Self Healing Skin

2012
Self Healing Skin
Stanford University

They started with a plastic consisting of molecular chains joined by simple hydrogen bonds. This imparts the self-healing ability, as the bonds can be easily broken but also easily reconstituted by simply putting the broken chains back in contact with each other. In the lab, the researchers severed a piece of the material completely, creating two separate halves. After pressing the cut edge back together for just a few seconds, three-quarters of its prior strength had been restored. Within half an hour it returned to nearly 100 percent strength. After 50 such trials, the material still healed up nicely. Then, to achieve conductivity, the researchers distributed nickel particles throughout their plastic. These nickel particles not only increase the material’s mechanical strength, but also serve as a means for electrons to move through the material, hopping from one particle to the next, creating an electric current. Bending, flexing, or otherwise warping the material changes the distance between the nickel particles, altering the material‘s resistance to the current. That electrical resistance can be measured to determine the shape of the skin and any pressure being exerted on it.

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Original sources:
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-11/stanford-researchers-create-self-healing-synthetic-skin-sensitivetouch (11/12/2012)

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