Soft yet strong gel keeps its shape after being run over by a car

By Carissa Wong.

A new gel is very small and quickly returns to its original shape.

The University of Cambridge has a person named Zehuan Huang.

A soft gel made of 80 per cent water can be used as a shatterproof glass and can be run over by a car 16 times. The material could be used for a variety of applications.

The rubber-like properties of the hydrogel networks that have been made before make them soft and stretchable. These gels don't bounce back to their original shape under high compression.

Oren and his colleagues at the University of Cambridge have created a gel that can return to its original shape in a couple of minutes, even after being rammed by a car.

The work breaks through the boundaries of what was thought possible, says Richard Hoogenboom, who wasn't involved in the study. He says that the gel combines both of the properties of the network to make it strong and tough.

Injected hydrogel could help regenerate damaged cartilage.

Two types ofguest molecule are in the gel, which is made from a mixture of two types of phenyl and perfluorophenyl. The guest molecule is cross-linked to each other inside the hosts.

The cross links are formed through attraction between charges. Making the cross links last longer could increase the resistance of the hydrogel to compression.

The time before cross links fell apart was increased because the researchers modified the structure of the phenyl guest molecule in the network to make them more water resistant. They made a range of gels, from rubber-like to glass-like.

This new class of materials holds great promise in a wide range of applications, including soft robotics, electronic skins, and artificial limbs.

Nature Materials is a journal.

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