A Stretchy Mesh Heater for Sore Muscles
-New flexible, silver-impregnated elastic
mesh material is perfect for thermotherapy
July 3, 2105
suffer from chronic muscle pain a doctor will likely recommend for you to apply
heat to the injury. But how do you
effectively wrap that heat around a joint?
Korean Scientists at the Center for Nanoparticle Research, Institute for
Basic Science (IBS) in Seoul, along with an international team, have come up
with an ingenious way of creating therapeutic heat in a light, flexible design.
have come up with similar devices before, although no one was able to create
something that didn’t rely on exotic materials or a complex fabrication
process, factors which both carry hefty price tags. Unlike their predecessors, the team at IBS
stayed away from things like carbon nanotubes and gold and looked at a more
utilitarian option for their build material: thin slivers of silver
in a relaxed state Right: Mesh stretched
over a curve to 100%)
The silver nanowires are tiny,
averaging ∼150 nm in diameter and ∼30 μm in length (a human hair ranges from 17 to 181 µm).
The nanowires were mixed into a liquid elastic material which is both
soft and stretchy when dry.
that the material remains tight on the target area while heating, the team
devised a 2-D interlocking coil pattern for the mesh structure. To make the mesh, the liquid mixture was
poured into a shaped mold. The
silver-elastic mesh was sandwiched between a top and bottom layer of soft, thin
flexibility tests, while placed on knee and wrist joints, the mesh heated while
deformed and under stress on knee and wrist joints. It is lightweight, breathable and generates
heat over the entire surface area of the material. A hot water bottle used for treating muscle
soreness feels good, but it will inevitably cool down while in use. Commercially available electric heating pads
are sufficient for applying heat to an injured area but their cords need to be
attached to an A/C outlet to work. This is where the new technology trumps the
old. The mesh maintains a constant temperature instead of cooling down during
use and is battery powered so it doesn’t need an outlet.
thermotherapy, the applications are endless.
This technology could be used as a lightweight heating element in ski
jackets, or as a hyper-efficient seat warmer in a car. Although only flat mesh connected into a tube
has been made so far, it isn’t a stretch to imagine creating more intricate
designs like the shape of a hand with detailed fingers.
- - References
Suji Choi, Jinkyung Park, Wonji Hyun, Jangwon Kim, Jaemin
Kim, Young Bum Lee,
Changyeong Song, Hye Jin Hwang, Ji Hoon Kim, Taeghwan Hyeon,
and Dae-Hyeong Kim, (2015), “Stretchable
Heater Using Ligand-Exchanged Silver Nanowire Nanocomposite for Wearable Articular Thermotherapy”, American
Chemical Society, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.5b02790
- - Media Contact
For further information
or to request media assistance, please contact: Mr. Shi Bo Shim, Head of
Department of Communications, Institute for Basic Science (+82-42-878-8189;
firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ms. Sunny Kim, Department of Communications, Institute for
Basic Science (+82-42-878-8135; Sunnykim@ibs.re.kr)
- About the Institute for Basic Science (IBS)
IBS was founded in 2011 by the government of the Republic of Korea with the
sole purpose of driving forward the development of basic science in Korea It
comprises a total of 50 research centers in all fields of basic science,
including mathematics, physics, chemistry, life science, earth science and
interdisciplinary science. IBS has launched 24 research centers as of January
2015.There are eight physics, one mathematics, six chemistry, seven life
science, and two interdisciplinary research centers.