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Polymer

MIT's porous tissue scaffold, as imaged by an electron microscope (Image: MIT)

A team of chemical engineers from MIT has developed a new method of stimulating bone growth, by utilizing the same chemical processes that occur naturally in the human body following an injury such as a broken or fractured bone. The technique involves the insertion of a porous scaffold coated with growth factors that prompt the body's own cells to naturally mend the damaged or deformed bone.  Read More

The shape-memory polymer is soft when heated, but turns stiff as it cools

Whether they're the result of injuries, surgery or birth defects such as cleft palate, missing sections of bone in the skull or jaw can certainly affect someone's appearance. Although there are some methods of filling in such gaps, they have limitations that limit their application. A newly-developed foam-like material, however, may be able to succeed where other approaches have failed.  Read More

KIST researchers have developed a material that has properties similar to graphene but is ...

For all the attention graphene gets thanks to its impressive list of properties, how many of us have actually encountered it in anything other than its raw graphite form? Show of hands. No-one? That's because it is still difficult to mass-produce without introducing defects. Now a team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) has developed a graphene substitute from plastic that offers the benefits of graphene for use in solar cells and semiconductor chips, but is easy to mass-produce.  Read More

Lawrence Livermore Engineer Xiaoyu 'Rayne' Zheng studies a macroscale version of the unit ...

Imagine materials strong enough to use in building airplanes or motor cars, yet are literally lighter than air. Soon, that may not be so hard to do because a team of researchers from MIT and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have developed new ultra-lightweight materials that are as light as aerogel, but 10,000 times stiffer, and may one day revolutionize aerospace and automotive designs.  Read More

A 'smart glass' iris may provide much greater image quality in future smartphones

In a conventional camera lens, the iris consists of a set of overlapping mechanical blades that control the amount of light entering the camera. As efficient as this mechanical system is, it is too bulky and too difficult to miniaturize to be incorporated in smartphones and other compact devices. To address this, a team of researchers has used "smart glass" to create a micro-sized electronic iris that may bring much greater image quality and flexibility to smartphone cameras.  Read More

A vial of the clear hydrogel turns to a white semi-solid as it's heated to body temperatur...

In the field of regenerative medicine, one of the current areas of interest involves the use of scaffolding-like materials that a patient's own cells can be "seeded" onto. As the cells grow and populate the material, they gradually replace it, until all that remains is a solid piece of tissue or bone. Now, scientists at Houston's Rice University have taken that concept a step further, using a polymer that is liquid at room temperature, but that solidifies into a scaffold when injected into patients' bodies.  Read More

A Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) image of the new ultra-strong polymer reinforced with...

The chemical tree got a bit of a shake this week with scientists at IBM announcing the discovery of the first new class of polymer materials in decades. Discovered using a combination of lab experiments and computer modelling, the new plastics have properties that could potentially have a huge impact in manufacturing, transportation, aerospace, and micro electronics.  Read More

A regenerative plastic developed at the University of Illinois seals up more than cracks

Dropping your mobile phone can ruin your whole day as you look down at the spiderweb of cracks surrounding a small hole in the once-pristine plastic case. Now imagine watching as those cracks and that hole seal up by themselves, leaving behind a completely healed case. That may sound like science fiction, but it may not be for long with a team of researchers at the University of Illinois having developed a new system that doesn't just repair minor cracks in plastic, but regenerates to heal large holes.  Read More

A new adhesive gel could keep injured soldiers from losing their vision (Photo: Aiding our...

When soldiers or other people sustain eye injuries, retinal detachment and vision loss can result if the eye's vitreous gel isn't kept from leaking out. Given that Band-Aids can't be placed directly on the eyeball, however, a team of scientists from the University of Southern California has created an alternative – reversible eye glue.  Read More

'Test sausages' used in the development of the antimicrobial film

In recent years, we've heard about bacteria-killing food packaging materials that incorporate sorbic acid, silver, and montmorillonite clay. One of the latest such developments along those lines is a film that protects meat from spoilage using essential oils or nanoparticles. Additionally, because the film is edible, it could even be incorporated right into meat products.  Read More

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