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Hyperelastic gel is without doubt one of the stretchiest supplies identified to science

Physics A super-stretchy hydrogel can stretch to 15 times its original length and return to its initial shape, and could be used to make soft inflatable robots By Alex Wilkins Facebook / Meta Twitter / X icon WhatsApp Linkedin Reddit Email A hydrogel disc can increase 100 times in area when stretched Lili Chen et

Hyperelastic gel is without doubt one of the stretchiest supplies identified to science

Physics

An excellent-stretchy hydrogel can stretch to fifteen instances its unique size and return to its preliminary form, and may very well be used to make comfortable inflatable robots

By Alex Wilkins


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A hydrogel disc can improve 100 instances in space when stretched

Lili Chen et al.

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A hydrogel that may stretch to round 15 instances its preliminary size is without doubt one of the most elastic supplies but identified and may very well be used for robotic grippers or tendons.

Hydrogels, that are fabricated from lengthy chain-like polymer molecules linked by water molecules, are well-known for their stretchiness, however they usually don’t return to their unique form when they’re stretched an excessive amount of.

Lili Chen at Tsinghua College in Beijing and her colleagues have developed a brand new form of hydrogel that’s terribly stretchy however maintains its unique form. They modified the standard hydrogel construction by inserting what they name pearl-necklace chains, which include coiled polymer beads linked by a sequence of carbon atoms. These can unfurl underneath pressure and rewind when the pressure is launched.

To make these chains, Chen and her crew dried out a hydrogel in order that the polymer chains have been drawn to themselves, when usually they’d be pulled extra strongly by the water molecules.

They discovered {that a} 30-centimetre size of their hydrogel may stretch to just about 5 metres earlier than returning to its unique size in a couple of seconds. A 2-centimetre-wide disc of the hydrogel, pulled outwards in all instructions, may improve 100 instances in space earlier than returning to its unique dimension.

The researchers additionally constructed inflatable robotic grippers from the hydrogel, designed to gently handle fragile things. These have been in a position to decide up objects reminiscent of strawberries and have been extraordinarily harm resistant, persevering with to work after an individual stood on them or pierced them with a needle.

“Hydrogels are normally stretchy however not that elastic, whereas this gel combines each properties to make ultra-deformable and hyper-elastic supplies.” says Zehuan Huang at Peking College in China, who wasn’t concerned within the research. “Undoubtedly, this work represents a serious breakthrough in high-performance polymeric supplies, and can encourage substantial curiosity into exploitation of hyper-elastic gels in comfortable robotics.”

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