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Stretchy, Self-healing Polymer That Could Lead To Artificial Muscle Developed

Stretchy 041916

Researchers have developed a polymer that can stretch to about hundred times its length and can even self-heal at room temperature, making it potentially useful as an artificial muscle.

A recent effort in the lab of Stanford chemical engineering Professor Zhenan Bao showed how jolting this material with an electrical field causes it to twitch or pulse in a muscle-like fashion. This polymer can also stretch to 100 times its original length, and even repair itself if punctured, researchers at Stanford University have found.

The study was published in the journal Nature Chemistry. The researchers explain how they made this super-stretchy substance. They also showed that they could make this new elastomer twitch by exposing it to an electric field, causing it to expand and contract, making it potentially useful as an artificial muscle.

Artificial muscles currently have applications in some consumer technology and robotics, but they have shortcomings compared to a real bicep.

But this new material, in addition to being extraordinarily stretchy, has remarkable self-healing characteristics.

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