Cell scaffold blood-brain-barrier. (Credit: A. Marino/ Smart Bio-Interfaces, IIT Pontedera)

Researchers often have to compromise between strength and the ability to self-repair when developing coating materials. Now one team has developed a smart coating that is as hard as tooth enamel on the outside but can heal itself like skin can. The smart coating market is a booming industry and is only expected to grow in upcoming years. In previous research, the team had produced a stiffer, more healable coating, but its performance still needed to be optimized. The new coating is a soft, yet hard, self-healing material.

Mimicking the structure of human skin, the researchers used a layer-by-layer technique to form a soft, dynamic under layer containing polyvinyl alcohol and tannic acid. The hard outer layer contained these compounds plus a layer of graphene oxide. When fabricated at a certain thickness, the material successfully healed itself when cut. It also could kill bacteria. The researchers say the material could someday serve as an electronic skin.

For more information, visit here .

Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the April, 2018 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from this issue here.

Read more articles from the archives here.