What's amazing to me about these hydrogels is their damage tolerance. The ability to stretch a polymeric material many times its original length is not all that noteworthy, but the ability to stretch a polymeric material with a notch in it many times its original length is totally incredible.
Understanding the mechanisms behind the toughness and damage tolerance of these hydrogels could lead to the development of tough polymers for all kinds of applications.
With regard to cartilage replacement, biocompatibility may be a hurdle. One of the biggest difficulties with cartilage replacement therapies to date has been the body rejecting the new cartilage (even when it has been grown in the lab from the patient's own cells).
The self-healing and elasticity of this gel is pretty amazing. I would have liked to have this as a commercialized option for my dog who in the last two years went through two separate surgeries to repair the doggie equivalent of a torn ACL.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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