Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nature: super gel stiffens when heated

Supergel nanowires forming a netRadboud University Nijmegen
Supergel nanowires forming a net

Radboud University Nijmegen

Abstract:
It stiffens when heated and retains moisture a hundred times better than other gels. Chemists at Radboud University Nijmegen have created a gel made from helical polymers. The molecules twist together to form a ‘nano rope', from which strong, stiff networks are produced. What is unusual is that a solution of the material is liquid when cold and turns into a gel when warmed - exactly the opposite of what happens to gelatine, for example. The leading scientific journal Nature published a paper showing how the ‘super gel' works and its properties on 24 January. Together with the business community, the researchers are also developing various biomedical applications for this extraordinary gel.

Nature: super gel stiffens when heated

Netherlands | Posted on January 23rd, 2013

Inspired by nature

The Nijmegen chemists Prof. Alan Rowan and Dr Paul Kouwer were inspired by the proteins that provide the cells in our bodies with their strength. Each cell contains thousands of these very thin but strong threads. They were able to mimic the winding structure of these proteins using a synthetic polymer - polyisocyanide (PIC). Kouwer: ‘We've made a copy that is almost exactly the same as the natural original, which is unprecedented. Not only is the structure of our material strikingly similar to the cell proteins, but the strength and sensitivity of the two materials are practically identical, even if you suddenly pull them hard.' The structure provides the polymer with its unusual gel response - less than one gram of the solid substance needs to be added to a bucket of water to produce a strong gel. It therefore has a gel response one hundred times better than the commonly-used super gels (in nappies for example).

Stiffens when heated, melts in the refrigerator

What is also unusual about this substance is that it stiffens when the solution is warmed. The researchers show in Nature that the transition temperature of the solution can be varied between room temperature and body temperature, and the ability to adjust this temperature is very important in biomedical applications. The gel melts again when it is cooled.

Applications and patents

The structure of the gel implies huge opportunities for biomedical applications. Various options are being explored in partnership with Noviotech, a commercial partner of the Radboud University Nijmegen and Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre. Rowan: ‘One application is as a medium for the growth and manipulation of cells. Another potential application is in wound treatment. Once applied, the gel protects the wound: the microscopic structure allows fluid to pass through but keeps bacteria out. Once the wound has healed, the ‘plaster' can be easily removed by cooling the gel.' More and more possible applications for the super gel are emerging, with filters for nanomaterials and even cosmetic applications currently being investigated.

Fundamental and applied research

The paper published in Nature describes the fundamental properties of this unusual material. ‘When we first produced the material in the laboratory two years ago we knew that it was a very special substance, but did not yet understand why. The follow-up research has produced some fantastic results. And then I don't mean just the publication of this paper, but also and especially the fact that the fundamental research has made the various applications much more feasible,' Prof Rowan states.


Full bibliographic information

Title: Responsive biomimetic networks from polyisocyanopeptide hydrogels
Publication: Nature 2013, january 24
Authors: Paul H. J. Kouwer, Matthieu Koepf, Vincent A. A. Le Sage, Maarten Jaspers, Arend M. van Buul, Zaskia H. Eksteen-Akeroyd, Tim Woltinge, Erik Schwartz, Heather J. Kitto, Richard Hoogenboom, Stephen J. Picken, Roeland J. M. Nolte, Eduardo Mendes and Alan E. Rowan

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Alan Rowan
Radboud University Nijmegen
Institute for Molecules and Materials IMM
+316 53 33 71 58/+31 24 365 2323

Copyright © AlphaGalileo

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Taps IBM to Build Brain-Inspired AI Supercomputing System: Equal to 64 million neurons, new neurosynaptic supercomputing system will power complex AI tasks at unprecedented speed and energy efficiency June 23rd, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Chemistry

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

New carbon nitride material coupled with ruthenium enhances visible-light CO2 reduction in water June 15th, 2017

Nanomedicine

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Learning with light: New system allows optical “deep learning”: Neural networks could be implemented more quickly using new photonic technology June 12th, 2017

Mussels add muscle to biocompatible fibers: Rice University chemists develop hydrogel strings using compound found in sea creatures June 9th, 2017

Making vessels leaky on demand could aid drug delivery:Rice University scientists use magnets and nanoparticles to open, close gaps in blood vessels June 8th, 2017

Discoveries

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Materials/Metamaterials

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Alloying materials of different structures offers new tool for controlling properties June 19th, 2017

Smart materials used in ultrasound behave similar to water, Penn chemists report June 16th, 2017

Development of low-dimensional nanomaterials could revolutionize future technologies June 15th, 2017

Announcements

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Taps IBM to Build Brain-Inspired AI Supercomputing System: Equal to 64 million neurons, new neurosynaptic supercomputing system will power complex AI tasks at unprecedented speed and energy efficiency June 23rd, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

Aculon Expands NanoProof® Product Line for Electronics Waterproofing Technology: With growing market opportunities Aculon Launches NanoProof® 8 with Push Through Connectivity™ and NanoProof® DAB a syringe application May 30th, 2017

NREL’s Advanced Atomic Layer Deposition Enables Lithium-Ion Battery Technology: May 10th, 2017

Forge Nano 2017: 1st Quarter Media Update April 20th, 2017

Making Batteries From Waste Glass Bottles: UCR researchers are turning glass bottles into high performance lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and personal electronics April 19th, 2017

Personal Care/Cosmetics

Programmable materials find strength in molecular repetition May 23rd, 2016

Common nanoparticle has subtle effects on oxidative stress genes May 11th, 2016

NRL reveals novel uniform coating process of p-ALD April 21st, 2016

New ORNL method could unleash solar power potential March 16th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project