Scientists develop an electronic skin that is recyclable as well as self-healable

In an astonishing research, scientists have successfully developed a unique electronic skin that is recyclable as well as self-healable. This revolutionary electronic skin could help scientists to make eco-friendly electronic devices in future. This latest electronic skin or e-skin is basically a thin film embedded with sensors that has the capability to measure, temperature, pressure humidity as well as air flow. 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. The most interesting thing about this new e-skin is its ability to heal itself when it is torn apart.

The e–skin consists of three commercially available compounds that are mixed together in matrix and intertwined with silver nanoparticles. So, when one cuts e-skin into two parts, then adding the three compounds to the cut area enables the e-skin to heal itself and the e-skin is restored back to its original shape and functioning. Another interesting is the recycling ability of the e-skin. Although many different e-skins are being prepared all over the world, no one could come up with the recycling properties of e-skin. So, if e-skin fails to operate or it is broken beyond repair then one can soak it in a solution that “liquefies it so that the materials can be re-used to create new e-skin. If the e-skin is recyclable then it can also be defined as eco-friendly as it does not harms the environment.

All these unique properties of the e-skin are possible due to the covalent bond of the dynamic network polymer called polyimine. “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. Xiao added, “Given the millions of tons of electronic waste generated worldwide every year, the recyclability of our e-skin makes good economic and environmental sense.”

For the research, Xiao was accompanied by CU Boulder chemistry and biochemistry Associate Professor Wei Zhang and also several other researchers. The researchers are confident that their research will play a major role in fields like robotics and prosthetics as well as smart textiles. The latest study was published in the Journal Science Advances


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