Surfactant molecules, which are commonly found in soaps and detergents, have two main parts, a head and a tail, that help them break down and penetrate grease and oil. A research team has recently built a palm-sized microfluidics tool that passes water, detergent, and salt through tiny posts, producing a viscous, elastic gel that requires fewer surfactant molecules.
Surfactant molecules, which are commonly found in soaps and detergents, have two main...
Scientists in China say they have developed the world's lightest material, which they...
A research team at the National Institute of Materials Science in Japan has recently developed a...
Stanford Univ. scientists have dramatically improved the performance of lithium-ion batteries by creating novel electrodes made of silicon and conducting polymer hydrogel, a spongy material similar to that used in contact lenses and other household products. The scientists developed a new technique for producing low-cost, silicon-based batteries with potential applications for a wide range of electrical devices.
It’s a familiar scenario—a patient receives a medical implant and days later, the body attacks the artificial valve or device, causing complications to an already compromised system. Expensive medical devices and surgeries often are thwarted by the body’s natural response to attack something in the tissue that appears foreign. Now, University of Washington engineers have demonstrated in mice a way to prevent this sort of response.
Coating medical supplies with an antimicrobial material is one approach that bioengineers are using to combat the increasing spread of multidrug-resistant bacteria. A research team in Singapore has now developed a highly effective antimicrobial coating based on cationic polymers. The coating can be applied to medical equipment, such as catheters.
Gelatin sets by forming a solid matrix full of random, liquid-filled pores—much like a saturated sponge. It turns out that a similar process also happens in some metallic glasses, substances whose molecular behavior has now been clarified by new Massachusetts Institute of Technology research detailing the “setting” of these metal alloys.
Bacterial biofilms, which diseased groupings of cells found in 80% of infections, are a significant health hazard and one of the biggest headaches for hospitals and their constant battle against disease. Researchers from IBM, with the help of scientists in Singapore, revealed today a synthetic antimicrobial hydrogel that can break through diseased biofilms and completely eradicate drug-resistant bacteria upon contact. It is the first hydrogel to be biodegradable, biocompatible, and non-toxic.
Self-moving gels can give synthetic materials the ability to "act alive" and mimic primitive biological communication, University of Pittsburgh researchers have found. In a recently published paper, the Pitt research team demonstrates that a synthetic system can reconfigure itself through a combination of chemical communication and interaction with light.
Building a tunnel made up of both hard and soft materials to guide the reconnection of severed nerve endings may be the first step toward helping patients who have suffered extensive nerve trauma regain feeling and movement, according to a team of biomedical engineers.
A painstaking effort to create a biocompatible patch to heal infant hearts is paying off at Rice University and Texas Children’s Hospital. The proof is in a petri dish in Jeffrey Jacot's laboratory, where a small slab of gelatinous material beats with the rhythm of a living heart.
A University of British Columbia researcher has helped create a gel—based on the mussel's knack for clinging to rocks, piers, and boat hulls-that can be painted onto the walls of blood vessels and stay put, forming a protective barrier with potentially life-saving implications.
A bit reminiscent of the Terminator T-1000, a new material created by Cornell University researchers is so soft that it can flow like a liquid and then, strangely, return to its original shape. Rather than liquid metal, it is a hydrogel, a mesh of organic molecules with many small empty spaces that can absorb water like a sponge. It qualifies as a "metamaterial" with properties not found in nature and may be the first organic metamaterial with mechanical metaproperties.
Gels that can be injected into the body, carrying drugs or cells that regenerate damaged tissue, hold promise for treating many types of disease. However, these injectable gels don't always maintain their solid structure once inside the body. Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemical engineers have now designed an injectable gel that responds to the body's high temperature by forming a reinforcing network that makes the gel much more durable, allowing it to function over a longer period of time.
They're soft, biocompatible, about 7 mm long, and able to walk by themselves. Miniature "bio-bots" developed at the University of Illinois are making tracks in synthetic biology. Designing non-electronic biological machines has been a riddle that scientists at the interface of biology and engineering have struggled to solve. These bio-bots demonstrate the Illinois team's ability to forward-engineer functional machines using only hydrogel, heart cells, and a 3D printer.
Bioengineers at Harvard University have developed a gel-based sponge that can be molded to any shape, loaded with drugs or stem cells, compressed to a fraction of its size, and delivered via injection. Once inside the body, it pops back to its original shape and gradually releases its cargo, before safely degrading.
Researchers in Switzerland have just published research on how to combine two gels in such a way that they can monitor and change, almost at will, the transparency, electrical properties, and stiffness of the material. Called a “bigel”, the unique material was built by combining DNA fragments with nanoparticles.
Materials scientists at Rice University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created very thin color-changing films that may serve as part of inexpensive sensors. The new work combines polymers into a unique, self-assembled metamaterial that, when exposed to ions in a solution or in the environment, changes color depending on the ions' ability to infiltrate the hydrophilic layers.
A team of experts in mechanics, materials science, and tissue engineering at Harvard University have created an extremely stretchy and tough gel that may pave the way to replacing damaged cartilage in human joints. Called a hydrogel, 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.
Microscale objects can be completed in a number of different ways. But tuning the chemical properties of that objects can be difficult. Using laser beams, researchers in Austria have shown that molecules can be fixed at exactly the right position in a 3D material. The new method can be used to grow biological tissue or to create micro-sensors.
Nanocellulose is a highly fibrillated material, composed of nanofibrils with diameters in the nanometer scale, with high aspect ratio and high specific surface area. Recently, the suitability of cellulose nanofibrils from wood for forming elastic cryogels has been demonstrated by scientists. These gels could improve wound healing if used in dressings.
Rendering, or cladding, is the most common way of maintaining the look of an old house while adding insulation. But cutting panels to size and shape is a cumbersome process. Researchers in Switzerland, which has many old houses that need fresh insulation, have developed an aerogel-based plaster that is both easier to apply and provides better insulation.
Imagine a machine that makes layered, substantial patches of engineered tissue. Sounds like science fiction? According to researchers at the University of Toronto, it's a growing possibility. They have invented a method that incorporates cells onto a mosaic hydrogel that offers the perfect conditions for growth.
Researchers in Japan have recently designed organic nanotube gels in which the inner and outer surface structures and diameter of the nanochannel are precisely controlled. This ability to tune the gel for a protein of interest allows the scientists to protect proteins from heat and chemicals. The technology could be used to enable high-purity proteins for use in nanoreactors and enzyme sensors.
Stanford University researchers have invented an electrically conductive hydrogel that is quick and easy to make, can be patterned onto surfaces with an inkjet printer, and demonstrates unprecedented electrical performance. This combination of characteristics hold promise for biological sensors and futuristic energy storage devices.
Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Arizona State University are studying the mechanics of shape-shifting hydrogels: Looking for relationships between a hydrogel structure's initial shape, and the medium in which it transforms, in order to predict its final shape. The researchers report that they can now create and predict complex shapes from hydrogels.
Sooner or later, robots may have the ability to "feel." In a recently published paper, a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology demonstrated that a nonoscillating gel can be resuscitated in a fashion similar to a medical cardiopulmonary resuscitation, paving the way for development of new applications that sense mechanical stimuli and respond chemically.
University of Leeds scientists have invented a new type of polymer gel that can be used to manufacture cheaper lithium batteries without compromising performance. The technology has been licensed to the American company Polystor Energy Corporation, which is conducting trials to commercialize cells for portable consumer electronics.