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November 27, 2021 Saturday 12:08:43 PM IST

Strong Soft Materials are on the Move!

Can you imagine a material which has the capacity to withstand the equivalent of an elephant standing on it and completely regain its original shape after the application of force of elephant over it? And the best part is the 80% of this material is water!

The soft-yet-strong material is developed by a team at the University of Cambridge which looks and feels like a jelly. At the same time, it acts like an ultra-hard, shatterproof glass when compressed, despite of its high water content. Other than water content, the material is a network of polymers held together by reversible on/off interactions which is capable to control the material’s mechanical properties. The researchers take the privilege of the first time discovery with significant resistance to compression has been incorporated into a soft material.

The new jelly material could be used for a wide range of potential applications that will include soft robotics, bioelectronics or even as a cartilage replacement for biomedical use. Researchers from the Scherman lab are currently working to further develop these jelly materials towards biomedical and bioelectronic applications in collaboration with experts from engineering and materials science.