We've seen hydrogels--the squishy material of the future--do some neat tricks before. Researchers, for example, have already tried to make them autonomous self-healers, ready to repair themselves when they break. But what if they just didn't break at all under strain? Then you'd get something like this video, which shows a new, super-strong hydrogel shrugging off a ball of metal.
Toughness is a major plus for hydrogels. Their semi-solidity makes them a good choice for add-on biological materials, like contact lenses or drug-delivery systems, and even stronger hydrogels could be used for bigger projects (Nature points to replacement cartilage or scaffolds for growing artificial organs).
This particular gel comes from Harvard University materials engineer Zhigang Suo, who, along with a team, created the gel from two polymers: alginate and polyacrylamide. They work in tandem to create the effect seen in the video. The ionic bonds of the alginate molecules break and reform under pressure, spreading the energy of an impact over a wider area. That also protects the covalent bonds in the polyacrylamide molecules, which hold the gel together.
What does that translate to? A hydrogel as tough as rubber that can stretch 20 times its normal length, and that can do this to a ball of metal.
Might make an awesome bedding material ha.
Well bust my balls, I found a replacement sack. No more knee knockers for me anymore! ;)
no bullet? so it has limitations
Depending on it's production cost, this could be usefull in a lot of practical applications. A replacement for tupperware comes to mind, or smaller collapable sails.
Yes, collapsible sails would be a very practical application. I wonder how well this hydrogel puts up with repeated stress, or how well it stops rips from growing. This could be stored folded, and deployed by stretching it over a frame on 2 sides, reducing the weight to surface area ratio of a sail.
This all depends on its durability of course, since sails tend to take quite a beating.
It doesn't help you much if the material follows the bullet into your body. That's still a lot of trauma. However, I wonder if that would help seal up the wound having this material stretched over it. hmmm
balls of steel.....
I see a future of gooey crash barriers.
I would think this material would be far too elastic for use as sails. Too much of the energy of short gusts would be absorbed by the material instead of resisted. Also given the weight (hydrogel is very dense), a sail made entirely of hydrogel would not be much lighter than traditional substrates. A nautical application i could see however....Think of the lifespan of ultra flexible, self repairing seals and splashguards!
I am very interested also how this plays out as a cartilage substitute with its ability to self repair.
nighthawkich, that might be true of THIS particular iteration of the material, but one needs to remember that material engineers live for the challenge of adapting materials to specific needs.
Great point, dibn. But they have to have what I do first.
Uses: Valves and seals of all kinds, or if the material can be in contact with a solvent material of some kind, super slick, super responsive bearings for precision applications.
A newer, faster, more secure set of handcuffs, please. The next generation supertire. Better quality beach balls for my kids, for the billionaire who is free to use anything I suggest, a better heart for guys, gals, and companion animals.
Now when you get done making enough money to be able to pay your rent, could you have someone like Matthew Polk make me a set of decent new age 750 watt monitors free of charge? Let him know that if he calls me an audiophile, I'll go berserk. Call me sound junkie or somethin, dude. Sounds less like a criminal.
A non magnetic gyro stabilizer. Seismometers. Gimme a second, I'm goin for a real crusty one tonight for the sports fans. Put an atomic clock and NSA guided GPS in this stuff and make the damn magic football they beg for.
Always remember now, all our society is, is an idea. And what the philanthropist calls calls charity, I tend to call accountability in the only form it's ever really seen in this nation. Look at what THIS AMERICAN will give away free of charge. But what did a billionaire ever give me? Get your heads out of your butt pocket for a sec. The creativity and grit of the people put you there, so guess what?
Artificial lung. Maybe any organ, including a light reactive skin that color changes for radiation protection as well as breathes. I'd need to know the real material limits for their available mixes to give a million of em, but I reckon I'll struggle with random possibilities for a while yet for fun. This could easily be the eye analog they've been after for years, veins, muscle tissue. Don't know conductivity for nerves, so unknown on base or higher electrical functions, but tendons, maybe eventually joints, cartiledge, and bone. Don't know chemical resistance data for acids, sugars, enzymes, or hormones, but this very well could also be the cell analog. Cure cancer by absorption by one cell, while another is osmosis. Put some self growing info gathering gear into a coral and Aristotle's classroom automaton is carrying my speakers. The coral is this idea I like for a brain, and I've suggested it a few times over the years without much good responses back. I've never understood that because it's alive if you want it that way. Begin basing sentience there. Quit trying to get computers to be self aware spontaneously through speed and logic based mass memory for a sec and build a brain that becomes naturally self aware through real, living experiences. Then we will have truly created life. We create nothing but abomination risk for all biologicals with cloning. Take what we've learned in cloning to make this work at cellular level. Then, with it's preprogrammed brain hooked up, fire him up! Base biorhythms established. All of you multiple discipline Ph D's getting this down?
