Cambridge: Scientists at the University of Cambridge have developed a lightweight ‘hydrogel’ that is as soft and flexible as a jelly, but also so strong that it is useless even if a heavy vehicle is passed over it.
As soon as a heavy object passes and its pressure starts to increase, it immediately changes itself to a glass-like state and its molecules cling to each other more tightly.
However, as this pressure decreases and returns to normal, this hydrogel also returns to its original state. In this way it maintains its flexibility and strength together.
It is also known as ‘Super Jelly’ due to its unique properties.
It should be noted that hydrogels are soft and light substances like foam which have a high content of water molecules.
Hydrogels with various properties are being used in the manufacture of hygiene products and wound dressings as well as in contact lenses.
However, the hydrogels formed so far are not only soft but also very fragile which breaks down when stretched or pressured.
Unlike conventional hydrogels, super jelly is different in that its molecules bind more tightly together as the pressure increases, as if they were handcuffed.
According to Dr. Zhihuan Huang, head of the research team, this super jelly has been developed by using a chemical phenomenon called “cross-linking” on molecules such as gun barrel and quercetobutyrels.
Although 80% of this super jelly consists of water, it is still capable of withstanding a great deal of pressure.
Details of this unique invention have been published in the latest issue of the online research journal Nature Materials, whose authors hope that this super jelly will meet our needs in dozens of purposes, from medical devices to robust smartphone screens. Will be able to complete better.