Scientists Develop Fake Skin That Heals Itself In 30 Minutes
Scientists at Stanford University have created fake skin that can heal itself in 30 minutes if torn or cut.
Lead researcher, chemical engineering professor Zhenan Bao, and her team concocted the synthetic material from plastic that consists of a long chain of molecules joined by relatively weak hydrogen bonds. This means that the molecules break easily. Tiny particles of nickel were then mixed in to give the plastic conductivity and strength.
In a news release, researcher Chao Wang explains how the self-healing material works:
The molecules easily break apart, but then when they reconnect, the bonds reorganize themselves and restore the structure of the material after it gets damaged, he said. The result is a bendable material, which even at room temperature feels a bit like saltwater taffy left in the fridge.
To demonstrate the material’s healing powers, researchers sliced the material in half with a scalpel and then pressed the pieces together for a few seconds. The material returned to nearly 100 percent of its original strength within 30 minutes. This was true even after 50 cuts.
Researchers hope the synthetic material could be used in prosthetics or to wrap electronic devices.
Their work was published yesterday, Nov. 11, in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.