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November 8, 2016

NASA’s new material discovery speeds up the healing process

Researchers Emilie "Mia" Siochi and Lisa Scott Carnell in NASA’s Technology Transfer Program have created a new material that encourages the human body to heal faster. The polymeric material supports the electric capacity of the human body and stimulates healing cells to work faster.

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The material is made of Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF), a polymer with an unique attribute: it is electroactive. This means that when mechanical pressure is applied, the material creates voltage. This is also known as the piezoelectric effect.

From space to earth

Siochi and Carnell apply a process called ‘electrospinning’, which means they add voltage to a solution of the polymeric material. They do this whilst the material is squirted out of a syringe. This creates polymeric fibre of nano size. These fibre can be shaped to form a bandage. (read the research here)

Originally, NASA planned on using the material for their aircrafts, but discovered during the research process that the material could become a breakthrough in the world of medicine. The researchers discovered that the material doesn’t have to be charged mechanically; human body temperature also does the trick.

Protect and stimulate

The material, the thin fibres, forms a bandage. Not only does this bandage protect the wound from infections, it also adds to the speeding up of the healing process. Naturally, the human body creates voltage to stimulate healing cells in tissues. The new bandage motivates these cells, which makes them work faster.

Applications

There are endless applications to be thought off for this bandage. Making wounds heal faster is important for astronauts, soldiers or patients on an operating table. It can also be used as a first aid equipment, to make visits to a hospital less frequent. Pushing a bandage on skin to active the electric trait is after all as simple as can be.

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