Tech UPTechnologyAn intelligent material that is self-healing

An intelligent material that is self-healing

hidrogelA team from the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego (USA) has developeda hydrogelthat sticks in seconds, with the same ease as velcro, and which could have numerous applications in the medical field to seal wounds, as well as in engineering.

Hydrogels are intertwined chains of polymers that form a flexible, gelatinous material similar to soft tissue. The team, led by Shyni Varghese, has developed a material whose molecules stick together like the fingers of a hand. “Self-healing is one of the fundamental properties of living tissues that allows them to overcome ongoing damage,” explains Varghese, adding that it is the first time that a self-healing synthetic material has been developed.

The gel works especially well in an acidic environment similar to that of the stomach, making it the ideal adhesive fortreat stomach wall perforationsor for the controlled release of drugs in gastric ulcers, as explained by the authors in the journalPNAS. However, the researchers hope to apply it insutures and wound healing.

On the other hand, the new material could be useful in engineering, as self-repair of breaks could help reduce industrial and consumer product waste. In addition, the rapidity of self-healing shown by the hydrogel makes it a promising candidate forseal leaks from containers containing corrosive acids.


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