Fiber Reinforced Hydrogel Fabric

Hydrogels are made from long chemical chains called polymers that have an ability to absorb a lot of water, often forming a stretchy, rubbery, colloid like substance. Hydrogels often change their structure in reaction to changes in PH (acid/base), temperature, or salt content. They are being used in tissue scaffolds, wound bandaging, diapers, contact lenses, agriculture, and just about any application that involves water binding substances. They are being used to develop substrates for electronics.

Now scientists are combining hyrogels with reinforcing fibers, just as fiberglass and other composites are created. The fiber reinforced hydrogels are strong and flexible but still exhibit many of the characteristics of the original hydrogel.

Stretchable hydrogel electronics – [mit.edu]

MIT engineers have designed what may be the Band-Aid of the future: a sticky, stretchy, gel-like material that can incorporate temperature sensors, LED lights, and other electronics, as well as tiny, drug-delivering reservoirs and channels. The “smart wound dressing” releases medicine in response to changes in skin temperature and can be designed to light up if, say, medicine is running low.

When the dressing is applied to a highly flexible area, such as the elbow or knee, it stretches with the body, keeping the embedded electronics functional and intact.

Previously, MIT engineers developed a hydrogel made of over 90% water. Now, they’ve developed a way to incorporate electronics into the hydrogel which could bridge the gap between the human body and electronics.

New “tougher-than-metal” fiber-reinforced hydrogels – [oia.hokudai.ac.jp]

A team of Hokkaido University scientists has succeeded in creating “fiber-reinforced soft composites,” or tough hydrogels combined with woven fiber fabric. These fabrics are highly flexible, tougher than metals, and have a wide range of potential applications.

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