Bioengineering

Innovation of the Week: Scientists have created a material that will protect electronics from falls

This is a polymer material that has the property of “adaptive strength”. Employees of the University of California at Merced have presented a flexible conductor that does not break, but becomes stronger under impact.

The structure of the material is a film formed from a dried solution of four polymers. This film not only conducts electric current, but also stretches and deforms rather than collapses under rapid impact. The faster the impact, the better the film stretches and the stronger it becomes.

A group of scientists got the idea from cooking, inspired by the behavior of cornstarch suspension. If you stir it with a spoon, there is no resistance, but if you hit the surface of the suspension quickly and hard, the spoon bounces off like a hard surface (according to the scientists, we did not check). This reaction they sought to recreate using synthetic materials.

Potentially, such a film should protect the fragile and brittle electronics inside technical devices from damage. The scientists expect to use the material in cardiovascular sensors, continuous glucose monitors or smart watch sensors and note that application scenarios are numerous. They are not yet talking about the use in phones, although protection against sharp and strong impacts on the floor would come in handy here.

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