement. "We were looking for a way to make fabrics self-healing using conventional textiles.
Clothing could soon have the ability to repair itself when damaged – all you need to do is add water. Scientists have designed a new water-repellent material that when scratched and submerged in water, will shed off the top layer to reveal an unscathed surface underneath. The team foresees the innovation being used in a range of applications including rain gear, medical instruments and self-cleaning car windows. Nanograss consists of tiny needle-like projections sticking straight up. To demonstrate the invention, researcher scratched the coating and submerged the material in water, which then seeped into the cut and dissolved the polymer.
Clothing of the future could have the ability to repair itself after a tear – all you need to do is add water. Researchers have developed a coating for textiles that can heal itself, and neutralize harmful chemicals. They say this could one day be used to make chemically protective suits, helping to keep everyone from soldiers to farmers safe from toxic materials. Clothing of the future could have the ability to repair itself after a tear – all you need to do is add water. Polyelectrolytes coating is composed of positively and negatively charged polymers.
When you pull a muscle, it may hurt like heck for a while, but the human body can heal. The same is not true of the electrically-responsive polymers used to make artificial muscles for haptic systems and experimental robots. When they get cut or punctured, it's game over. A new polymer that's super stretchy and self-healing can act as a more resilient artificial muscle material. Created by a team led by Stanford University materials scientist Zhenan Bao, the polymer has an unusual combination of properties.