To develop a better adhesive alternative, researchers turned to a polymer, poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA), which is not irritating to the skin and is currently used in some wound dressings, contact lenses, and other similar items.

Despite its many appealing properties, PVA can come off easily when wet. So, the researchers modified the compound by adding alkyl chains to try to improve its adhesion. They made versions with chains that contained three, six, or nine methylene carbons, then tested them to see which performed best. It turned out that films made of longer chain versions were more hydrophobic but had less tensile strength.

Cells best tolerated the short chain known as 4C3-PVA, and in tests with pigskin, they found it bonded most strongly. The researchers conclude that 4C3-PVA is a promising adhesive for wearable devices.

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Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the April, 2020 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

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