Researchers in AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland-funded materials science research centre hosted in Trinity College Dublin, found that graphene mixed with olysilicone (Silly Putty) produces an incredible scientific result - a state-of-the-art sensor so sensitive, it can even detect footsteps of a small spider.
Graphene Added To Plastic Is A Common Process But Mixing It With Silly-Putty Is Something Else
Graphene is usually added to plastics to improve the materials' electrical, mechanical, thermal, or barrier properties, says ZME Science. It is a thick sheet of carbon arranged in honeycombed-shaped lattice. But when Trinity's School of Physics Professor Jonathan Coleman and postdoctoral researcher Conor Boland mixed it with putty, they were amazed by the results. The research team mounted the G-putty onto human chest and neck and used it to measure breathing, pulse and even blood pressure.
University of Manchester NGI scientists analyzed the development at Trinity to determine its structure. They developed a mathematical model of how G-putty deforms which explains how the material's structure dictates its mechanical and electrical properties.
"What we are excited about is the unexpected behaviour we found when we added graphene to the polymer, a cross-linked polysilicone. It caused [the putty] to conduct electricity, but in a very unusual way. The electrical resistance of the G-putty was very sensitive to deformation with the resistance increasing sharply on even the slightest strain or impact," Coleman said to RD mag.
G-Putty Opens Up Possibilities Of Inexpensive Applications For Medical Devices
This discovery opens up a lot of possibilities, especially in manufacturing medical devices. AMBER director Professor Mick Morris said: "This exciting discovery shows that Irish research is at the leading edge of materials science worldwide. Jonathan Coleman and his team in AMBER continue to carry out world class research and this scientific breakthrough could potentially revolutionise certain aspects of healthcare."