Stanford University researchers have demonstrated how to take a brittle plastic and modify it chemically to make it much more flexible, while slightly enhancing its electrical conductivity. The result is a soft, flexible electrode that is compatible with human nerves.
Although the material is still a laboratory prototype, the researchers plan to develop it as part of their long-term effort to create flexible materials that interface with the human body.
They started with a plastic that had high conductivity and biocompatibility but was brittle, breaking after stretching it only 5%. The researchers hypothesized if they could find the right molecular additive to separate the plastic's two polymers, they could prevent crystallization and give the plastic more stretch.
They found an additive that transformed the plastic's brittle molecular structure into a fishnet pattern, which enabled the plastic to stretch to twice its original length.
From Stanford News
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