Polymer can turn swimming pool to jelly

24 January 2013
Posted by Mark Peplow.

Probably the most powerful gelling agent in the world - just one kilogram would be Polyisocynanide polymerenough to turn an Olympic swimming pool into jelly in minutes - this amazing new substance, unveiled this week, is the first synthetic polymer molecule that can mimic the inherent rigidity of biological polymers such as collagen.

The material, a polyisocyanide, assembles into huge networks that trap water extremely efficiently. Alan Rowan, a materials chemist at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands and one of the scientists behind the discovery which has been published this week in Nature, is investigating medical uses for the resulting gel, such as a covering for wounds that can be removed simply by cooling it down.

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