Stretchable Hydrogel Heals Itself | AIChE

Stretchable Hydrogel Heals Itself


A new electrically conductive hydrogel has self-healing properties and a multitude of prospective uses, including the ability to act as electronic skin.

The material, dubbed M-hydrogel, was developed by researchers at King Abdullah Univ. of Science and Technology (KAUST), a research institution located in Saudi Arabia. According to its creators, the gel “outperforms all previously reported hydrogels.”

Hydrogels are often used to treat wounds, but could also be used in soft robotics, prosthetics, and even wearable electronics. Such applications will require strain sensors with a high degree of sensitivity, as well as a hydrogel with ample flexibility that can easily adhere to human skin.

Generally, hydrogel-based electrochemical sensors have very low sensitivity, but KAUST researchers assert that their M-hydrogel has excellent sensing capabilities, along with outstanding stretchiness and instantaneous self-healing mechanisms.

These features can be attributed to the addition of just one substance: MXene, a metal-carbide compound. To make M-hydrogel, the scientists manually mix titanium carbide nanosheets with commercial hydrogel and crystal clay. This...

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