First ever created plastic material that can sense pressures and heal itself

The day is not far when mobile screen will heal itself the way human skin heals. Yes right! Scientists have created the first such artificial skin that can heal itself on being cut or torn. This skin can sense pressure too and therefore can be used for mobile phone screens. This synthetic skin is a brainchild of a team from Stanford University. The team claims that the skin can not only heal itself but can also conduct electricity.

Self healing plastic

This transparent polymer could be imagined as a product to make future devices robust and unbreakable. The most impressive property of synthetic skin is its good conductivity. Researchers used plastic with long molecular chains attached by hydrogen bonds to impart the property of self-healing. This is because when broken molecules reconnect, the bonds rearrange themselves. Then nickel was added to this resilient polymer to add mechanical strength to it. The rough nanoscale surface of nickel particles also helped in imparting conductivity.

To experiment the strength of the material doctor cut it in half and then pressed it gently. The outcome amazed everyone as the material gained back around 75 per cent original strength as well as conductivity and 100 per cent in about half an hour. Another achievement was to use material as a sensor. This is because twisting or compression applied on the synthetic skin can be translated into information about pressure and tension.

The sensitivity of the material can make it useful in prosthetics as well. This is because the material is not only sensitive to pressure but also to flexion. Besides mobile screens and prosthetics, the material could also be used for coating electricity wires and devices. This will save maintenance time as well as money especially in hard to reach places.

Via: Gajitz

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