Self-Healing Hydrogel For Artificial Muscles By ANU Scientists
The Australian National University (ANU) scientists developed a new hydrogel that shares characteristics with biological matters like bone, ligaments, and skin.
The hydrogel has properties of self-healing, strength, and ability to change shape.
The hydrogel offers the possibility to make a new class of medical implants and artificial muscles for next-generation soft robots that could one day swim.
Hydrogels are a three-dimensional network of polymers that can hold water. Hydrogels are famous for their applications in products like contact lenses.
Luke Connal, Associate Professor from the ANU, said the new hydrogel contains dynamic chemical bonds that make the gel unique.
The unique chemistry of hydrogel gives it an ability to repair itself just like the skin.
Unlike the other hydrogels, this one is very strong, can lift heavy weights, and change shapes just like the human muscles. The ability to change the shape could be exploited to make artificial muscles for humanoid robots.
The strength, flexibility, and self-healing property of the hydrogel could be used to develop wearable technology and various biomedical devices.
Postdoctoral Fellow and co-researcher od the study Dr. Zhen Jiang said a form of temperature control could change the shape enabling the use of self-healing hydrogels for artificial muscles.
We have seen artificial humanoid robots doing challenging tasks in many science fiction movies. The discovery of hydrogel takes us one step closer to making it possible in real life.
Dr. Jiang was inspired by one of his Ph.D. projects to develop the new hydrogel.
Researchers working on next-generation soft robots would be interested in their new hydrogel.
Advanced Materials published the ANU scientists’ discovery of self-healing hydrogel for artificial muscles.
The national research university, ANU, is located in the capital of Australia, Canberra. According to the QS world university rankings, ANU holds the 24th position in the world and first position in Australia. Established in 1946, ANU is the only university founded by Parliament of Australia.