There is no doubt that self-healing materials have many advantages. One of the most notable is the development of realistic artificial hands & other soft robotics applications.
Now, as part of SHERO project, researchers at the University of Cambridge have produced low-cost salt & gelatin materials that can sense strain, temperature & humidity through soft sensors & repair itself at room-temperature, according to a statement released by institute on Friday.
The turning point is set to revolutionize the field of robotics & perhaps few other sectors.
Self Healing Materials
“Integrating soft sensors into robotics allows us to get a lot more information from them, like how the tension in our muscles allows our brain to get information about the state of our body,” said David Hardman of the Department of Engineering in Cambridge . in the statement.
These new materials differ from their older counterparts in that they do not require heating to self-heal. They can also autonomously (without human intervention) detect when they are damaged, temporarily heal themselves, and then resume their previous activities.
Cheap in price and easy to make
In their work, researchers used printing sensors containing sodium chloride (salt) instead of carbon-ink, which means resulting materials are cheap & easy to manufacture (either by 3D printing or casting). They are also superior to many existing alternatives due to their strength & stability and their ability to last-long without drying out.
Last but not least, they are composed of readily available, food-safe materials.
“It’s a very good sensor, considering how cheap & easy to-make” Co author Dr. Thomas George thuruthel, also from Department of Engineering “. We could make a Entire robot out-of gelatine & print sensors wherever we need them.
Because the materials bond so well with a variety of other different materials, they can easily be incorporated with-in many types of robotics. Researchers are currently investigating other uses for self-healing materials such as artificial-skin & wearables.
The study was published in the journal NPG Asia Materials.