Researchers at Rice University have devised a novel, flexible, self-adaptive composite (SAC), biomimetic material that is capable of re-assuming its original form and healing itself. Published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, the study describes the production and characteristics of SAC, which is composed of a mixture of two polymers and a solvent.
Evaporation of the solvent in the presence of heat results in the formation of a flexible matrix of sticky, tiny rubber spheres. The spheres are made of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and are coated by viscous polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The result is a resilient material with high viscoelasticity that enables deformation and reformation following compression. Moreover, if the matrix is physically compromised, it has the ability to heal.
The authors describe the material as an “extreme gel”, with a liquid phase of approximately 50%, making it far more mechanically robust than a regular gel. According to the authors, SAC shows promise as a biocompatible material for tissue engineering based on its favorable mechanical characteristics and the ease with which it can be produced.
Study in ACS Materials & Interfaces: A Solid-liquid Self-adaptive Polymeric Composite
Source: Rice University