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This 'e-skin' is malleable, self-healable, recyclable

IANS  |  New York 

Scientists have developed a new type of malleable, self-healing and fully recyclable "electronic skin" that can be used in like artificial limbs and prosthetics.

The new has sensors embedded to measure pressure, temperature, humidity and air flow.

It also has several distinctive properties, including a novel type of covalently bonded dynamic network polymer, known as polyimine.

The polyimine has been laced with silver nanoparticles to provide better mechanical strength, and electrical conductivity.

"What is unique here is that the of polyimine we use allows the to be both self-healing and fully recyclable at room temperature," said said Jianliang Xiao, at the - Boulder.

"Given the millions of tons of electronic waste generated worldwide every year, the recyclability of our makes good economic and environmental sense," Xiao added.

The e-skin, detailed in the journal Science Advances, can be easily conformed to curved surfaces like human arms and robotic hands by applying moderate heat and pressure to it without introducing excessive stresses.

"Let's say you wanted a robot to take care of a baby. In that case you would integrate e-skin on the robot fingers that can feel the pressure of the baby," explained Wei Zhang, from the varsity.

"The idea is to try and mimic biological skin with e-skin that has desired functions," he said.

To recycle the skin, the device is soaked into recycling solution, making the polymers degrade into oligomers (polymers with degree usually below 10) and monomers (small molecules that can be joined together into polymers) that are soluble in ethanol.

The silver nanoparticles sink to the bottom of the solution.

"The recycled solution and nanoparticles can then be used to make new, functional e-skin," Xiao said.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, February 10 2018. 14:42 IST