The scientists from Pennsylvania State University developed a squid cloth, one that can heal itself. The miracle material may be useful for people working with chemicals and harmful substances, as much as it would be in our everyday life.
Just dipping the cloth into a special substance mix will help the material to get back together, thread by thread.
While the researchers hope to adapt the squid cloth to non-woven threads, they only managed to create the miraculous material by using pre-made textiles.
The substance used to bath the material is called a polyelectrolyte coating, and it’s made out of a mix of bacteria, yeast, and electrically charged polymers. It’s very similar to the liquids humans carry in their hair and nails, and also to the proteins found in the squid. More specifically, inside the animal’s teeth rings.
Dipping and spotting are both allowed. With just a drop of the substance and a little warm water, the tear will fix itself just by holding it together for a moment or two. Just holding the two pieces of material together will start the process of self-healing.
The researchers managed to create a substance that is, first of all, very cheap to produce; it needs a simple equipment and water.
“Fashion designers use natural fibers made of proteins like wool or silk that are expensive, and they are not self-healing. We were looking for a way to make fabrics self-healing using conventional textiles. So we came up with this coating technology,” said Dr. Demirel, one of the authors of the study.
The scientists creating the squid cloth want to use it in helping soldiers and workers from dangerous professions to prevent chemicals and biological hazards getting through their equipment and reaching their skin.
The enzymes that can be included in the fabric would fight the toxin even before it may get to touch the skin. In combination with organophosphate hydrolase, the squid cloth could protect a person from nerve agents.
Another remarkable capacity of the new material is that it would repair itself during being washed. The scientists hope to solve the issue of discarded clothing and prolong the longevity of clothes.
Other companies teamed up with researchers to combine technology and clothing. For example, Google partnered with Levi Strauss to create the Jacquard Project. Another innovative idea is the one of Toyota, which developed a wearable to help visually impaired people.
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