Flexible, self-healing and recyclable ‘electronic’ skin

Το ηλεκτρονικό δέρμα (γνωστό και ως e-skin) είναι ένα λεπτό, διαφανές υλικό το οποίο μπορεί να μιμείται τη λειτουργία και τις μηχανικές ιδιότητες του ανθρώπινου δέρματος. Αρκετά διαφορετικά είδη e-skin αναπτύσσονται σε εργαστήρια ανά τον κόσμο, καθώς αναγνωρίζεται η αξία του σε ποικιλία εφαρμογών.

© naftemporiki.gr Electronic skin (also known as e-skin) is a thin, transparent material that can mimic the function and mechanical properties of human skin. Quite different types of e-skin are developed in laboratories …

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) have developed a new kind of flexible, self-healing and fully recyclable “electronic” skin that has applications ranging from robotics and additive members to better biomedical devices.

Electronic skin (also known as e-skin) is a thin, transparent material that can mimic the function and mechanical properties of human skin. Quite different types of e-skin are developed in laboratories around the world, as its value is recognized in a variety of applications.

CU Boulder’s e-skin has built-in sensors for measuring pressure, temperature, humidity and airflow, explains Gianliang Shao, assistant professor at CU Boulder’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, who leads the research effort along with Wei Zhang, Deputy Professor of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

This technology has a number of features that make it stand out, such as a new type of covalently bonded polymer, known as polyimine, which has been enriched with silver nanoparticles for increased mechanical strength, chemical stability and electrical conductivity.

“What is unique here is that the chemical bonding of the polyimine we use allows the e-skin to be both self-healing and fully recyclable at room temperature”,

says Siao.

“Given the millions of tonnes of electronic waste produced around the world each year, the recyclable nature of our e-skin is economically and environmentally friendly”.

The relevant announcement of the university refers to the “skin” of Terminator 2’s film. As noted, although the new procedure is not so “dramatic”, the treatment of cuts or other lesions on the e-skin, including sensors, is through a mixture of three commercially available ethanol compounds.

Also, another advantage for CU Boulder’s e-skin is that it can be easily adapted to surfaces such as human and robotic hands through the application of moderate heat and pressure.

“Let’s say you want a robot to take care of a baby”

says Zhang.

“In that case you would incorporate e-skin into robotic fingers that can feel the baby’s pressure. The idea is to try to imitate organic skin with e-skin which has the desired functions.”

Recycling requires immersion in a special solution, which makes the polymers degrade to oligomers and monomers. Silver nanoparticles end up at the bottom.

“Recycled solution and nanoparticles can then be used to create a new, functional e-skin

says Siao.

 

Source: www.naftemporiki.gr

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