This New Artificial Skin Material Feels Temperature Changes

Posted: Mar 16 2017, 12:47pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

This New Artificial Skin Material Feels Temperature Changes
The new material can be as little as 20 micrometers thick, and is both transparent and flexible. Credit: Caltech
  • Engineers make Fake Skin that can Detect Differences between Hot and Cold Temperatures
 

The engineers have done it once again. They have made fake skin that can detect subtle differences between hot and cold temperatures.

Scientists and engineers have combined forces to make artificial skin that can gauge temperatures whether hot or cold in a jiffy. This technique is based on the same principle which a pit viper (a type of snake) uses to detect its prey.

This skin-like material can be transplanted on top of damaged skin in people like amputees. Then they become capable of detecting differences in temperature. Also it could play a key role in the healing of wounds. 

A paper regarding this fake skin was published in the journal Science Robotics.

The material was chanced upon while the technicians were busy making artificial wood in a petri dish in the lab. This material showed properties that responded to temperature changes in an electrical manner.

Thus it closely resembled human skin which is a living semi-permeable membrane. The part of it responsible for sensation was known as pectin which is a vital component of plant cell walls. Pectin is normally used in the food industry to make jams and jellies.  

This material is very economical to make since pectin can be made available at the drop of a hat. The researchers managed to tinker with pectin and water and thus create a thin membrane that looked like artificial skin.

The pectin molecules contained calcium ions in the arrangement as well. These bonds break down as the temperature increased. The modulations in temperature were noted down with precision thanks to this artificial skin.

A multimeter came in handy here. The tiniest changes in temperature were sensed by the fake skin in the same manner as a pit viper hunts its prey in conditions of pitch darkness. Artificial skin will have many important uses in the future times. 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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