Researchers from the Brown University have discovered a way by which graphene oxide (GO) can be used to add strength to hydrogel materials that are made from alginate, thereby giving rise to a new smart material.
More Insights Into the Smart Material Research
Alginate is a natural material that is derived from seaweed, and is currently used in a variety of biomedical applications. The recently undertaken research at the Brown University now describes a way by which 3-D printing can be used to make sturdy alginate-GO structures that are more durable and resistant to fractures than alginate by itself. The technique mainly involves mimicking the atomic lattice structure, followed by employing this design to create intricate alginate-GO forms.
According to Thomas Valentin, who is a Ph.D student in Brown’s School of Engineering and leads the work, alginate hydrogels are very fragile all by themselves, and may tend to fall apart if they witness mechanical load or get in contact with low salt solutions. He and his team have shown that by including graphene oxide nanosheets, the structures can be more robust now. After experiencing different chemical treatments, the newly created substance can become stiffer or softer depending on many factors, thereby qualifying as a smart material. Moreover, the alginate-GO composition helps preserve the ability of alginate to repel oils, thereby giving rise to a sturdy antifouling coating.
The 3-D printing method that is used to make the materials is called as stereolithography. This technique utilizes an ultraviolet laser that is operated system through computing processes. This method involves tracing patterns across the surface of a photoactive polymer solution. The laser light causes the polymers to get linked together, consequently giving rise to sturdy 3-D structures from the solution used. The tracing process need to be carried out repeatedly until an object of desired shape, size, and constituency is built completely.