Photo: Cornell University/Luo Lab
An awesome new metamaterial created by researchers at Cornell University can flow like a liquid then when put in water it returns to its original shape.A matematerial is a material that is man made and can not be found in nature.
Biologist and environmental engineer, Dan Luo, created this hydrogel using synthetic DNA. Single strands of DNA will lock onto other strands with a complimentary sequence, serving as a great building block for self assembling materials.
The hydrogel was created by using a mixture of synthetic DNA and a polymerase enzyme, which is what makes DNA chains longer and weaves them with other DNA strands.
“During this process they entangle, and the entanglement produces a 3-D network,” Luo explained in a release from the university.
The researchers described their new substance as working like a rubber band, which has a shape but can be twisted, stretched, and deformed.
The material also has small empty spaces that can absorb water, and resembles a sponge. Because of this hydrogels may one day be used to deliver drugs slowly into patients as it degrades in the body.
The new hydrogel was published Dec. 2 in the journal Nature Nanotechology. Here’s another shot showing the gel at work:
[image url="http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c2182d6bb3f7b162000001/image.jpg" link="lightbox" caption="Hydrogels made in the form of the letters D, N and A collapse into a liquid-like state on their own but return to the original shape when surrounded by water." source="" alt="metamaterial hydrogel" align="left" size="xlarge" nocrop="true" clear="true"]
[credit provider="Cornell University/Luo Lab" url="http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Dec12/ShapeGel.html"]
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