This week in adhesives news, scientists from Northwestern University have discovered a hybrid polymer that can mimic the human muscle functions to a greater accuracy than any other material before. It reportedly can expand, contract, lift weight and repair itself.
The hybrid polymer contains nano-sized layers of supramolecular polymers that can be removed and chemically regenerated as many times as required. The polymers will respond when stimulated, meaning they can be used in drug delivery systems and artificial muscles. The combination of the rigid covalent-bond polymer and the weak and wearable supramolecular polymer has reportedly resulted in a higher molecular weight of the hybrid polymer. The strong core acts as the rigid frame for the sensitive arms to wrap around, making a cylindrical filament. The two layers of polymer are well-integrated with Hydrogen bonds, but can also be easily broken so as to replace the outer supramolecular polymer layer using new cells once it is worn or used. This unique property could lead to manufacturing self-repairing objects.
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