Now remember, Mr. QUADRILLIONAIRE!!! I want them speakers delivered in person. No tv or photo op either so don't even try it.
Now when you can afford a kid and college, you wanna cure Alzheimers? Use these to carry other healthy cells. Want a piggyback ride, Gramps?
Now that you are the defacto richest person on the planet, you can afford to hire me.
Wanna be a genius? Mentat, plugged in without a cord, baby. You gimme six weeks, and I'll graduate Guild Navigator training by bringing back spice from Arrakis, how'd that be?
First principles, always first.
By the way, we still have only one problem on the planet, folks. Lack of accountability.
Oh, yeah, for bone, coral might be a start. You want this thing to grow, right? Be alive from some original cell? Like I said though, just a start. Any efficient, usable bone is gonna have to be reinforced with carbon fiber or a glass-ceramic maybe. The question is, how to keep the bone alive, right? Same thing as the rest of it, circulation and transmission-reception. No reason you can't pump a flow of whatever you need in there. Food groups and minor processing. Thufir Howat tastes your food before he eats, after all. Marcus Aurelius would tell you to mind me now; because I haven't told you the meaning of your new fortune.
Man can retire. Cha CHING!
Suggested exploration, The Seventh Prince of San Severro. First good human analog as far as I know, but China or somewhere might have developed one as well.
Some believed the Wednego (sp?, Native America, could make a falselife corpse that was truly vile.
Maybe they thought it was vile because of their sancti mortis. See, we'd have to give these 'people' a base in life somehow, so that's a good one. Operational lifetimes on a crude idea like this could be short at first, but possibilities build on the speed of thought.
Eventual adaptation of the brain isn't what we're after. If a more advanced brain analog is developed, keep plugging it's processing capabilities into that first one, to see where it leads. The living sentience with perfect health for all things is going to have to be far more useful than humans, but we're just at idea. Don't come at me for a million lines of code, I think that's stupid. Base it's sensory prime on us, which means morals vs needs if we wanna live alongside these or not. So try to load in the full engineer package vs overall sensory awareness vs full accountability for humans and themselves based in sanctity of the body as I am once in a while on a polite day.
Initiate with an acquire, full system grind protocol, meet and greet. Get that purse, and run it back.
But til we die now we have to be satisfied with our world to have saturation, please procreate responsibly in this time of adjustment before they learn to break rules. The first time something breaks is critical when it's in the presence of any life. A universe can go wrong there. Value jugement: human approaching nearby registered concern in eye, breakdown while spinning for first time, but no human hurt. Second time, human hurt. And on and on as it learns as people and animals get hurt. Vegetarians we'd be to be full life partner. Eat fish equals kill ok to eat. Human on human murders equals kill for greed or sometimes random sport or anything else like full war. It will be what we are. That's the dealio.
Wanna rule the world, read. Dinks. There's a fine set of books by Richard D. Bach, who went down in his plane near Friday Harbor last week. I suggest every human on the planet read every word he ever wrote before this is fully implemented because demolition derby really is stupid and you all know this is outta the bag now. We are one or there's only one left.
The perfect unbroken first one that doesn't get activated til all are dead.
Humanity jumping offworld just got important, huh?
Tired of cash is king yet? Those that are not ain't doing no favors right now, like making damn sure they are offworld, and the only way we are going with them is if cash dies a grand old king's death. A society placed in accountability, or none. Today.
To PopSci from a loyal longtime subscriber and lifetime reader on planet Earth: Thank you in your overall efficiency rating in bringing the world to my house to join the other stuff I grind all these years, you did your job and gave it to me to rule simply. Accountability, for myself and everyone else.
At the end of the day, I've killed no one. I've harmed no one without amends. I've allowed what I can't stop alone.
What you've done is up to you. Judge harshly, because the only way to stop johnny now...
Bring them home. Open all plants. They are tools, not wealth.
You home alone, aren't you...