New malleable 'electronic skin' self-healable, recyclable

Researchers developed electronic skin self-healable recyclable

Image credit CU Boulder

"If you think about what real skin can do, real skin can prevent people getting burned [and] can prevent people getting hurt", said study researcher Wei Zhang from the University of Colorado Boulder.

A group of specialists from the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder have as of late developed a novel sort of flexible, self-recuperating and thoroughly recyclable "electronic skin".

The material is a thin film made up of several compounds and polymers like polyimine, which have all been laced with silver nanoparticles to give it better strength, stability, and conductivity.

Associate Professor Wei Zhang said while many people are familiar with The Terminator, the classic 1980s movie, the new process was not almost as dramatic - although he added that in the future, the tech could be used to give robots "skin" much like Arnold Schwarzenegger's iconic character. It has sensors that can measure temperature, pressure, airflow and humidity.

"What is unique here is that the chemical bonding of polyimine we use allows the e-skin to be both self-healing and fully recyclable at room temperature", said said Jianliang Xiao, Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado - Boulder.

"Given the millions of tons of electronic waste generated worldwide every year, the recyclability of our e-skin makes good economic and environmental sense". "The thought is to attempt and copy natural skin with e-skin that has wanted capacities".

An additional advantage of the novel CU Boulder e-skin is that it can be easily conformed to curved surfaces like human arms and robotic hands by giving medium heat and pressure to it in absence of introduction of surplus stresses.

That's right, folks: In the future, when they take care of our children and the elderly, robots may be wrapped in an electronic skin that imitates our own, ensuring that they don't accidentally kill your loved one with too much or too little force. If e-skin suffers major damage that can't be self-repaired, it can be soaked in a solution that "liquefies" it so that the materials can be reused to make new e-skin. Here, future robots would be capable of feeling with the E-skin like humans do with the organic skin. This solution dissolves the matrix into small molecules, allowing the silver nanoparticle to sink to the bottom. "E-skin can basically mimic those [preventive] functions".

First, it can have medical appliances for people who have injured or burnt parts of the skin and can't feel anything.

The electronic skin also has potential applications in the field of robotics.

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