Reading, UK -- University of Reading scientists have developed a new material that can repair itself at body temperature.
The new polymer material – an elastomeric supramolecular polyurethane – could provide self-healing wound dressings for use in medicine. According to developers, the new material is safe to humans and works at temperatures as low as 37o Celsius, making it ideal for use in healthcare.
The new material, a, 'flows' like a liquid when cut or scraped, filling in the damage in a couple of hours before its molecules bind together to become solid again.
The EPSRC-sponsored research was conducted at Reading and Oxford universities, and was led by Prof Wayne Hayes, from the University of Reading's School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy, which has been at the forefront of research into self-healing plastics.
Professor Hayes said: "Anyone who has had to replace an old bandage knows it can be very painful and can easily damage healing skin.
"Our work shows that this new material not only repairs itself at body temperature, but is non-toxic, so is an ideal material for use in healthcare settings. This material could maintain a sterile barrier as part of a wound dressing while constantly repairing and renewing itself, reducing the need for replacement.”