Even with a cut introduced, the hydrogel can still be stretched by a factor of 17
The hydrogel in its relaxed state (left), and stretched by a factor of 21
The structure of the two separate polymers, and their combined structure
A thin membrane of the hydrogel, used to support the weight of a dropped steel ball
Scientists at Harvard University have created a hydrogel that’s tough, biocompatible, self-healing, and can be repeatedly stretched to 21 times its regular length without breaking – all of which are qualities that could make it an ideal replacement for damaged cartilage in humans. Being a hydrogel, it’s composed mostly of water, although it also contains calcium ions, and a mix of two common polymers. While each of those polymers are fairly weak on their own, the results are truly impressive when they’re combined.
Other Images from this Gallery