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News Flash

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Japanese scientists report a unique, smart and self-healing polymer nanocomposite hydrogels

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For some time, polymeric hydrogels have been touted as smart materials. In general, smart materials are characterized by their one or more properties which can be significantly altered by external stimuli. In other words, “Smart” materials respond to changes in their environments.

Current research report, jointly conducted by academics and its industrial partner in Japan appear to suggest that polymer nanocomposite hydrogels consisting of polymer/clay network structure could be a promising candidate for “Smart” materials. The polymer nanocomposite material as developed, authors report that if damaged, it can auto heal via crosslinks across the damaged interface. The key feature of this new material is that self-healing could take place even after a long wait time.

[Reference: K. Haraguchi, K. Uyama, and H. Tanimoto; Macromol. Rapid Commn., DOI: 10.1002/marc.201100248]

Editor’s note: If you are interested to know more about applications of polymeric hydrogels, read following paper: Q. Yang, N. Adams, F. Tomicki, and M. Ulbricht; J. Mater. Chem, 21, pp. 2783-2811 (2011)