Experts in United States develop recyclable e-skin

Sunday, 11 Feb, 2018

"What is unique here is that the chemical bonding of polyimine we use allows the e-skin to be both self-healing and fully recyclable at room temperature", said Assistant Professor Jianliang Xiao of the University of Colorado, who is also the lead author of the study.

In the future, the electronic skin could be used in a wide range of medical, scientific, and engineering applications. So, one can say that the latest e-skin has, in many terms, been able to mimic the mechanical and functional properties of human skin.

Wei Zhang, a partner teacher in CU Boulder's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry stated, the new CU Boulder e-skin has sensors implanted to quantify weight, temperature, mugginess and wind current.

Scientists believe the new E-skin will open some roads that otherwise would have remained blocked. It has several distinctive properties, including a new type of covalently bonded dynamic network polymer that has been laced with silver nanoparticles to provide better mechanical strength, chemical stability and electrical conductivity.

Another remarkable property of the electronic skin is its ability to heal itself albeit the process involved is not as remarkable as that seen in the robots featured in the movie Terminator.

A few sorts and sizes of wearable e-skins are at show being delivered in labs around the globe as analysts distinguished their utilities generally going from mechanical autonomy and prosthetic improvement to better biomedical kinds of gear.

"Given the a great many huge amounts of electronic waste created worldwide consistently, the recyclability of our e-skin bodes well".

It can be easily conformed to surfaces like human hands or robot arms by applying moderate heat and pressure, and without the need to introduce excessive stress.

So if the e-skin is severely damaged, or you're just done with it, it can be recycled using a "recycling solution". "The idea is to try and mimic biological skin with e-skin that has desired functions". If e-skin suffers major damage that can't be self-repaired, it can be soaked in a solution that "liquefies" it so that the materials can be reused to make new e-skin. This solution dissolves the matrix into small molecules, allowing the silver nanoparticle to sink to the bottom.