Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Artificial 'skin' that heals itself

Science Daily — The next generation of self-healing materials, invented by researchers at the University of Illinois, mimics human skin by healing itself time after time. The new materials rely upon embedded, three-dimensional microvascular networks that emulate biological circulatory systems
Their model is the circulatory and vascular system found in nature.
From that, they developed the following:
"To create their self-healing materials, the researchers begin by building a scaffold using a robotic deposition process called direct-write assembly. The process employs a concentrated polymeric ink, dispensed as a continuous filament, to fabricate a three-dimensional structure, layer by layer.
Once the scaffold has been produced, it is surrounded with an epoxy resin. After curing, the resin is heated and the ink -- which liquefies -- is extracted, leaving behind a substrate with a network of interlocking microchannels. In the final steps, the researchers deposit a brittle epoxy coating on top of the substrate, and fill the network with a liquid healing agent."

Brings us one step closer to self sustained robots.


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