Repaired in a few seconds: the Material on Protein-based heals itself

Without our self-healing powers, we would be quickly "broken", because caused by the different loads of damage in the skin, muscles, or other tissues of our b

Repaired in a few seconds: the Material on Protein-based heals itself

Without our self-healing powers, we would be quickly "broken", because caused by the different loads of damage in the skin, muscles, or other tissues of our body. This biological capacity for self-repair to try to transfer scientists have known for some time on artificial substances. Particularly, the robotics could benefit from soft materials with self-healing forces. Because if the "techno-being" to support one day people in complex environments, you have to have flexible elements, and as little as possible repair prone. Some of the creations of the so-called soft robotics are constructed entirely of soft materials. But also industrial robots, leg prostheses, respiratory devices, and protective equipment are in need of elastic elements, the movement can absorb energy.

However, these soft parts are sensitive to it or develop with continuous, repetitive movement get tiny cracks and cracks and eventually break. With a self-healing Material, the initially small Defects could be repaired continuously, before it comes to a failure. It has been already developed substances, the damage can repair yourself, but leave something to be desired: The molecules need to previous a deformable self-healing materials for several hours, or even days, in order to connect to each other again. Often this also results in a lower strength at the point at which the Material has been broken.

example squid

"Our goal was therefore to create with the help of synthetic biology, a self-healing Material, whose physical properties we can control," says Melik Demirel the Pennsylvania State University in University Park. He and his colleagues used a model from nature: they studied first the characteristics and education are the basis of a self-healing tissue fish with ink. It forms the ring-shaped teeth structures in the suction cups, with which the sea hold on to the robber's prey. If these stable protein structures are damaged, you can heal yourself by re-connect with each other.

The researchers, it is not, finally, succeeded, by methods of synthetic biology, this Material form is only to imitate, but to optimize it also for technical applications and the production. It was thus, in conventional bacterial bioreactors to produce. How do you explain, connect, the biological polymer structures and then to a flexible, rubber-like Material with properties that surpass the previous self-healing materials, and not only that: "We changed the molecular structure so that we were able to drive the self-healing forces of the material even on the tip," says Demirel. "We have shortened the natural 24-hour continuous healing phase on a second. Our technology provides to the nature, in the shade,“ said the scientist.

Rapid self-healing

explain How to Demirel and his colleagues, the structure of the ink to cure fish longer, as the natural Protein molecules that are only a gap to each other at the top. In the case of the lab-developed Material, the scientists changed the nano structure of the molecules, however, so that they are all connected to each other. "A network in which only few points are connected to each other, carries with it vulnerabilities. We have connected all the points together and the Material is so improved,“ explains the first author of the study Abdon Pena-Francesch from the Max-Planck-Institute for Intelligent systems in Stuttgart. Each physical connection in the Material is through the concept of reversible, say scientists: Compounds that were separated at one point, the back button automatically in the correct Position. "We have damaged the Material in a variety of ways and each Time it has fixed itself within seconds," says Pena-Francesch.

another positive aspect of the new material is that it substances in contrast to the conventional art to 100 percent bio-degradable or reusable. "We should minimize the use of polymers based on petroleum for many reasons," says Demirel. As the structures of a squid disintegrate in the ocean, is also degraded by the biomimetic Polymer-biologically, says the researcher. By the addition of an acid such as vinegar, it can also be in a basic fabric transforms that can be used for re-synthesis.

Of the great potential of the new material is also convinced Co-author Metin Sitti from the Max-Planck-Institute for Intelligent systems: It opens according to him, a large, unexplored area of possible applications in robotics. "Self-repairing physically intelligent soft materials are used for the construction of robust and fault-tolerant Soft-robot in the near future is essential," says Sitti.

source: Pennsylvania State University, the Max-Planck-Institute for Intelligent systems, technical article: Nature Materials, doi: 10.1038/s41563-020-0736-2

*The contribution of "Repaired in just a few seconds: the Material on Protein-based heals itself" is published by Contact with the executives here.
Updated Date: 14 August 2020, 18:26

You need to login to comment.

Please register or login.