Self healing, Tough, Stretchy, Bio-gel

Conventional bio-compatible, water based hydrogels have been too fragile. By adding a seaweed extract to polyacrylamide (think soft contact lenses) researchers have created a new gel that is tough, elastic and can self repair damage. This new gel may excel as cartilage replacements and has potential for other bio-implants.

Tough gel stretches to 21 times its length, recoils, and heals itself – [harvard.edu]

A team of experts in mechanics, materials science, and tissue engineering at Harvard have created an extremely stretchy and tough gel that may pave the way to replacing damaged cartilage in human joints.

Called a hydrogel, because its main ingredient is water, the new material is a hybrid of two weak gels that combine to create something much stronger. Not only can this new gel stretch to 21 times its original length, but it is also exceptionally tough, self-healing, and biocompatible—a valuable collection of attributes that opens up new opportunities in medicine and tissue engineering.

The material, its properties, and a simple method of synthesis are described in the September 6 issue of Nature.

VIDEO: Tough gel stretches to 21 times its length, recoils, and heals itself – [youtube.com]

Biocompatible material created at Harvard is much tougher than cartilage.

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