This Magnetic Ink Lets Devices Heal On Their Own When They Break

Posted: Nov 5 2016, 9:07am CDT | by , Updated: Nov 5 2016, 9:14am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

This Magnetic Ink Lets Devices Heal on their Own When They Break
Credit: UC San Diego
 

Researchers develop magnetic ink that can be used to print self-healing devices

This new magnetic ink could help improve the way we created wearable devices.

Researchers from University of California, San Diego have developed a magnetic ink that can be used to make self-healing batteries, electrochemical sensors and wearable electric circuits. The magnetic ink is created with such materials that start to magnetically attract each other if they are cut in half.

Researchers have demonstrated the self healing ability of a magnetic ink-printed circuit that was attached to a sleeve along with LED light and a coined battery. When researchers cut through the circuit and the fabric it was printed on with scissors, the LED turned off. But circuit pulled itself back together within a few seconds, the conductivity restored and the light turned on again. Researchers have repeated the experiment multiple times and every time they ended up with the same result.

Researchers claim that the ink can repair a tear as wide as three millimeters within just 50 milliseconds, which is a milestone never been accomplished by any self-healing device before. Moreover, the new magnetic ink repairs itself without any external force whereas the existing self-healing devices do require an external trigger to kick start the healing process. However, the new ink leaves a scar every time the device is damaged.

"Our work holds considerable promise for widespread practical applications for long-lasting printed electronic devices.” Joseph Wang, researcher from UC San Diego said.

To create a self-healing effect, researchers have used neodymium magnetic microparticles and carbon black and combined them into the ink. Neodymium is a cheap conductive metal that has been utilized for this experiment but magnetic particles can also be created with expensive materials such as graphite, gold, and silver.

“We wanted to develop a smart system with impressive self-healing abilities with easy-to-find, inexpensive material.” Amay Bandodkar, one of the researchers involved in the study said.

In the future, researchers are planning to develop printed devices that not only repair on their own but perform their function  while losing a minimal amount of conductivity. 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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