Inspired by the Marvel character, Wolverine, a cohort of scientists from UC Riverside has developed a revolutionary self-healing material, according to a study published in the journal, Advanced Materials, on December 23. The news comes at a time when the X-men franchise is all set to roll out its latest sequel, Logan.
The news has piqued the interest of researchers from across the globe with inquiries pouring in from all quarters.
"I'm getting (more than 10) emails per day from everywhere in the world: U.S., Europe and Asia," said Chao Wang, a UCR adjunct assistant professor of chemistry who co-authored the paper, pe.com reported.
The 31-year-old Wang had apparently took a shine to the superhuman ability of Wolverine, a Canadian mutant, to self-heal.
The scientists involved in the study comprises of researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder, who worked to create the material with Wolverine's self-healing abilities. They also added a twist by making it transparent, conductive and stretchable.
The technology will pave way to create self-repairing biceps, which will allow robots to have human-like abilities to self-heal in case of mechanical damages.
"People in this area have been working for years to find this kind of material," he said.
Ionic conductors can be used to power artificial muscles and to devise transparent loudspeakers as previously demonstrated by Christoph Keplinger, one of the authors of the study, said a UCR release.
Ionic conductivity is key to the self-healing ability as it helps strike the right balance of salty solution and polar-ions, which works to bind these ions.
It was referred to as "Goldlocks combination," by Tim Morrissey, a Ph.D. student of mechanical engineering at Colorado, the report stated.
"There are four main ingredients – ratio is very important," he said.
Morrissey is excited about working on this study in the future and finding out how much damage it can actually bear.
"Maybe we can prove this thing is stronger than we really thought," he said.
Electrical signals were used by the researchers to get artificial muscle to move, the press release revealed. The artificial muscle functioned just like biceps when they receive a signal from the brain.
Nature's survival feature, 'wound healing', was replicated artificially by the researchers through this experiment. The experiment also showed artificial muscle getting healed without any external support.