Saturday, December 4

Super jelly: create material resistant to the weight of an elephant | Digital Trends Spanish

A group of British researchers developed a gelatinous material that has the ability to support the weight equivalent to that of an elephant and regain its original shape, despite being 80 percent water.

Baptized as super jelly, the material looks and feels like soft gelatin, but acts like ultra-hard, unbreakable glass when compressed, despite its high liquid content.

According to researchers from the University of CambridgeThis is explained because the remaining 20 percent is made up of a network of polymers that are held together and that control the mechanical properties.

This is the first time that such significant compressive strength has been incorporated into a soft material. “We are not only writing something new in textbooks, which is really exciting, but we are opening a new chapter in the area of ​​high-performance soft materials,” said Zehuan Huang from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. .

Super gelatin could be used for a wide range of potential applications, including soft robotics, bioelectronics, or even as a cartilage replacement for biomedical uses.

How Super Jelly Works

How materials behave, whether they are soft or firm, brittle or strong, depends on their molecular structure.

Elastic rubber-like hydrogels have many properties that make them a subject of research, both for their toughness and their ability to self-healing. However, developing hydrogels that resist compression without collapsing is a bigger challenge, according to Huang.

The team used barrel-shaped molecules called cucurbiturils to develop the hydrogel. Inside, two other guest molecules are linked through a chemical bond, which holds the polymer network tightly together.

“At 80% water content, you would think it would break like a water balloon, but it doesn’t: it remains intact and resists enormous compressive forces,” said Oren Scherman, director of the University’s Polymer Synthesis Laboratory. from Cambridge.

He added that “we have reviewed the physics of traditional polymers and created a new class of materials that encompasses the entire range of material properties, from rubber to glass, completing the whole picture.”

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